Clive Sinclair saw the culmination of his research in affordable home computers with the ZX Spectrum, of which two different versions (16K and 48K RAM) were released in April 1982.
Though not a multimedia powerhouse by any means,13 the built-in Sinclair
BASIC language and overall huge improvements from the previously-pioneering ZX81 made this machine a much beloved model in the hands of hobbyists and aspiring programmers. It played a fundamental role in starting and fostering the early development of the UK gaming industry.
Many new companies started to write software and, most importantly, games for the new machine: Bug-Byte, Mikro-Gen, Quicksilva, Imagine, Ocean, and Ultimate became common household names, and several magazines dedicated to reviewing and discussing the new gaming culture cropped up all around. Indeed, the results came quickly and iconic figures from games like Jet Set Willy by Matthew Smith or technical marvels like Ultimate’s Knight Lore captivated the imaginations of an entire generation of gamers.
The original ZX Spectrum, the most well-known and best selling British home computer. More than 12,000 games were programmed for it. It used a Z-80A chip running at 3.54 MHz and had a resolution of 256 × 192 pixels.
Released in 1984 by Software Projects, Jet Set Willy was the follow-up to an earlier success named Manic Miner. The object was to follow Willy in collecting 83 objects spread all around his huge manor while avoiding a multitude of traps before he could finally have a well-deserved rest. An extremely difficult,unforgiving, but fascinating quest, Jet Set Willy spawned countless clones and successfully redefined theplatforming genre on home computers.
Overall, the ZX Spectrum was a great computer that is still remembered fondly by many. It was extremely successful across Europe, where it shaped the nascent computer game industry, but it didn’t succeed in conquering the North American or other markets where the name Sinclair didn’t have a strong enough tradition upon which to build.
Knight Lore (1984) by Chris and Tim Stamper, the founders of Ultimate and, later, Rare. Thanks to their Filmation engine, an in-house-developed technology, Knight Lore was a true marvel that amazed all gaming enthusiasts with its spectacular isometric perspective and that set a new bar in exploratory arcade/adventure games. In the game, an explorer named Sabreman was under a spell that, at night, transformed him into a werewolf. His only hope was to find a powerful wizard within 40 days and nights to lift the curse and save him.