“Birthday time! It’s birthday time!”

On the 23rd of April 1982 the British company Sinclair Research unveiled the ZX Spectrum, a follow up to their highly-successful ZX81. It was initially intended to be called the ZX82 but was renamed to reflect the fact that the new machine had colour graphics.

Despite being intended as a simple home computer for hobbyists and other tinkerers, it quickly became popular as a gaming machine, received a 128K upgrade with a vastly improved sound chip in 1986, and managed to remain commercially viable to games publishers until the first years of the 1990s. It remains hugely popular, especially in Europe and Britain in particular, with an extremely large and very active online fan base many of whom continue to program games for it, churning them out at a rate which seemingly dwarfs releases for many other retro platforms.

(and, yes, I owned one back in the ’80s)

Amongst those new ZX Spectrum games released today to celebrate 30 years of the ‘Speccy’ are More Tea, Vicar? (an aburdly-titled but rather-good shoot ’em up from Jonathan Cauldwell) and The Lost Tapes of Albion by Dave Hughes, who’s also responsible for Endless Forms Most Beautiful, one of my favourite new ZX games of the last year or so.

You can play them on a Spectrum emulator (of which there are literally dozens, do a google search; I recommend SPIN for Windows) or, if you’ve got the know-how, on a real Speccy. Here’s to another 30 years.


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