Happy 40th Birthday, Sinclair ZX Spectrum!

Aachen Maker Meetup #146, Apr 20, 2022

This week(!), one of the most influential home computers from the 80’s is celebrated its 40th birthday: On April 23, 1982, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum appeared on the scene, and with 5 million units sold, especially in the UK and Europe it got a whole generation of kids and teens excited about coding and computer science (and computer gaming, of course). Many of those kids—including yours truly—chose a career in computing thanks to the Spectrum, and it kicked off the British computer games industry.

So in this month’s online maker meetup, we celebrated everything Speccy. For those new to the platform, we had a "History of the ZX Spectrum in 10 minutes", but the evening was largely there to meet other retro computing fans, to swap stories about coding and gaming on the machine or its 2020 FPGA-based rebirth, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Next, to meet old (forum) friends face to virtual face, and to make new ones (friends, not faces).

Participants were asked to RSVP to this event on Meetup, which provided the Zoom URL. You don’t need a Zoom account, just click on the URL and install their client for a smooth experience.

Schedule (all times in CEST):

  • 18:30 Socializing and short introductions
  • 19:00 History of the ZX Spectrum in 10 minutes (for those new to the machine)
  • 19:15 Parallel breakout rooms for different topics like
    • How to get started with the Spectrum (again) today
    • The best(!) Spectrum games from the last 40 years
    • ZX Spectrum Next development today
    • Fans of other 8- or 16-bit platforms (C64, Atari ST, Amiga,…)
    • Just hanging out
  • We’ll discuss those and other topics in breakouts or together in a main forum based on interest.
  • Things usually wrap up around 22:00–23:00.

About the organizer
Prof. Dr. Jan Borchers is a researcher in human–computer interaction at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. He still owns his original 1983 ZX Spectrum, complete with microdrive and still-working cassette tapes, but recently added a Spectrum Next and N-GO to the lineup. He has studied the user input latency in retro and modern computers (spoiler: everything was better back then, but FPGA can bring it back), and has been rediscovering Z80 assembler programming on the way




Meetup Text Chat

This compressed text file contains the discussion and links participants shared via Zoom text chat during the meetup:


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