ZX Spectrum turns thirty

ZX Spectrum turns thirty

By Rob Crossley

April 23rd 2012 at 11:28AM

Ceremony to take place May 5th

Games industry professionals are celebrating Sir Clive Sinclair’s ZX Spectrum, the influential successor to the ZX81, which launched in the UK 30 years ago today.

The Spectrum captured the imagination of the eighties’ innocent youth and built an army of BASIC-brained bedroom maestros, many of whom today are leading projects and running studios.

Alex McLean, now the studio head of Codemasters Birmingham, last year told Develop that the Spectrum’s legacy, games aside, is its “contribution to determining the future career paths for many people now working in the games industry all over the World, myself included.”

Sinclair’s Spectrum was one of the first games systems to be engulfed in what is commonly referred to today as a “console war”.

Competing with the BBC Micro, Sinclair launched the console at £125 for the basic model with 16 kilobytes of RAM, or £175 for the 48k model.

Undercutting the price of the Micro was a focus in product advertisements, which boasted that the system was “less than half the price of its nearest competitor- and more powerful".

Sinclair Research, the company which developed the device, was ultimately sold to Lord Alan Sugar's Amstrad company in 1986.

A ceremony to celebrate the device is due to take place on May 5th at London’s BFI Southbank.