The A to Z of the ZX Spectrum

Remembering Sir Clive Sinclair and his wonder machine

The 1980s was a very grim time for many people. There was high unemployment and high inflation. The Labour Party – who should have been hitting the right notes in attacking the Thatcher-led government – was split between its left and right wing factions of the party. If you substituted Thatcher for Johnson, you could be forgiven for thinking ‘deja vu’.

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The Duffers’ Guide to 8-Bit Computing #2: Cartridge Games

The second part of a new Duffers’ Guide, celebrating the joys of 8-bit computing

Back in the 1980s, there was two main storage media for software and documents: cassette tape or floppy disc. At the start of the decade, our floppies were 8″ and 5.25″ in width. By the end of the decade, 3″, 3.5″ and 5.25″ discs. For many people, floppy discs were too expensive – especially in the UK when floppy disc drives costed almost as much as the computer itself. (Unless you had an Amstrad CPC 664 or 6128 which also came with a monitor).

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RadioShack Tape Recorder, J. Smith, 2006

The Duffers’ Guide to 8-Bit Computing #1: Software on Tape

The first of a new Duffers’ Guide, celebrating the joys of 8-bit computing

I have recently found a YouTube channel that celebrates the wonder of audio tape. It is headed by a fellow from Lancashire who knows his TDKs from his Maxells, and his chrome tapes from his ferric tapes. What has amazed me is how no two audio cassettes are the same in terms of quality.

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A Tale of Two Platform Games: Hyde’s and Rochdale’s Place in ZX Spectrum History

Two derivative platform games, two towns east of the M60 motorway, and their role in the history of Sinclair ZX Spectrum gaming

In reference to 8 bit computer gaming, Greater Manchester is often associated with Ocean Software. At one time, the Manchester software house was the last name in 8 bit and 16 bit computer gaming with film tie-ins and arcade game conversions their forte. In 1982, they had modest beginnings with a bolt hole on Stanley Street, on the banks of the River Irwell. Within five years, they would absorb Imagine Software, the Liverpudlian software house who imploded following its ‘Mega Games’ concept and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. By 1987, they were among the big boys, alongside Birmingham’s US Gold, Microprose in Tetbury and Thalamus, a small up and coming software house bankrolled by Newsfield Publications, creators of Crash and Zzap! 64 magazines. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Platform Games: Hyde’s and Rochdale’s Place in ZX Spectrum History”