Remember When – In The Beginning

Now whilst the whole idea of this blog is to concentrate on all types of gadgets, not just techie ones, I do have a soft spot for computers. I’ve gone through a lot and whilst I can’t always remember which Dell I’ve owned or which bits I’ve loaded into a desktop case, I do remember the first computer we ever got.

And this is it:

Sinclair ZX81

ZX81 - The first computer I ever owned

The wonderful compact ZX81. Probably the best thing about it is that I can never forget the year we bought it. In fact, we didn’t even buy it complete, we bought it as a kit that we had to build. Thinking about it, that was just crazy. We bought our first home computer – something that was new to most everyone – and had to build it ourselves, like a science kit.

But build it my dad did and we had our first fully functioning,  green screen, basic language, tape recorder compatible, PC. It was beyond exciting at the time. Games were loaded via a tape recorder – if you were daring (and I was at that young….ish age), you’d turn up the volume to listen to a mass of unlistenable noise. We had the usual futuristic games of course, like Asteroids (which was essentially block squares built into a ragged asteroids and a line shooter), but we also had Flight Simulator. On the  ZX81. Amazing. It took about 40 minutes to ‘load’ which of course was subject to any interruptions that would crash the tape. So after about 6 days of trying we finally loaded it up and i crashed the plane on take-off.  Every single time. Back to the asteroids I went.

But hey, we had a computer! And my techie gadget obsession was born.

What was your first computer memory? let me know 🙂

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8 Responses to Remember When – In The Beginning

  1. Jodie Smith says:

    Arrgggh we had one of these. But I don’t remember getting it in kit form. But then again, it wasn’t mine, it was my brother’s. You know you’re old if you remember having to load up games from cassette tapes (what’s a cassette tape!). After this we had the Commodore 64, another classic!

  2. Mellissa williams says:

    I had one of these too then a spectrum 16 k then a 48k. Oh and an atari and a commodore 64. Best game ever on the spectrum was the Hobbit but by god it took ages to load!

    I am really enjoying your first posts. Looking forward to reading more
    Love Mel

  3. gadgetmum says:

    Did everyone own a ZX81 then? lol. I so wanted a Commodore 64 – my neighbour had one. Before that was a Vic20, and of course then came the Amiga.
    Everyone then went for the Spectrum, or the BBC computer (which is what we used at school – wow thinking about it, we had computers at school!), but I think we finally ended up with an Amstrad

  4. Helen O'Keeffe says:

    We had a zx81, than a Vic20. I have memories of not being allowed to touch it! ( it belonged to my brother) We were a Spectrum family after that. We also had BBC computers at school but we only ever seemed to play “Snake” on them!
    I remember sending first emails when I was at Uni – only able to send messages to other Uni users though!
    How amazing that thing have changed so rapidly in our life times!

  5. Soosie says:

    We never had a ZX. I bought a Commodore 64 for my 2 sons. Takes you back when you think of the time you had to wait for the game tapes to load..

  6. ZX81Museum says:

    For more ZX81 related trivia and fun, go here:

  7. Ben says:

    Quote: “Did everyone own a ZX81 then? lol. I so wanted a Commodore 64”

    Oh no, you were either a Speccy or a C64, you couldn’t be both. I remember the arguments at school about how good the graphics were against a non comparable game on the C64 and vice versa.

    Spectrum loading from cassette with a twist

  8. Dawn Costen says:

    I was in the commodore 64 camp! I used to spend hours upon hours reading from the commodore 64 magazines and inputting lines and lines of code to produce a master piece of exactly nothing!! I don’t think I EVER managed to get any of those programmes to work! Oh but my dad loved to play chess on the commodore so it had it’s uses! lol

    But do you know what….whether those programmes worked or not…it didn’t matter because just the fact that I had a computer back then was good enough for me!lol

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