The ZX Spectrum is 25!

25 years ago today the ZX Spectrum was released and many people’s destinies were written in silicon. It was the first computer that I had regular access to (after my uncle had bought it, didn’t know what to do with it, and promptly passed it on to my brother and I).

The power of those 48k was astonishing. Games makers packed in dozens of hours of gameplay, graphics, and music. When I started university we were ‘taught’ about computers. The ‘teacher’ (I use the word very loosely because it was clear that the instructor believed that all computers were evil, possessed, and of course utterly irrelevant to art) was demonstrating the scanner:

‘This page is blank white,’ she said ‘so it only takes up 22k.’ 22k? 22k! I remember when you could fit whole games into 22k, and now all you can do is tell a screen that the whole page is white? Have we completely forgotten how to code efficiently already? Then again, this was ten years ago, so it’s probably 3MB to have a white screen now…

Tonight I shall be drinking a toast to Sir Clive Sinclair and the computer that changed my world.

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