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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spectrum ZX -The greatest home computer of all time

Spectrum ZX EliteOk, I admit it. I love my old Spectrum ZX it is the greatest home computer ever made. Maybe its 48 Kilobytes of memory is nothing compared to todays computers but in its day it was a spectacular machine. Throughout the 80's it was the king of home computing (some might say it was Commodore 64 but who cares? Our speccy was king). Thousands of published games including adventures, platformers, puzzles and action flicks kept many awake in front of their TVs or monitors playing. Classic games like Manic Miner, Elite and Lords of Midnight created a stream of followers.

Most of Spectrum computers used tapes as their input/output device. Some of the later models used disks but you could connect them to a tape recorder to play your old softwareOld and new Byodkm computers. In order to get a game running you had to load the tape, press play and wait until the speccy loaded all the data from the tape on its memory. This could take from a couple of minutes to a quarter of an hour, so stop moaning about the loading time of your computer. In order to save the progress in a game you had to take the game tape out put on a blank one and press record and I do not need to say how you loaded a saved game. The original spectrum ZX (yes the one with the rubber keys) did not have its own tape recorder and you had to hook it up to an external one. Later models such as the ZX Specrum +2 had build in recorders. There was no monitor per se. You would connect the spectrum on to the TV (much like todays consoles) and that was you monitor. It was much like BYODKM(bring your own display keyboard monitor) computers today, even though the keyboard was on the computer case and there was no mouse and you had to bring your own tape recorder...hmm, well not much like, but you had to bring your own stuff as well.
Spectrum ZX 128

From time to time, when I get nostalgic (or retro crazy), I like to take my old spectrum out of its box, plug it on the TV and play. I do not care about the 15 colors or the beeping sounds because the games had a more real feeling than today and they were pure gameplay. Reading line upon line on “The Hobbit”, trying to get into the barrel to escape from the elve's prison you had to use your imagination. Playing lords of midnight gathering your armies in its huge map (an excellent technical achievement in its time) trying to defeat the dark lord its more exciting than any of today's RTS. Ok, enough. I got carried away. You get the point.

Further on Spectrum ZX:
World of Spectrum- Game roms, documents, reviews an more
Spectrum ZX on Wikipedia

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