Monday, April 23, 2007

Quarter Of A Century Already?!?

Oh my God.

It's now 25 years since ZX Spectrum, the best (certainly the most accessible) home computer ever, was released.

I remember when I got mine (after I've already played with it for countless hours at my friends'). I was getting up at 5AM, before school, just to play a few rounds of Jet Set Willy. I remember learning the machine code and reading through the paper print-out of Spectrum's ROM before going to sleep.

I am amazed I still have the basic hex opcodes burned deep inside my skull. I think the screen contents was loaded from tape like this: DD 21 00 40 11 00 1B 3E FF 37 C3 56 05. That should be "LD IX, $4000; LD DE,$1B00; LD A,$FF; SCF; JP $0556".

The Spectrum (and its clones) was around for many, many years and this allowed the programmers to squeeze out every last drop of its potential. This will never happen again. Flight simulator. Word processing. Shaded vector realtime graphic. Five-channel sound with volume envelopes and modulation using one-bit software operated D/A convertor. Full-screen software scrolling with masked sprites at 25 FPS. All that in 40 kilobytes of RAM with 3.5 MHz processor...

(This is me in 1987, digitized on the screen of ZX Spectrum. In realtime. At 0.2 FPS.)


Anonymous said...

elvis has just left the building!

Anonymous said...

-beginflame- The best 8bit was C64, of coruse :) -endflame-

Anonymous said...

Oh, wonderful. This post could be longer. Much longer. ZX was only computer with heart&soul inside.

Anonymous said...

C64 FTW!!!

Anonymous said...

ahoj! i had famous c64.

but my question is: why haven't you continued with profesional programming
on pc computers?

few days ago i saw in library
you book "hry na pc (games for pc)" :-)

Anonymous said...

Do not worry I have it too:
0x01 .. LD BC,xxxx
0x11 .. LD DE,xxxx
0x21 .. LD HL,xxxx
I guess I had to do a lot in assembler or it was really smart design - well, it was both :)

Anonymous said...

My friend had Didaktik from Skalica.
We spent many hours... not with playing, but just loading on it.

Eso said...

I remember

CD - call
C9 - ret


Anonymous said...

Yaay, still have mine at home... The only computer I had passion for;-)
Still remember how I've once called you to finally know, how to create line 0 in basic, as it was in all these game loaders:-D

Anonymous said...

Years ago I found similar photos (but with someone more sexy than you were ;)) on one of the tapes I've got from my friend for my Atari 800XE. Since then I've been wondering how was it digitised in these times. If you tell me you would change my life today :)

Anonymous said...

Those were golden times. I still emulate from time to time, just to finish a mission in Saboteur 2 or beat up some assholes in Renegade.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately, in the age of Spectrum I didn't own it, I just played some games at my uncle's. some of them were hard to beat.

in 1997, however, I got myself a very good DOS disassembler/editor of ZX snapshots, I learned the assembly language and beated some of the games by cracking the infinity lives.

my best "work" was cracking time limit in Highway Encounter (the limit was not shown as a number but as a progress bar) and invulnerability (not only immortality) in Kokotoni (sic) Wilf