Thirty Years On Blog

Apparently the ZX81 is 30 years’ old, wow.   The wedge-shaped box that started my interest in computers, and led inexorably to my love of Linux and tinkering with the command-line.

Popey clearly has a better memory than I, but I do remember rushing up to my bedroom with ZX81 in hand, plugging it all in and then at the prompt typing “hello”. I was very disappointed that the computer seemed to have no ability to talk back! But once I got passed that disappointment, I fell in love with the thing. I didn’t do much programming on it, but I used to get the computer magazines and type in the assembly code in order to play games. There was an awesome dinosaur game I remember.

I was fortunate enough to be able to have the ZX Spectrum when it came out and was blown away by how much better it was than the ZX81. I remember the games with such fondness, but sadly many of them are still available on the net – and they’re actually a bit crap – but at the time they seemed absolutely incredible. I spent many a happy hour with Jetpack. But the main memory I have is anxiously waiting whilst the games retrieved from the audio cassettes – would it load? Can you imagine a storage technology that was so slow and only worked 2 in every 3 times – laughable really.

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