I am almost certain we have used one of these machines prior to the mass of Windows based PC’s………….
It was the age of home computing, from 1980 when Sir Clive Sinclair introduced the first home computer for under £100, to the end of the decade when commodore was leading the way. We mostly used computers for gaming but there’s no doubt that they played a big part in the development of the machines we have today.
This was where it all started the ZX80 was released in 1980 came in two forms: a kit to assemble yourself for £79 or a ready built version for £99. The computer had 1kb of ram (The average system has 8gb these days). In 1981 the ZX81 was released as a computer that anybody could use – It sold a massive 1.5million units!
2. ZX SPECTRUM
Released in 1982 this was really the first mainstream computer it was subsequently released in upgraded form, but this is where home computing really took off. The software industry boomed upon the release of many games for the zx spectrum. As with most of the computers on the list software was loaded via cassette and an average game took about 6 – 8 mins to load!
3. BBC MICRO
Released in 1991 the BBC Micro was the result of a partnership between Acorn Computers (A rival to Sinclair) and the BBC. The whole system was designed with a focus on education and was adopted by most schools in the country. Our school could only afford one so it was on a heavy duty trolley that was wheeled between classrooms.
4. THE ACORN ELECTRON
After the success of the BBC Micro, Acorn Computers were determined to dominate the home computer market, and for a time they did. The Electron was essentially a budget version of the Micro, so many users were already familiar with the system from their use of the Micro.
5. THE COMMODORE 64
The commodore 64 was first available in 1982 and quickly became very popular. It is listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the best selling home computer system of all time. This of course includes world wide sales. By 1986 here in the UK it faced tough competition from the more powerful……..
6. SPECTRUM + 2/3
The +2 was actually developed in spain and released there first. It had much more memory than previous versions of the spectrum, an improved audio chip, midi out and a built in datacorder. It quickly outsold other models on the market at the time, and had a huge library of games available. The +3 had a floppy disc drive in place of the datacorder.
7. DRAGON 32
The European version of the Dragon 32 was manufactured in Wales. It initially attracted a lot of interest and began to sell well, however it’s inferior graphics capability meant that it never really took off. The Dragon 32 was discontinued just a couple of years after it was introduced.
8. AMSTRAD CPC 464
In 1984 Amstrad entered the very overcrowded home computer market with the CPC 464. It was their attempt to take a piece of the pie from Sinclair and Commodore. It came with either a full colour monitor or a cheaper green screen. We could only afford the green screen version so we were relegated to playing Rambo in various shades of green.
9. TOSHIBA MSX
The term MSX actually refers to an architecture developed by Microsoft in the 80s. It was an attempt to standardise the operating systems of home computers at the time. Various manufacturers made their own versions of the MSX but it never really achieved the goal of unification the original designers were hoping for.
10. COMMODORE AMIGA 500 – COMPUTERS
In my opinion the Commodore Amiga was a big leap forward in home computing. Although some would argue the Atari St was their first. No other computer had captured the gaming market as well as the Amiga did – the sound was amazing and the graphics were almost as good a s the arcade! We also started to use the Amiga for other purposes like desk top publishing, music production, video titles and home office functions.