It is said that time adds a rosy hue to most things. And the urge to be and feel young again drives a seemingly unquenchable thirst for nostalgia and unending mutterings of how “things were better then”.

There is one area of such nostalgia for people* of my vintage that seems to have me in a very tight grip. The sights, sound and memories associated with our first computers. I have touched on the wonder of this in a previous post and I revisited it briefly here after a magical find.

Stuart and I have a yearly quest to find Christmas presents for each other that only 30-odd years of history can find. This year I discovered a great book, The ZX Spectrum Book – 1982 to 199x. This ticks all the necessary 3 R’s:

  • rare (only 1000 copies produced, so hurry! )
  • retro
  • reminiscing

The days of the Spectrum were when it all really started to look good. Sure, the ZX81 was special, but I think even we knew then that it was maybe a wee bit pants. The Spectrum was altogether different, colour, sound and the birth of the game that had some sense of size and expanse.

You can easily find many sources online to fuel your nostalgia for this, but this book is a must for all such starry-eyed gazers into the past as it is not simply a trotting out of the available resources in print form, you can tell it has been produced with genuine affection. Great design, layout and attention to detail. If you loved the ZX Spectrum, you really need to get this book, it even looks like a Spectrum so you can hand it to your kids and say “never mind the Wii, this is a games machine, just imagine it with rubber buttons”.
So, with this one simple book I appear to have won this year’s Xmas present battle, although, with one much-trailed present from Stuart still to come, he could still snatch it, but he is already admitting defeat.

The best news of all is that the equivalent book about the Commodore 64 is about to come out and Stuart is going to buy me one for my birthday. If the ZX Spectrum was great, then the C64 was, well…if you know, you know…

* I say people, I really mean boys.