Saturday, 12 February 2011


In the news yesterday it was announced that some old ZX Spectrum games are coming to the iphone.  One is the classic Jet Set Willy - a brilliant game from 1984, the sequel to the equally fantastic Manic Miner.

Kids today wont appreciate the amazing feeling of controlling a computer in those early days of the 1980's.  I loved that time and I truly loved my 16k Spectrum (which I increased to 48k by purchasing the memory chips required).  Modern machines are impressive in so many ways, but back then it was so very new and exciting.

Today, the skills of programming are more like film making. In 1983 the programmers had to contend with limited speed (the Spectrum ran at 3.5mhz compared to my Macbook which runs at 2400mhz!), poor graphics and most importantly, memory size.  If you send a small text email today, that will probably be larger in memory size than the Spectrum had in total.

The geeks of the time made some outstandingly addictive and complex games using a tiny amount of memory.  Some favourites included: Jetpac (a 16k game!), Valhalla, Football Manager, Elite (possibly then best ever game) and Dark Star.

I know that I am getting nostalgic, but I think it's OK to do that once in a while. The home computing age has to thank a lot of people and one is Sir Clive Sinclair - a genius and a bit mad too, some would say... the C5 was probably the proof.

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