The Oric 1
The Oric 1 was a British computer that gained reasonable popularity in Europe during the early part of the 1980s.
It was marketed as a direct competitor to the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 16, Commodore 64, Acorn Electron and the BBC Micro, but it never did it gain the intense rivalry that ensued between Sir Clive's baby and Commodore's 'Bullnose'.
However, it must be noted that the Oric 1 was a notable addition to eight-bit range of home computers that were available at the time.
So, it is time have a look at a slightly lesser known 8-bit machine that came along in the 1980s...
The Oric 1 Computer
The Oric 1 Machine
Just like the ZX Spectrum, the machine came in both a 16K and 48K version.
A small plotter-printer was also available, as well as micro drives for extra external storage.
The sound chip incorporated in the machine was the same one that was installed within Amstrad CPC range, MSX computers and the Vectrex console (The AY Chip).
The 'chicklet' keyboard had a total of fifty seven keys, including stand alone cursor keys (which was always nice) and a large traditional space-bar; all of which gave it an advantage over the 'dead flesh' rubber keyed ZX Spectrum when it came to typing.
I always thought the Oric 1 look quite nifty
Xenon 1 Game Running On The Oric 1
Some good things and some not so good things about the Oric 1
The computer was powered by the 6502a processor running at 1Mhz (far slower than the raw speed of a ZX Spectrum), although it did also have a co-processor to do some of the leg work.
Text could be displayed at a resolution of 40X28 and graphics at 240X200, which was a high resolution mode.
Eight colours were available to the user, which was a pretty standard pallette for an 8-bit machine at the time.
The Oric 1 was a pretty cool looking machine back in 1983, but this cool exterior masked a less than cool interior ROM, which had more bugs therein than The Temple Of Doom.
These ROM issues only served to hasten the Oric 1's demise, and a lot of users had problems when loading programs in from cassette, as the process could be very unreliable.
Due to these niggling issues the machine never became known for classic arcade games.
The amount of software available for it was small beer when compared to the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and even the BBC Micro.
Sadly, the Oric 1 came and went without much of a fanfare, and gave way to the increasing popularity of the Sinclair and Commodore machines.
The machine was superseded by the Oric Atmos in 1984, and by 1985 it had pretty much vanished from the home computing scene which, in my opinion was a real shame...
The Oric 1 screen after you switch it on
Harrier Attack on the Oric 1 - Steve Benway plays it badly!
A Very Nice Oric 1 Brochure
A version of the classic Stormlord on the Oric 1
The Oric 1 was supported by various publications
If only the Oric 1 problems had been ironed out...
If only the machines Read Only Memory had been stabilised and the tape routines fixed, then the Oric 1 could have been a major player in the 8-bit generation of computers in the UK.
As it was, machines from Acorn, Sinclair and Commodore became the popular 8-bit players, and the CPC (Colour Personal Computer) range from Alan Sugar's Amstrad took off a little later too.
I think the Oric machines became a popular choice in France with the follow up machine the Atmos doing particularly well over there.
It is a shame really, because all ROM problems aside, the Oric 1 was a decent machine that was comparable in capability and ease of use to other 8-bit computers of the era.
I myself came very close to owning one of these; after a lot of decisions I eventually went for a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K for my first home computer.
In hindsight I made the best choice, but at the time I wasn't so sure until six months down the line when the Speccy took off into the stratosphere and the poor old Oric 1 faded away into obscurity.
With a few more tweaks and quality control who knows what might have became of Oric and Tangerine?
Under The Hood Of The Oric 1
A Humorous Demo On The Oric 1
Useful Retro Links
- Acorn Atom
The Acorn Atom was the ancestor to the BBC series of computers manufactured by Acorn
- Acorn Electron
The Electron was an 8-bit Micro manufactured by Acorn
- Amiga CD 32
Commodore's attempt to enter the console market
- Amiga Games
Awesomeness in 16-bits
- Amstrad CPC 464
During the 1980s entrepeneur Alan Sugar made a foray into the home computer market
Asteroids (along with the seminal Space Invaders) must be one of the most famous arcade games of all time
- Astro Wars
A legendary table top arcade game
- Astro Blaster
A table-top scramble clone from Hales / Tomy
- Atari Falcon
The Falcon was Atari's final home computer
- Atari ST
Atari ST was a 16-bit home computer
- Awesome Graphics
Some truly stunning graphics
- AY Music
Bagman was an arcade game released in 1982 by the lesser known Valadon Automation
- BBC Micro
A chunky heavyweight computer that carved out a unique niche for itself during the 1980s
- Best PC Games
- Commodore 16
The C16 was an 8-bit micro manufacured by Commodore
- Commodore 64
The Commodore 64 was the flagship of Commodores 8-bit fleet
- Commodore 128
The last of Commodore's 8-bit machines
- Commodore Amiga
16 golden bits
Frogger is an arcade game that is pure old school
- Funny Games
Funny stuff on loads of computers
- Games Online
Games online are both modern and classic
- Ground Zero
Grim yet good text adventuring
- Miniclip Games
Just what are Miniclip games? Well, if you are into games online then miniclip games might well be just for you
- Missile Command Games
Missle Command - a world famous arcade game
- Ocean Software
Ocean Software was one of the biggest developers of arcade games
- Oric Atmos
The follow up to the Oric 1
- Pacman Game
It's thirty years old!
- Scramble games
Arcade classic Scramble
- Space Invaders
Space Invaders, an all time classic that really launched the genre of the shoot em up arcade game
- Spectrum Games
Awesomeness in 8-bits
- Star Wars Computer Games
- Tomy Sky Attack
Tomy 3D Sky Attack. It's mindblowing 3D!
- TV theme songs
More classic tv theme tunes
Home video game system
- VIC 20
The Commodore VIC-20 was an 8-bit home computer...
The Sinclair zx80
The ZX81 from Sinclair
- ZX Spectrum
We love the ZX Spectrum!!
- ZX Spectrum emulator
Want to play those classic Spectrum games? Please read on
- ZX Spectrum Game Characters
Most of us old school gamers will have fond memories of many games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
- ZX Spectrum Trashman
A brief and lighthearted look at an earlier release for the ZX Spectrum by New Generation Software
- ZZap64 Magazine
And so was ZZAP
- 8-bit to 16-bit
Two classic machines from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras
- 80s theme tunes
Get yer dancin' shoes on