Sunday, November 13, 2005

Historians, take note!

Reading a post by tdragger about a site that listed a compilation of toys from the 60's and 70's (and really, of the 80's as well), I bumped onto a picture of a ZX Spectrum computer from 1982 - what do you know, my first computer!

It's funny how the brain works - the synapses triggered into overload mode and got me itching to once again get my hands onto one of them smarmy little things. Even with its rubber keyboard, the smaller than expected keys, the easily breakable power supply connector and the necessity for a tape recorder and TV screen, for lack of storage and display facilities, the ZX Spectrum was a miracle in its time.

By 1983, at the tender age of 13, I had already learnt what a floating point number is, what the words mantissa and exponent mean and how to program in ZX Basic. The year after that, I was already hacking my peeks and pokes into the Speccy, ultimately getting my first job as an editor for "Pixel" magazine, writing articles on "how to add infinite lives in your favorite games".

Looking around to purchase the Spectrum again, I found there's an active web ring of ZX Spectrum lovers, you can find it here - there are also several places that sell them (RetroTrader, Clive.nl etc.), used of course, and you can even get them on eBay, if you're willing to go through the auction process, which I find excruciatingly painful, because I've never been able to succeed in winning one. ;-)

There's also something even funkier: A site where people discuss making their own interfaces for modern-day hardware to their beloved Spectrum. Check them out - they have even connected an IDE Flash hard drive to their Spectrum for storage! Spunky!

2 comments:

BillH said...

You too? My first play computer was a Speccy. I had been playing text games at work on an IBM mainframe but my son, who is about the same age as you, begged me to get one. Then there was the ZX81 with it's exansion pack that need tape to stop it falling out of the slot at the back.

Happy days!!

Lefteris said...

Hehe - the good old days of "LD A,(HL)". I can still remember some of the peeks and pokes, how to do the maps for Pyjamarama, Sabre Wolf, etc. ;-)