ZX81 is 42. The meaning of life. And it was sort of for a generation of British schoolchildren. That is, if they can keep the 16KB RAM bundle attached long enough. Typing on the ZX81’s hideous keyboard could cause the beam to wobble, fall off, and disable the entire device. cooperating.
hang on. What is this abomination? The unholy offspring of a calculator and a home computer?
It has already won a Design Council Award. Your label is appropriate, however, given that its creator spent the ’70s selling electronics to hobbyists until his calculators were hit with more capable Japanese fare. So Clive Sinclair and his folks pivoted around home micros, including the ZX80 and this improved follow-up…which still only has 1KB of RAM, comes in a kit unless you pay 20 extra pounds, and turns off the screen when it has any Hard thing to do.
This sounds terrible. So, presumably, this was a computer disaster of epic proportions?
You’d think so, but the ZX81 1.5 sells million and laid the foundations for the ZX Spectrum. Admittedly, this was mostly because it was so cheap (£50) compared to most competitors. In addition to connecting it to a TV, instead of ordering an expensive monitor. But although its abstract nature (four slides, no sound, no moving parts) was limited, some saw it as a challenge. It wasn’t long ago in the burgeoning accessories and software scene that programmers compressed entire games into the ZX81’s paltry RAM.
Don’t tell me-“And they finally got it death running on the thing?
No, because the ZX81 was quickly overshadowed by Speccy, which appeared just a year later. But who needs death Even in 1981, this was a British-made machine 3D monster maze? This groundbreaking survival horror title finds you running from a predatory dinosaur for your life. And if you ever get frustrated with being gorged on over and over again by chubby horror, you can throw the ZX81 out the window safely, knowing it’s still working when you plug it back in. Try it out with your awesome PS5.
Six of the best ZX81 games
Silent movies feel like they are from another era. And there is something similar old about the ZX81. Its silent, black-and-white titles seem a world away even from those bestowed upon the systems a year or two later. However, as with classic films, there is quality in the coffers if you’re prepared to look beyond the show.
Landmark address 3D monster maze (1981) Framed as a circus event, she unwisely enters a maze that houses a T. Rex. The terse descriptions – “He’s looking for you” / “Rex has seen you” / “Run – he’s after you” – only heighten the tension in this silent horror. [Play online]
1k zx chess (1982) It may not look like much, but the proof of his ambition lies in the title. Most ZX81 games relied on delivering a 16 KB RAM package, but this chess effort only used the 1 KB onboard capacity. Yet it will still defeat you.
flight simulator (1982) It clearly can’t compare to recent efforts like Microsoft’s amazing sim. But fans of such fare would do well to check out where these games got their start — and marvel at what can be compressed into a paltry 16 kilobytes.
Don Priestley was famous for his amazingness kick through Game – but he cut his teeth little boy (1982). Despite being on the humble ZX81, this maze game featured Priestly’s trademark oversized characters. [Play online]
looking at her old, fungi (1982) It has well developed mechanics. You must replenish your fuel/bomb reserves while blasting your titular enemies into oblivion. A dash of sound and color and it’s a classic arcade game. [Play online]
an act (2014) is “demake” of super hexa By Master Sinclair Bob Smith. It lacks the color and melody of the original, but it makes up for it with fast-paced gameplay that will show you left your reflexes back in 1981.