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ZX Spectrum 35 Years On

Updated on March 7, 2017
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Martin is an experienced software developer with a passion for retro machines and gaming.

Thirty Fife Years Ago

ZX Spectrum 35th Anniversary

Thirty five years already!

It makes me feel old, but the ZX Spectrum celebrates it's 35th birthday in the spring of 2017.

I got my good old Speccy in the summer of '84 and used it faithfully for the following seven years.

I still keep up my Spectrum gaming today through emulators and the real hardware (there are still thousands of original units being used today) and re-play many favourite games as well as discover titles that I missed first time around.

This is a machine that introduced many people to home computer use, programming and gaming.

The influence of the ZX Spectrum can not be underestimated and this is a machine that is still as popular as ever today.

Here is a little tribute to celebrate 35 years with the greatest ever 8-bit machine....

The ZX Spectrum Is Still Lookin' Good!

Rubber Keys and 48K Is All You Need To Play. The Original ZX Spectrum
Rubber Keys and 48K Is All You Need To Play. The Original ZX Spectrum

The ZX Spectrum Was An Almost Instant Hit

With the success of machines such as the ZX80 and ZX81 the notion of the 'home computer' was creeping into the psyche of the British public.

When the Speccy arrived we were blown away by bright colours, fast moving sprites and simple music and sound effects!

For fans of Sinclair machines this machine was a real step up in quality and seemed and almost mystical piece of kit.

It had one other major factor going for it too; the price.

Home computing with 'amazing' technology was now available to the masses.

From this point on Sir Clive Sinclair's machine was a sure fire winner.

The ZX Spectrum Came Bundled With The Horizons Cassette

Horizons Was Thrilling For The First Time User Of A ZX Spectrum
Horizons Was Thrilling For The First Time User Of A ZX Spectrum

A New Horizon With The ZX Spectrum

As you un-boxed your brand new computer and hooked it up to the TV and portable cassette player.

As you finally got your computer 'tuned in' via the UHF connection the following was displayed at the bottom of the screen:

(C) 1982 Sinclair Research Ltd

A whole new world was open to you.

You could immediately write a program in BASIC or you could load up your new cassette.

As the weird beeps and screeches hit you along with the multi-coloured border lines you weren't even sure if the thing was working correctly!

Your fears were soon washed away as the Psion 'ringed planet' logo magically appeared line by line on your TV screen.

As the first 'game' on the cassette loaded your were blown away by the colourful graphics in the breakout style game Thro' The Wall.

You just knew that you were tapping into something new, something exciting and a whole new part of life...

Horizons Was A Great Way To Get Started With The ZX Spectrum

You Were Now In The Space Age As You Explored The ZX Spectrum With Horizons
You Were Now In The Space Age As You Explored The ZX Spectrum With Horizons

Horizons Loads Up On The ZX Spectrum

Thro' The Wall on the ZX Spectrum

Computing Back Then With The ZX Spectrum

You know I can still remember that first day as I opened up this magical box and took the machine out of it's polystyrene casing.

I can remember hooking everything together - and my parents even let me plug it into the colour television in the living room. (Although looking back I think they were just as intrigued as I was!)

I remember sitting cross legged on the floor, typing in LOAD"" for the first time and waiting patiently for Thro' The Wall to appear on the TV screen.

I swear we all sat there till about 2:00 am - with me playing the game and my parents watching in awe.

I'm pretty sure my dad had a go at Thro' The Wall too - he wasn't bad at it either!

Of course first thing the following morning I was straight back on the Speccy before breakfast - and the computer was moved into my room and hooked up to an ancient black and white portable that was probably celebrating IT'S OWN 35th anniversary then!

From that day on I was hooked, and I used the machine to learn programming as well as hone my fine gaming skills!

It really was a magical time and I will always be grateful to the little black box from Sinclair.

Way Of The Exploding Fist ZX Spectrum

Commando ZX Spectrum

Jet Set Willy ZX Spectrum

Cobra ZX Spectrum

Great ZX Spectrum Gaming Moments

Here are a selection of great gaming moments on the ZX Spectrum.

  • Way of the Exploding Fist was a superb martial arts simulation from Melbourne House that hit the Spectrum in 1985. It owed a debt to the fantastic arcade machine Karate Champ and was the first true beat em up game on a home computer.I received this for Christmas in 1985 and I played it for months on end.

  • Commando was fine arcade conversion by Keith Burkhill that hit the 8-bit market in 1985. As far as capturing the magic of an arcade original this release from Elite showed how it was done. A truly brilliant conversion that remains playable even today.

  • Jet Set Willy was the follow up to the hugely popular Manic Miner and built on the success of the first game. Miner Willy was back for more adventures round his mansion as he attempted to clear the mess caused by his party guests. The exploration, the imagination, the vast rooms and the music all added up to a classic gaming experience. Manic Miner was undoubtedly one of the best games of 1984.

  • Cobra was loosly tied to the film of the same name. When I say loose I really do mean loose! The supreme talent of Jonathan Smith created a side scrolling arcade game that was packed full of laughs, silliness and frantic action. Not only was the game huge fun it was a marvel on a technological level with the super smooth parallax scrolling and two-channel music. Watch out for prams when playing the game end grab those cheese burgers!

Knight Lore ZX Spectrum

Deathchase ZX Spectrum


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