Tabard IT celebrates the 35th birthday of Sir Clive Sinclair’s ZX Spectrum
The birth of an industry: the ZX Spectrum 48k model (seen here), alongside its predecessor, the ZX81 brought home computing to a wider audience. Not to mention countless games, peripherals, magazines, and playground arguments. Image by Bill Bertram, 2005 (Creative Commons License: Some Rights Reserved).
Without Sir Clive Sinclair and the ZX Spectrum, the story of British computing history would have been a less colourful one. The low price point of his groundbreaking computer (and the ZX80 and ZX81 before then) made home computing more affordable. So much so that our computer gaming industry moved from the bedroom to rivalling Hollywood over the space of three decades.
This year, the Sinclair Spectrum range of computers celebrate their 35th birthday. Though the first models (with 16k and 48k of RAM) were released on the 23 April 1982, their impact wasn’t felt until Christmas that year. Shortly after its launch, it gained good support from software developers and third party companies. The poster boys of that era included Matthew Smith, the genius behind Manic Miner; also Imagine Software, the Liverpool software house that imploded thanks to their rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
By the end of 1983, the one millionth ZX Spectrum was sold. This amidst the background of rival machines being launched like the Oric-1, Enterprise 128, Memotech-MTX and the Tatung Einstein. By the end of the 1980s, the Speccy was among the three most popular home computers, alongside the Commodore 64 and the Amstrad CPC.
Today, thanks to Sir Clive’s machine, PCs became a must-have item for any home. We also owe a debt to the likes of the ZX Spectrum in the Raspberry PI’s success; plus the rise of casual gaming on our smartphones and digital tablets.
Sinclair ZX Spectrum Story – Birth of a Classic
If you are familiar with Nostalgia Nerd’s retrospective films on YouTube, this clip (slightly under 50 minutes long) offers an in-depth look on the Speccy and Sir Clive himself.
ZX Spectrum Next – Launches 35 years after the original!
Yikes! It’s coming back. Here’s a video clip of the forthcoming ZX Spectrum Next. The first versions should be ready in January 2018. Who knows? There could be a future Tabard IT blog entry out of this.