I never had a ZX Spectrum growing up. It had fallen out of favour and been sold off by the time I started gaming in 1990. My first gaming experience was a Sega Master System my Dad had brought home with him from work one evening, that was my gateway drug. I’d never even seen a Spectrum in real life, only the faded memories of adverts on TV. The term ‘micro’ had never been on my mind. The first computer I had seen was the Commodore 64 on the way to school every morning in the Tandy shop window. I wasn’t sure what it did but from the packaging I had concluded it was awesome!
I never did get that C64 (I still don’t have one). The Spectrum was never part of my childhood as it was for many of you. I did however get an Amstrad CPC 464, as I accidently killed my Master System. I think a friend of my Dad felt sorry for me so gave me his. I would go down to the newsagents and buy games. They would have three systems screenshots on the back of them, Amstrad, Commodore and Spectrum. I have to say that the Spectrum graphics always looked inferior to me but at that tender age I had completely missed the point.
Fast forward to the present and I start dabbling in emulators. I thought I might try Jet Set Willy and guess what, I’m hooked. Then I try Manic Miner, what do you know, I love it! What was the draw for me? It was different, clever and the biggest draw, I knew nothing about it, completely ignorant for what great games lay before me. I realised this early and have purposely not educated myself on the great games that Sinclair had in store for me and and still have in store. I like the mystery of the unknown like when we were kids and would pick up and play games at random, new adventures around the corner. There are still many games I haven’t played yet, Head Over Heels, Knight Lore, Skool Daze and many more.
Recently I got my hands on a ZX Spectrum +2A in the box with a big bunch of games for a great price. Its great to have the actual computer and with a tape adaptor the world is my oyster, I can play all the games I never knew existed.
There are still new adventures with the Spectrum left for all of us with new games being released by bedroom coders all the time. With the Spectrum Next on the horizon who knows whats in store. I for one can’t wait for the old to become new again.
– Keiran Bowes
Spectrum newbie and fledgling Youtuber