The search engine’s latest doodle commemorates the 30th anniversary of the release of the British computer.
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Google’s latest ‘doodle’ celebrates St George’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the release of the seminal ZX Spectrum – the small, black, British-produced computer with rubber keys that played a seminal role in igniting the age of the home computer.
Produced by Sinclair Research Ltd, it was the third home computer to be released by the company, following the ZX80 and ZX81 – but was the first to be aimed primarily at the home.
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.
It came in two models – £125 for a 16KB machine and £175 for a 48KB machine – and went up against the BBC Micro, which had been released a year before but had a starting price of £235.
More technologically advanced rivals emerged, particularly the Commodore 64 and the Amstrad CPC range, but the Spectrum still managed to build a following and become the focus for more than 23,000 software titles which were released for it.
Two more models were released during the early and mid 1980s before Amstrad bought the Spectrum range.
Despite being officially discontinued in 1992, it retains iconic status as well as a loyal following, while there are programs for PCs, Macs and mobile devices which can allow users to play digital versions of Spectrum games.
Websites devoted to the ZX include World of Spectrum, which credits the computer with “single-handedly launching the home computer market in the UK and catching the imagination of the public – right from 5 year olds to middle aged housewives”.
The site adds: “Today, it lives on in the hearts and minds of hundreds (if not thousands) of nostalgic Spectrum users around the world; Specchums (as spectrum users like to refer to themselves) have taken it upon themselves to keep the memories and nostalgia of the Speccy (as the Spectrum is affectionately known) years alive.”