BBC Microcomputer 32K

June 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

So apparently, there’s going to be a new one-off comedy-drama about the home computer industry of the early 1980’s, specifically on the ZX Spectrum vs. BBC Micro tussle. Hurrah! I remember many playground arguments about their relative merits, and of the ZX81, the Vic 20, the Commodore 64. (One friend had a Dragon 32 as I recall, but only one…)We’d argue through our lunch breaks about the relative speed, range of colours and sounds, and quality of games on each system. And about whether having more than 32K of memory (including the graphics memory) was ever really needed. I mean, what would you do with a whole 64K? That’s just taking the piss…

Thinking back, it seems that everyone who had a home computer thought that their model was the best. I certainly defended the BBC model B that I had against all-comers. It does seem to have more than a passing resemblance to religion: most people adopt the same religion as their parents, and then defend its inherent truth passionately. Aren’t they lucky to have been born into a family that happened to have the ‘right’ religious beliefs? Each and every one of them!

Anyway, because my parents bought me a BBC Model B, I became interested in playing games, then bored of them and wanted to write my own. That led through to an A-level, BSc, MSc and PhD in computer science, and a career I’m mightily happy with. And even though I haven’t touched one for many years, I still have a gut feeling that the BBC was a better machine than the Speccy!


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