London: Google UK doodle celebrates St. Georges Day and anniversary of the little home computer that became a British phenomenon, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
The ‘doodle’ features St George on a horse, taking on a dragon. It is based on the ZX’s 8-bit style graphics familiar to a generation of computer users, particularly in the UK, for whom it was often their first experience of computing.
The ZX Spectrum (the “Z” is pronounced “Zed” from its original British English branding) is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd.
It’s 30 years since home computing and gaming became a reasonably common and affordable reality thanks to the small unassuming box with its rubbery keys and Sinclair Research, which designed and made it for us.
To be competitive with the rival Commodore 64, the 16KB of RAM-packing machine retailed for just £130 ($210 in today’s money), punched well above its own weight and was often the first computer bought by techno-phobic families.
Designed to be as programmer-friendly as possible, the founders of Shiny, Rare and Blitz Games studios all cut their teeth on the computer that introduced the world to Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy and Dizzy. It lasted a full decade in production, selling five million units before Amstrad purchased the money-losing unit and closed it down. Despite its demise, it’s still got a loyal following from a generation of fans, something we doubt can be said about the Amstrad machines that replaced it.