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ZX Spectrum Appreciation thread


Lorfarius
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So, our team won the 5th anniversary 1UP video games quiz at the Broadway in Nottingham last night, which was pretty cool.

 

You might be wondering why I'm bringing that up in this thread; well, as it was the 5th anniversary, there was an extra-special prize, so special that nobody else on the team wanted to take it, so I'm now the proud owner of...

 

*drumroll*

 

This:

 



Spectrum +2 shrunk.JPG

 

It has the most horrible, seized up keyboard I've ever encountered (I think I'd even prefer a plain old original Speccy rubber keyboard...), and needs a plug wiring up, but apparently it's in full working order, and it's certainly a memorable prize!

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The Zx spectrum. Great if vague memories.

 

Got mine in 1983. My second 'gaming' platform really, the first being a woody Atari 2600.

 

The pure excitement of seeing the latest issue of Crash in Smiths cannot be described. Missed issue 1 but bought it from issue 2. 75p i think. I stopped buying it just as the 'tape wars' started.

 

I'm pretty sure i put a DK tronics keyboard on mine later  and then i think (happy to be corrected) you could get a Spectrum + 'upgrade' i.e. put the guts of your speccy in a + case which i did. I dont think my mum and dad would have splashed out on another Spectrum.

 

Also had a Smiths tape recorder (brown one i think)

 

Piracy was pretty commonplace in my school. A lot of playground tape swapping. The posh kids had TDK tapes and other kids had the market tapes which were basically useless. Remember one kid said he had a copy of 'Blue Thunder' on a C15 tape. He just put a programme on there which said something on the lines of 'Sucker' or something.

 

I'm sure he got a wedgie the next day.

 

Popping to Woolwich Market  was my Saturday thing. There was a games stall there and i'll never forgive him for letting me buy Word Cup Carnival ;)

 

Sold it all to fund an Atari ST.

 

Still remember the guy taking this huge box of my speccy stuff. Sniff....

 

Wind forward to when I started working in London in the late 80's early 90's. Bought a 'Speccy CD' from HMV in Oxford Street with every game on it (so it said on the front) and a dos emulator for my first PC.

 

And thanks to this thread, i've just bought a ZX Spectrum + off ebay. I took a risk as the seller had no feedback and there was no picture of it.

 

I expect to go through a ebay refund but for £10.50 (with a tape recorder as well)  i thought why not.

 

If it comes through, i'll put a picture up :)

 

 

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I remember my dad getting a c90 filled with copied games from a guy he worked with. This was in 1985 so tape-to-tape wasn't that common.

 

Anyway, I stayed up late until he got back from work (he was working late shift, meaning he got home at 11:45) and it was joyous what was on that tape.

 

Manic Miner, The Hobbit, Penetrator, Tranz Am, Pssst, Bruce Lee, Beach Head and a load of others - about 30 in all. I had something like 4 games (not including Horizons, but was Thro' The Wall a game?) and now my collection had just grown by nearly 10 times! I think I stayed up until about 2am trying them out. I was 10...

 

he even wrote little instructions for each of the games. 

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5 hours ago, BabelRich said:

Nothing, and I mean nothing in gaming will ever come close to the ecstasy and agony of getting an unmarked C90 and going through it to see what games were on there (and most likely not load).

Ah the agony of desperately trying to work out what volume Garfield (replace with a game of your choice) worked at. (It was usually 8.5) or using your tiny Philips screwdriver to change the alignment. of the tape deck.

 

Then the ecstasy of finding Skooldaze and it worked perfectly.

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10 hours ago, moora said:

Ah the agony of desperately trying to work out what volume Garfield (replace with a game of your choice) worked at. (It was usually 8.5) or using your tiny Philips screwdriver to change the alignment. of the tape deck.

 

Then the ecstasy of finding Skooldaze and it worked perfectly.

 

See, Skooldaze was one of the ones I could never get to work, that and Saboteur. I reckon I spent more time trying to loads those than actually playing stuff back then.

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2 hours ago, BabelRich said:

 

See, Skooldaze was one of the ones I could never get to work, that and Saboteur. I reckon I spent more time trying to loads those than actually playing stuff back then.

Skooldaze was a bugger to load. I remember getting it as part of a Beau Jolly compilation (10 Computer Hits) and it was the one game I really wanted to play.

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There was always a compilation C90 that had one or two games you really wanted to play but they never loaded... except one day you'd try again, just for the hell of it - and it worked! You'd then play that thing for the next four hours, scared to turn the machine off in case it never loaded again. West Bank, that was the one on this one tape. It would always fail at the same place, I could feel where, but on this occasion it worked. Not a bad game (didn't know about Bank Panic then). Still have the flat tape deck I used all those years ago too.

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1 hour ago, Vimster said:

There was always a compilation C90 that had one or two games you really wanted to play but they never loaded... except one day you'd try again, just for the hell of it - and it worked! You'd then play that thing for the next four hours, scared to turn the machine off in case it never loaded again. West Bank, that was the one on this one tape. It would always fail at the same place, I could feel where, but on this occasion it worked. Not a bad game (didn't know about Bank Panic then). Still have the flat tape deck I used all those years ago too.

I remember getting a shot of Jet Set Willy and kept my speccy switched on for 3 days after it because of the bastard copy protection...

 

 

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Ghostbusters 2 was the game I wanted more than anything and I got it for Christmas back in 1989 with my first +2A! I didn't realise until much later that the joystick I got with the speccy was faulty so when you pressed the stick up it was being read as pressing the fire button, which made trying to complete the first level of GB2 a proper nightmare. I still played the shit out of it though.

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I got my Speccy 128k out of the loft. Unfortunately didn't realise rgb out can't be tuned correctly on modern tvs so looking at one of those din pin to scart leads on ebay.

 

Despite the badly tuned picture I got my 6 year old son to type in one of the sort of 9 line programme from Input issue 1. He was scared that we'd ruin the tv and won't be able to play any other games.

 

I think he was sorta impressed we did it.

 

Muscle memory had to come back of which words were extend commands etc to get up.

 

Now I'm sat here with my 4 year old daughter with my heat reactive Jet Set Willy mug and she keeps doing an impression of Maria the housemaid who she feels is mean because she won't let Willy go to bed.

 

I've changed. I'm on her side now. It's his bloody mess and he should tidy it up. But I guess that's having kids for you :)

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On 15/09/2016 at 09:34, Bluejam said:

 

And thanks to this thread, i've just bought a ZX Spectrum + off ebay. I took a risk as the seller had no feedback and there was no picture of it.

 

I expect to go through a ebay refund but for £10.50 (with a tape recorder as well)  i thought why not.

 

If it comes through, i'll put a picture up :)

 

 

Well, not sure if my gamble is paying off, still awaiting this to come through so had to raise it through ebay. Guy says he couldnt get postage sorted  - riiiggghhhttt - but he is adamant he sent it today.

 

I look forward to receiving a Spectrum + covered in 30 odd years of dirt and grime.

 

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On 22 September 2016 at 22:23, Lorfarius said:

 

Question! Was there any Beano games on the Speccy?

No... but there was Viz!

 

You might also want to ease your collection cost by buying some compilations. Codemasters did the Quattro series in the early 90s, each tape with 4 games or you could scout for their CD Compliation - a whopping 66 games on a CD (which included a special cable to connect a CD player to your spectrum). 

 

 

 

One of my favourite compilations was "20 Chart Busters" with suitable late 80s garish day glow colours. It was a Beau Jolly compilation that essentially consisted of Mastertronoc and Firebird originals or re-releases (like Ghostbusters and FA Cup). although it should have been crap (and reviewed badly at the time) it was one of my most fondly remembered purchases, giving me months of fun and really summed up the charm of 8-bit computer budget games. Yeah there's not much depth but great for half an hour of fun. It contained one of the greatest budget gems - Park Patrol (which is also amazing on the C64). Plus it worked out at 50p a game!

 

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0011172&loadpics=3

 

The Alternative 4 Most compilations were also pretty decent too 

20ChartBusters.jpg

QuattroSuperHits.jpg

QuattroPower.jpg

QuattroSports.jpg

4MostHorror.jpg

4MostBigHits.jpg

4MostFightFright.jpg

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3 hours ago, jdanddiet said:

few decent games on that Beau Jolly compilation - Tau Ceti, Kane, Olli And Lissa, Dan Dare, I Ball and Thrust all stand out

 

Yeah, although it's funny that when it was released ('88), I think a lot of the games were considered "old hat" and primitive. But those games you've listed are all great games, plus I discovered some real gems on it too like War Cars Construction Set (written by the Clive Brooker who also wrote One Man and His Droid). Unfortunately I can only find a CPC video of it. It's really simple and a bit like a cross between Rally X and Scalectrix. 

 

 

 

Plus Zolyx is a nice version of Qix written by Pete Cook of Tau Ceti, Juggernaut and one of my personal faves Micronaut One).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeAqb4WeXMc

 

 

Harvey Headbanger was also a great little arcade puzzle game.

 

 

All of them are solid 7s... Not what you'd call amazing but great fun. I guess that's part of the fun when going through compilations.

 

Reminds me of how much I really enjoyed the "covertape wars" at the end of the Speccy's life. Crash, Your Sinclair and Sinclair User would put anywhere up to 7 or 8 games on a tape, each month, and you'd sometimes get some real crackers. I mean, take this Sinclair User Cover tape from 1991... T.L.L. Cyclone, Alien Highway, H.A.T.E.!  Another had Tai-Pan, Solomon's Key and Rygar. What a time to be alive!! (and to still have your speccy while also having an Amiga... ;-) ) It also meant you weren't really sticking with one magazine - I'd usually just decide which mag to buy based on the covertape... 

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Wasn't there some particular event that brought these wars to an end? Going off-topic somewhat, I used to buy C64 and Amiga mags and they had games on there, saved me tons. Then they just stopped. My memory is hazy but I think it was something to do with the industry having a whinge about lost revenue. Please put me right.

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I think the theory was that the covertape wars killed off the 8-bit systems, so the publishers got together and decided to pretty much ban them on the 16-bit systems. Hence you only really got PD games by the time of 92/93 (although these were usually pretty good too).

 

Amiga Format's cover CDs brought back the game thing, but in a really limited way.

2 hours ago, jdanddiet said:

Have you read my article on the covertape wars? Writing that made me realise how many ace games were released on magazines!

No, please post the link - would love to read it!

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Speaking of compilations; I remember saving for (and getting) the TNT compilation.

 

Man I was sugar-snortingly excited for that thing - Xybots, Toobin', Dragon Spirit, Hard Drivin'; All class arcade games but it was APB that held the real allure for me, I absolutely could not wait to go chasing after litter-bugs and Freddie Freak.

 

I finally got it home and slapped in the APB tape before I'd even got my coat off.

 

Would it load? Would it fuck! Think it worked about twice in end and crashed both of those time.

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I did not own a Speccy growing up, but did get to play them at others' abodes. My first memory is of playing JSW at a friend's house and really not getting very far at all... (I seem to remember we ended up being repeatedly sent away by Martha).

 

Past that, favourites include Skool Daze & Back to Skool, Batty, Laser Squad, Dynamite Dan, Head Over Heels, Deathchase and of course Chaos.

 

 

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Spent a large part of this evening playing Speccy games.  Ghosts n Goblins is a hard bastard like every other version, but the graphics are as nice as I remember them.

 

Micronaut One is a strange one eh?  I've played some of Pete Cooke's other games, but this one is new to me.  It looks amazing and the 3D is surprisingly smooth.  I find the game itself a bit baffling though.  Finding the ETUs and pumping/draining them I get.  Your 'weapon' seems utterly useless though so I'm just not sure what to do at all when I encounter something in the tunnels.

 

I also dug out all my Ultimate games.  Sadly not a full set.

 

image.jpg

 

 

 

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