ZX Spectrum 30th Anniversary


Today is the 30th anniversary of the ZX Spectrum. Anyone who has ever stumbled across my Youtube channel will know that I hold a soft spot for this computer and I couldn’t let it pass unmentioned. The Speccy was a quirky machine with a rubber keyboard, colour clashing graphics and a basic beeper for sound but it was cheap and easy to program and spawned an amazingly large and varied library of games because of it. It never became that popular outside its native UK but there are plenty of us over here who grew up with it.


You may think I’ll struggle to tie this into Origin, but they did in fact release one game for the Spectrum which was Chris Roberts’ Times Of Lore in 1989. Times Of Lore was started on the Spectrum’s main competitor (the C64) before Roberts joined Origin making it a more likely target for porting than the usual sprawling Origin games. The conversion was done out of house in the UK by Imagitec.

In honour of the occasion, I thought I should dig out the Spectrum emulator and give this port a quick go. The game had both disk and cassette versions and I’ll be playing the later. This is actually the only Origin game I can think of that ever came on cassette (feel free to correct me here if there were others).

Times Of Lore is a lot of game to fit on a 48K machine. It requires multiple loading (never good on a cassette) and there isn’t any sound. In pre-emulator days this loading would have taken ages but if you had the patience this appears to be a very close clone of the game I played on the PC. It even has the intro, although I do miss Martin Galway’s music.

I was fully expecting this to be terrible considering that this was creaky old hardware by 1989, but it’s actually a perfectly playable port and quite the achievement all things considered. It’s not the version I’d choose but back when I owned a Speccy I would have loved it. As far as I could tell, this port had never made it onto Youtube so here is a quick video of the intro + me running around the map for a couple of minutes:-

If you fancy trying out some ZX Spectrum games head on over to World Of Spectrum where there are over 10,000 of them waiting to be downloaded.

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