Now that I am 30…

A nostalgic look back at the childhood of a small English kid.

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Spectrum 128K – My First Games Machine

Posted by iwata33 on Saturday 27 October 2007

Spectrum 128k and Games

Yes this is my first proper post, and this is on the first games machine I ever owned, well thats a slight lie, as a family we did own a computer before the ‘Speccy’, know as ‘The Einstein’, more on that in a later post. However the Spectrum 128K was the first proper games machine that I owned and shared with my brother. As many of you will probably know the Spectrum was of British design and first released in this country in 1982, known as the ZX Sinclair Spectrum. The model I played as a kid was the +2A 128K version (Amstrad’s design after they purchase Sinclair in 1986) which my mother and father bought for me in 1987. The +2A was the pinnacle of the spectrum design with an attached tape deck, (previously the tape deck had come separately) and a plastic keyboard, (after reports that the original Spectrum’s rubber keyboard melted after a few hours of play due to overheating). The Spectrum was able to play a tonne of different games, as well as having a built in ‘Basic’ language editor that allowed the user to perform basic programming. I remember spending one half term sat in my room with this tome of programming language and my Spectrum. After many hours and much typing lines of code I managed to program myself a ‘Chess Piece’, I was so pleased, I managed to make something of nothing. I had been ‘bit’ quite early on by the video games bug, and still to this day 20 years on I play more games than I ever have, but this one incident really showed me as a small impressionable 10 year old child just what a computer could do and more than that what anyone could achieve with one of these devices, just a bit of time and a lot of patience.

As for the games well, lets just say I know there is a thriving emulation community out there that like nothing more than to get a couple of classic games from this era and get them going, (I wonder if they emulate the 25 mintue load up times that we used to have to endure, I remember being able to make and drink a cup of tea in the time it took for my games to load, and yes that confirms it I am British, and I was drinking tea at ten years old). but most of the games from that time sucked, there were some I enjoyed but for the most part Spectrum games were largely unplayable by today’s standards and 25 minutes is a long time to wait for a game to load, and godforbid it crashed within the first couple of minutes playing.

I used to do my paperround with a good friend of mine, we would sit on the wall outside the paper shop counting the £10 we had earned that week (yes, £10 but I had done about 4 rounds a day to get that), then we would take ourselves off to town. I live in Preston in the north of England and every Saturday there would be a market with a games stall. Your average Spectrum game would be about £1.99 or £2.99, then your real good games, I mean the ones that had been ported from the arcade or the Amiga would be all the way up to £9.99. Way to much for us to blow on one game. Instead we would buy up 5 or 6 games between us, go back home and put them on, 3 or 4 would be either rubbish or not work at all and then you would have one game that was half decent, 2 if you were lucky and if you were really lucky you would get a good game that was two player, those were the best and would often have us coming back day after day. But for the most part games from this era were mostly throw away, however I didn’t do that and so now I have a carrier bag full of tapes with Spectrum games on, in future posts I plan on high lighting a few of the better games and also a few of the classics, the games that had to be played, such as Hero Quest, based on the board game and one of the last to be released before the machines death, this game was so cool because you could save your game, something that up until that time had been just a dream for anyone playing a tape based games machine.

There is so much more I could say on this subject but I think that this post has gone on a bit so I will fit it all into future posts. You know I am getting quite nostalgic about all this, I might boot the old girl back up and see what she can do, time to get the kettle on.

What was you favorite Spectrum (or Commodore 64) game? Mine had to be the classic adventure game ‘Dizzy’ (much to the disgust of my friend who was a little more hardcore). Let me know what your favorite game was by leaving me a comment. If you would like to find out more about the Spectrum then please go to this excellent archive World of Spectrum.

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2 Responses to “Spectrum 128K – My First Games Machine”

  1. Nice first post. It’s obvious you’re a 30+, the speccy holds dear to many of us harking back to those innocent 8bit gaming days.
    No need to boot up the original speccy, you can play classic ZX Spectrum games on your iGoogle homepage using my ZX Spectrum Gadget 🙂

  2. i have a sinclair zx-spectrum + ;and i still have some good games for it;i love this computer .

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