Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thirty years of revenge

This month marks 30 years since the personal computing revolution really kicked off with the launch of this computer, the ZX81:
Some would say it's a sign of old age that I remember it well (I would counter this with the fact that it is still only 1987 in New Zealand, where I am from!), and more so when my best friend got one of its successors, the Spectrum.

Software was stored on audio cassettes and hence you got to hear lots of machine noises when you loaded a game, much the same as you also heard when using dial-up Internet access – which we got a bit later after my brother got a Commodore 64 for (I presume) his birthday one year:Software was also loaded on cassettes, and these were the days when computer magazines published all the code to games – I well remember Jason (my brother) and I doing shifts around the clock to type games in, and of one game in particular that we were very excited by at the time called Richthofen's Revenge (that you can still play in a C64 emulator here).There always seemed to be typos in the magazines and you had to wait the next month's issue of it for the corrections so that you could actually complete and play the game – which was a very frustrating wait for the Brown sons who were very keen to have a go in the meantime!

Interestingly some of these retro machines are now worth a fortune to collectors on the likes of eBay. Our Commodore 64 was last seen acting as a door stop to the hall cupboard and being chewed on by our dog at the time.

And it was the last time I wrote decent software!

1 comment:

  1. Oh the nostalgia!

    I built a ZX-81 kit just after my elder son was born, when his Mum was in hospital...

    Well, I needed something to pass the time in the evenings waiting for them both to come home ;-)

    My abiding memory of the ZX81 was that it used to crash whenever the fridge started-up!

    Now, 30 years later my son is married and I still have my nose stuck in front of a computer!