On Saturday the ZX Spectrum turned 40. Does that make anyone else feel old?
When first released on April 23rd, 1982, Sinclair Research’s ZX Spectrum had 16K of RAM, a horrible rubber keyboard and some very quirky colour graphics. In fairness, though, it was a quantum leap (another Sinclair reference for the astute observer) beyond the ZX81, which had – unexpanded – just 1K of RAM, a truly grotesque membrane keyboard and low-res black and white graphics.
Both of these devices changed the world: the Spectrum went on to become the UK’s best-selling microcomputer, launching an industry and many, many software careers (mine included).
Prior to owning a ZX Spectrum (mine was a plus, which at least had a proper keyboard), I borrowed computer time from my Dad’s TRS-80 Model III and from one of our school’s BBC Micro Model B. The Spectrum was the first computer the kids in our family (which mainly meant me) had nearly unrestricted access to, and it was a game-changer.