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ZX Spectrum

602 of 1160 nominations


ZX Spectrum

Is this an icon?


ZX Spectrum

Unlike Sir Clive Sinclair’s other best-known invention, the C5, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer-cum-games machine is remembered with much affection. Launched in Britain in 1982, the inventor himself dubbed it the Spectrum, after its colourful motif, to distinguish it from its black-and-white predecessors, the ZX80 and ZX81. Its main rival was the US-made Commodore 64, which did for computer games in America what the Spectrum did in the UK.

Spectrum software and data were stored on audio cassettes and, not surprisingly, many musicians saw the potential in the new techonology. Pete Shelley, former Buzzcocks frontman, included a Spectrum programme as the last track on his XL-1 album.

Although the Spectrum was deleted in 1988, computer enthusiasts – known as "Spec-chums" – throughout the world have kept it alive, with many ZX-compatible games available for downloading via the internet.


Your comments

The ZX Spectrum was arguably the most influential UK home computer of the 80's. Originally marketed for educational and business applications it soon became ubiquitous as a games machine in British homes. Moreover its BASIC programming language inspired a generation of British game developers who went on to become a significant power in the global gaming industry. The technical and creative talents of the generation that produced worldwide blockbusters such as Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto owe some part of their success to the invention of this undeniable icon of the game development world.

Jacob Habgood Photo: RV Nixon www.flickr.com/photos/rvnix/

Margaret Thatcher once presented a ZX Spectrum to the Japanese Prime Minister as a symbol of British technology. If that isn't an endorsement of its iconic status, I don't know what is!
Matt Westcott

Mia Willinson

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry