The ZX Spectrum at 40 years old

Originally published at: The ZX Spectrum at 40 years old | Boing Boing


There is a really active development community for these things (along with the other systems Rob mentioned). If that’s the kind of thing that interests you, is the storefront for you.

If you happen to be in Cambridge, the computing museum have relocated their gaming machines to a storefront in the Grand Arcade. Well worth your time.


Living in the States, I didn’t have access to the Spectrum - but I did have a Timex-Sinclair 2068 (and prior to that, a TS-1000), so I was a Spectrum owner in spirit. I miss these machines soooo much. Cybird Assault on the 2068 was my jam.


I was unaware of these Timex versions.

And Jesus Christ the two of them are like a bracket on early 80’s product design.

Some one tell me about a wood paneled iteration and we can complete the set.


Gorgeous, isn’t it? :grin: Internally it’s just a Spectrum, with the addition of a ROM cartridge port that only a handful of titles were released for. Totally bombed at the time. I loved mine, though - I even had a Timex-branded dial-up modem that I ran up long-distance charges with before my parents got wise, giving me my first BBS experiences. I love this machine.


Pretty sure my college girlfriend had one of these at her parents’ home.

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There were also many unauthorised clones of the Spectrum, including over fifty models made in the USSR.


And many appear to be equally as GLORIOUS.


Another deprived USian here who has never seen a Spectrum in the wild, although the InterTubes have given me a certain fascination for them.
As a teen I drooled over ads for the ZX80 & ZX81. Wow! A computer for “only” $100!
I was surprised by how small they really were when the TS-1000 appeared in U.S. stores.

@Ryuthrowsstuff: LOLing at the wood-paneled computer concept.


There’s a thing with people covering old PC cases with vinyl woodgrain wrap. Something the from the 90’s to early 00’s to get the right sort of goof balls going.

I just don’t think it quite matches the design aesthetic of the actual era of fake wood electronics. Otherwise I might take a run at it. Figuring out a custom front panel, or gutting something with the right look is just way more work than I’m willing to put in.


I was just thinking of that. I had some wood-panel looking contact paper sitting around for years, until I finally used it to wrap Christmas presents one year.
I’m trying brainstorm if I kept any leftover paper and what sacrificial old PC I would use it on.

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I have more than once considered digging up my old Zune for that.

But once it’s suitably woodgrained it’s not like I’d be using it.


The Soviet Digital Electronics Museum has dozens of rickety Spectrum clones. Look in the “Z80 family computers” section.

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Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. Playing Sabre Wolf on one of these was where a forty-year career started for me.



I had one (ZX81) as a youth back in the day.

Too this day I have a burning hatred of membrane keyboards!

The ZX81 is not a ZX Spectrum.

My memory says that here in Australia, they were marketed as the “Spectrum ZX-81”.

It’s possible my memory isn’t exact because it was 40 years ago!!

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