Spectrum days

specygamesThe  ZX Spectrum which was also known as the ZX81 as it was an update for the ZX 80 which was black and white only and could also be purchased as a kit, but this was just a little before  I got into computers.

The Spectrum was pretty  much the bottom of the computer market at the time it’s 8 bit processor ran at 3.5 Mhz it loaded games using a standard cassette tape (using commands like, load) and any tape player that would play cassette audio tapes. You could hear the beeps as the game loaded, or should I say sometimes loaded.   games tended to be played using the rubber keys, the spectrum did not even have a joy stick port, it had a long peripheral port on the back of the ZX which required an adapter connected to it to use what was then known as a kempston joystick.

The joy sticks used were compatible with Atari and Commodore.         There were loads of games available on the Spectrum, it played games just fine, but graphic adventures such as the hobbit  were pretty well suited for this machine.

At the time, the Spectrum was just about the most popular home computer at least in the UK, I guess due to the price.

The rubber key spectrums were only available in 16 and 48 k versions, later a redesigned spectrum was available that had 128k and I think was at a time when Amstrad had  bought or were buying  sinclair that made the spectrum. This version had a tape deck attached.

There was device called a micro drive  which took a kind of tiny cartridge, this never really caught on, due to both price and the availability of software, which was still being sold on cassette.

will post some pics of the adapter and the larger 128k spectrum as soon as I have got them out of my loft to take photos.

It was hard to feel any kind of feed back from the soft rubber keys of the spectrum, there was a clicking sound for each key press, which as far as a recall came from the audio of the T.V, so this could be pretty loud.

typing on the rubber keys was not impossible, but not easy and the lack of a proper space bar made it that bit harder.




Not as nice to look at as other versions, but still good fun.
Not as nice to look at as other versions, but still good fun.

The Goonies was one of my favourite games (1986), it was a movie tie in, unlike some, it was a really good game.  this was also available on other games systems at the time.

including Commodore and Atari and consoles, the two just mentioned were very similar to each other audio and graphics wise, where as the spectrum version had less colour and not so good sound.

The game play was just the same on all of the above,the band of good guys against the Fratelli family. The gang of kids try and save the family home from foreclosure  and having found a map, go looking for the treasure of One Eyed Willie.

This was a good platform game with an obviously good story line and some good puzzles.  Come on you guys…


48 K ZX Spectrum
48 K ZX Spectrum

I bought my ZX Spectrum from Boots in Dover, Kent end of 1982, the adverts said the computer age was hotting up.  Other adverts at the time were for the Commodore and Atari and something called an Oric 1, the spectrum was by far the cheapest.

I had spent some time deciding if I should get the 16 K or the massive 48 K spectrum, I ended up saving up a bit longer and getting the 48 K ZX Spectrum, I already owned a cassette recorder and I had decided I would, when I eventually got my first game, I would use that to load the games, as the Spectrum did not come with its own recorder.

All you got in the box was a power lead, a TV RF lead, a lead to connect to a cassette recorder and a book giving you some info reading the state of the art computer you had just purchased.

The first thing I did was try and key in one of those listing out of a magazine which took hours to do and did very little, like flash your name on the screen in various colours, well I think it was eight to be precise and this is provided you did not make a mistake or worse the magazine got it wrong, which meant hours of checking what you had typed, only to find out the following month when the magazine printed an apology and correct.

The spectrum had rubber keys, only eight colours and  beeps for sound.

I will be positing some pics later….

personal computer

In my retro blog I am going to go back to my first computer and a time when there was so much choice of personal computer, before

the IBM XT and even before Apple Macintosh were any good.


At least part of some of the games played required imagination, like my first flight simulator on my 48K ZX Spectrum. Once you actually got through the long load time with all the beeps and coloured squeigly lines and if you were very very lucky the game would start.

I will also be adding photos of the tech I have happily collected over the years starting in the early 80s.