I can’t contain my joy since eventually now I’m in the club of the proud owners of a ZX Spectrum! 😀 😀 😀
Finally Sir Clive’s computer now have his own space in my collection. It was a long, relentless and sometimes exhausting research, something whose roots go back when I was 5 and I tried for the first time this magic computer playing (after like 20 minutes of loading time) Pssst and Daley Thompson’s Decathlon. I wanted to play Speccy again during my childhood but my uncle threw his wrecked third-hand Speccy and for years and years this computer was nothing but a fond memory. The first time I found again something spectrum-related was in the internet era, reading some blogs and forums but the turning point was the time when the popularity (and reliability) of emulators started to grow big. Even with some help from the large diffusion of youtube videos and longplays my passion for the Speccy started again to burn, and the flame hidden under the ashes for all those years flared again.
And this leads to the present, when I started to be a small collector. Even if I’ve been happy to find some good old consoles I’ve never had, especially the Sega ones and to find some beautiful NES games I’ve always felt a bit incomplete for not owning a Spectrum.
Now finally the room I left in my heart for it for a long time in not emplty anymore, so I’m proud to show you my new friend
This computer is not actually the same I played in my childhood, which was a 16K, but is a Spectrum+ with 48K of RAM. For this reason I think I won’t have any issue while playing games since both the 16K and 48K (so 90% of the Spectrum games) will run with no problems. If I were born in the UK I think I should have found a Speccy for like 20£, but being in Italy I have to consider the fact that not all the foreign sellers ship to Italy, and when they do it, the costs are quite high (like 30€ or so) so even if the computer is cheap or with a reasonable price, in the end I have to cough up a lot of money, closer to 100€ if not more (way more).
But this time I’ve been lucky and I found an italian seller willing to trade his Speccy for 65€ negotiable plus reasonable shipping costs. I tried by best to lower the price as much as I could and after some talks during which we looked like we were on Pawn Stars we met at 52,50€ (yes, even the 50 cents 🙂 ) that was really really not bed, since some close-to-death Spectrums I’ve found online were sold at like 70-80€ without leads, in horrible conditions or untested. Plus shipping costs.
This one instead is in really good conditions and came with power and aerial leads but, unfortunately, with no games. However I’ve already found some people willing to sell big lots of games for a few euros, so I’ll have time to collect them. One thing I’ve noticed that I didn’t remember is the weight of the computer: considered its limited dimensions, Sir. Clive did a great job to squeeze everything inside it. To understand how many things fits inside that small keyboard you should just look ot the keys: each one has at least four if not five different functions, corresponding to the five different “modes” of the Spectrum (‘K’eyword, ‘L’etter, ‘C’apital, ‘E’xtended, ‘G’raphics).
The Speccy came with its User Guide Companion Cassette, but I was missing one important thing: s a tape deck to play it. Actually I would need it also to run games and yes, try to save my own programs/minigames (I definitely have to learn this things!!! 🙂 ) but first thing first I needed to test the computyer and see if it was working. I though this would have been another epic search, since it’s difficult to find something both in good shape and cheap.
BUT, sometimes the luck hits two times in a row and the day after I received the Speccy I went to a second hand shop at 5 minutes from my house. If I have to be honest I though I wouldn’t find anything interesting. You know in Italy second hands and hook shops are places where 90% of times you find something so old/wasted that is not worth buying it neither if you have to give it to your worst enemy. But 10% of times you can find something good and cheap and this was my case. As I entered I threw my eyes in the gaming /computer/electronic section and I immediately recognized on a box a picture of a tape recorder. I think I started to actually run to it, for the fear someone else could have taken before me. I opened the box (in very good conditions, even if a good box wasn’t really what I was looking for) and inside the recorder was like brand new, in its plastic envelope and with polystirene inserts still untouched. I was looking for a cheap but working tape deck and I’ve found a brand new one! Plus, the price was impressive, only 14€ I negotiate to 10€. I really can’t complain.
Now I had everything I needed, A Speccy, a tape deck and a TV. I tried at first with my old trusted Shrek (yes, my green TV has a name) and I managed to tune correctly the TV but I noticed that there was a lot on background noise. Then a few days later (spent thinking that maybe the Speccy could have been damaged) I tried with the big living room TV wich is a digital one but with the option to switch to analog. It worked brilliantly but there was always that annoying noise. After looking unsuccessfully everywhere online for a way to fix it, I had a brilliand idea: giving the fact that the Speccy has an internal beeper, could it be an intelligent move to turn off the TV volume?
The answer was: yes. The “problem” was that.
I’m an incredible idiot.
The cassette was working so I spent 10-15 minutes getting in touch with the commands of the computer (something that if you have to code could be a bit complicated for the amount of instructions you can enter with a single key) and now I’m a more skilled newbie.
So, now I only have to wait the best offer for some games. I think that, if I’ll find them, I’ll go first with Ultimate Play the Game cassettes, since they made impressive games and also the cassette covers are absolute pieces of art.
I look forward to talk with you again!