Best of Reader Comments: ZX Spectrum users get dewy eyed

Old technology hot, new technology not...
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

Old technology hot, new technology not...

Ben King took a trip down memory lane last week with his homage to the ZX Spectrum (http://www.silicon.com/a50364 ). It seems quite a few of you have decided to join him. Here are just a few of your reader comments... My First Computer Too! Marie Griffiths What a flashback (and what a way to make me feel old first thing on a Monday morning!). The thing that really sticks in my mind is loading the games from tapes, the strange noises that it used to make whilst loading etc. My favourite Spectrum game was definitely SpyRacer (the one with the cars), it rocked! C- rocks! Matthew Burns It's good to see such old skool topics still being discussed by serious journos. But I have to put forward the opinion that the Commodore 64 (the playground 'enemy' for Speccy owners) was a lot better. Not least of which it had dedicated hardware for sound and graphics. And two colours in a sprite? Pu-lease! :) If Commodore had a little more business nous, then it's a distinct possibility that they would own a fairly significant slice of the home user market still, if not the desktop OS market too. However, dreams will be dreams... I have a piece of History! Gary Mackman I not only still own a working Spectrum 48K, (and the joystick add-on never blooming worked!) but I also own a Sinclair C5! My first game on the 48k was 'thru the wall'. I remember my mum was the best at that game! The 48k had a unique loading sequence, blue, red flashes, until you got the green and red small lines and an annoying but relieving squealing noise (relieving as you knew it was loading). That rubber keyboard was something that I thought all keyboards would have, I spilled tons of stuff on it and it never broke. Damn cool piece of kit... boo to all you C64 owners who had GhostBusters and could play a game while it was loading... The Sinclair Legacy Brian Chappell
Shortly after Amstrad acquired the Sinclair brand in 1986 until 1990 I had the pleasure of being the customer support consultant for the range. I can only re-iterate the sentiments of the article, the affection that the Sinclair range engendered is legendary. The only contender for the title of 'most beloved' I have encountered has been the Mac, it's users display that same fierce, protective love of their machines and its capabilities. The thing that stays with me from that tail end of the Sinclair era is of the sheer scale of market penetration. I received letters from people across the world asking questions, offering comment and often, simply praising the unit. The ZX Spectrum in particular was hugely popular in the third world, understandable when you consider the cost of full-size computer equipment at the time. People today would possibly shudder at the some of the tasks assigned to the little Spectrum during its life. The ZX Spectrum's first incarnation was a 16K model, which still had the now famous 'dead flesh' feel keyboard. I had one which I lovingly upgraded to 48K. I still have it although the original keyboard has long since perished, it still works and is occasionally dragged out for evenings of huge nostalgia. Can you imagine the look on the faces of today's IT managers if you suggested that a 12-year-old should open up their computer and install memory in chip form, none of your fancy SIMMs. Back then it seemed as natural as Bill Gates in court is today. Ah! Warm feelings and much contentment is to be found in firing up one of the excellent (and mostly free) Speccy emulators and loading Manic Miner. Give it a try, there's a glimpse of childhood awaiting us all. Blast from the past by Patrick Lightfoot My brother in law still has his working Spectrum with loads of games - when will it be an antique?? Don't knock it though - I wrote a graphics program on one as part of my degree third-year project and it was much more stable and easier to achieve than on the uni main frame. But this was candy compared to the ZX 81 - my first... still have fond memories of using it to crank our surveying computations on a field trip - much to our lecturer's disgust - but it meant more time in the pub - so it truly was a time saving device..........and it NEVER crashed - so much for progress! Time never forgot Allan McBain When I outlined an in-house CRM programme for a major bank that has racked up tens of millions of pounds worth of sales, guess what I based the logic on? The Spectrum BASIC applications I (very crudely) wrote 20 years before. Only thing is I can't get any Speccy emulators to run on my PC - maybe I should have a trip up the attic and find the original. Harrier Attack and The Hobbit were my faves. And finally... ...if you really want to talk a walk down memory lane and waste the rest of the day, click here: http://www.binarydinosaurs.co.uk Pong console anyone?
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