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Sinclair ZX Spectrum

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Manufacturer: Sinclair / Size: 48KB Games Console

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      20.10.2010 00:02
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      My first computer

      There has been a really terrific documentary drama on BBC Four in the last couple of years called Micro Men which dramatised the race by a number of designers and companies to provide personal computers for the home which unlike now when nearly everyone has one was unheard of. One of the principal characters was Sir Clive Sinclair whose firm designed and produces the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Although I got the impression from the television programme that he wanted the Sinclair computers to be used for more serious pursuits like word processing or programming a lot of people like me used them for gaming. I received my Spectrum which was the 128k version in the late eighties which consisted of a reasonably large keyboard with a cassette deck positioned towards one side and as well as that I got a light gun and at a later date I used a joystick along with the computer. To use it I had to connect it to the television.

      Now gaming on the Spectrum was very basic but again at the time it was probably cutting edge, it is only when you look back you realise how simple the games were and how far technology in this regard has progressed and improved. Something people look back on fondly but which I promise you was so frustrating at the time was the way games loaded. The games were on cassette tapes which you put in to the deck, it would take a few minutes of flashing lights and stripes on the screen along with the instantly recognisable sounds of the game loading, it hard to describe what this did sound like, but if you ever had a Sinclair Spectrum I am sure you would be able to relate to what I am talking about.

      I had a number of games but the ones that really stand out in my mind were for one Horrace goes Skiing. This was a game where you were a little character who had to cross a very busy road to collect his skiing equipment and then go back and navigate a run. It was tough to even get across the road and each time you were run over an ambulance would arrive and rescue you. I also remember a game called Harrier Attack where you had to bomb enemy ships and shoot down fighter planes but this as well really was so basic. I do look back on this computer fondly but the games really were so simple and limited that I don't think I would invest in one for nostalgic value in the same way I may be tempted to get a Sega or a Super Nintendo.

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