RETRO REPLAY ► Happy Birthday ZX Spectrum: 8-Bit Eighties Gaming Computer Turns 30!
The Gadget Helpline: RETRO REPLAY feature will bring you a regular throwback to the days of old school gaming and will present a little history on the new wave of classic titles currently getting a revival on our modern gaming gadgets.
However, this one is a pretty special edition as today marks the 30th birthday of the classic ZX Spectrum home computer – a favourite which lives on the hearts and minds of so many gamers of an era before consoles overtook the market and the concept of eight colour games was mind-blowing!
First launched on April 23rd 1982, the ZX Spectrum was the creation of Sir Clive Sinclair and had a ten year legacy as one of the leading home computers. Spawning eight models the brand was particularly famed for its massive range of games. The production title for the firstcomputer was ZX82, but this became ZX Spectrum to emphasise on the gadgets 8-bit colour range, where previous home computer could only display in black and white.
The earliest model ZX was built into a keyboard and supported a floppy disk drive before moving onto a built in cassette platform in later versions with the “Datacorder”. The classic ’82 also featured 16kb of RAM – cutting edge stuff at the time!
As for those games, which were the primary use of the “Speccy” and defined its existence for many an 80s child, titles that nostalgically come to this blogger’s mind are those such as Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure (which is currently enjoying a re-release on mobile devices), Gauntlet, Dynamite Dan and Spy Hunter.
The platform also boasted a number of licenses including Robocop, Batman and Star Wars – which in particular shaped the appearance and style of play for a number of follow-ups on modern consoles.
The ZX Spectrum is infamous for its cassette loading sound, which was accompanied by five to ten minutes of colourful and psychedelic scrolling lines. For every ten minutes of loading gamers would be rewarded with around five minutes of play, but it was worth it – and that screeching sound will be music to the ears of fans of the ZX to this day.
A number of ZX Spectrum contenders and clones surfaced through the 80s including the popular Commodore 64 – also a cassette based computer, and the floppy based BBC Microcomputer, which became the standard for schools (some of you may have fond memories of Chucky Egg!)
There are said to have been more than 23,000 titles launched for the computer since the very first ZX Spectrum and, believe it or not, new titles are still being made to this day. So, if you have the a ZX Spectrum up in the loft, dig it out, dust it off and pay respects today to the one that continues to inspire gamers and the gaming industry 30 years later!