We got one in the mid-80′s and it was a great machine. I was overawed at what this simple machine could do, though it did have it’s faults – the rubber keyboard was dreadful, the games took ages to load, made a horrible screeching noise while doing so, and would frequently fail with undecipherable error messages. (They were undecipherable to me anyway.) The games were simple, but they were amazingly fun to play. I could spend hours playing Jet Pack.
I remember when my Dad brought it home, and set it up inside a wooden box to protect it. He hard-wired the Spectrum to connecters inside the box, which in turn were hard-wired to the power and TV cables outside the box. In this way, it was just a matter of plugging in the power cable connecting the TV and opening the box.
This was well before the Internet was available to the general public, so getting new games wasn’t all that easy. We did know one person who could get games and he would copy the games on to cassettes for us. So even before p2p networks took off, piracy was a problem!
While the ZX was our first computer, it wasn’t until we got an IBM XT and AT that my interest really took off. But it was the Sinclair Spectrum that started it all. So to Clive Sinclair, I say “Thanksand Happy Birthday”. Where would we be today without the ZX?