Compiled by Stephen Smith
- but I must admit to copying a lot of it from comp.sys.sinclair!
Mine are the sarky comments as well.
WHAT IS IT?
This is basically for all those people who like to reminisce
about all the great things that happened during the "Golden Age"
of computing (the 80's), that can be laughed and joked about now,
but probably weren't actually that funny at the time. The days
when we all used tape recorders, loading a program was a five-minute
nail-biting wait, and playability was everything (graphics
were those small UDG`s). These moments are things that we all
remember happening, principaly because the happened to all of us.
There is something saitisfying about knowing that all these
moments occurred to all of us. By reading a few of the entries
you will see what I mean.
This is not just restricted to mere moments or error messages,
although the latter is what made up a bulk of the replies. If
you have any anecdotes, quotes, or can think of an aspect of any
game or computer situation that is worth a mentioning that people
can relate to, then feel free to post it. Also, if you have any
comments on any existing ones, please do just that.
This document is generally restricted to Spectrum computing, but
anything will be considered if mainstream enough for us users to
relate to. Any and all comments on any part of this document is
greatly appreciated. If anybody draws some good ascii graphics
that I can add to the top of this doc then that would be great
If you do have any Golden moments that you would like to add,
then as well as posting them directly to me at
feel free to post them straight to the
newsgroup comp.sys.sinclair, from where I can also pick them up
and use them. Probably the best option is to post them to both
me and the newsgroup, so as to guarantee that they are be used.
I am having a bit of a dilemma as to how I should organise the
list. At the moment they are divided into groups like `error
messages` and `programs` etc... Is this preferable to simply
having one long list with the different types all jumbled up?
I don`t know. Maybe you can help me.
Anyway, enough idle banter. Here it is...
GREAT MOMENT IN COMPUTING:
R Tape Loading Error (0:1)
The all-time classic. There was nothing better than waiting about 5 minutes for a game
to load, only to come back to it and see this message waiting for
you on the screen. Probably the most famous error message (since
it was the most bloody common) it could mean anything from "Your
tape is knackered" to "Your tape machine is knackered." All you
could do was to keep re-trying, and in true Sinclair tradition,
it eventually worked. Sometimes.
How about the Opus disk error
(c) David Corney, 1983,84, 0:1
(Philip M Reynolds)
POKE 23610,28 gets you:
(c) 1982 Sinclair Research Ltd, 0:1
Silly (BBC Micro). Let us not forget Mistake (BBC/Acorn, all
models) and This is not a language (BBC Master).
(Mike Cowgill, I think)
Dont be a Wally!, 0:1 (With Opus disk drive)
D BREAK - CONT repeats, 10:6
C Nonsense in BASIC, 0:1
...or something like that - it's been a while!
It occurs to me that this is a particularly good one. After all,
you wouldn't expect C source to make any sense in Basic. :-)
Right. Out of curiosity I fed some converted Basic stuff through
my Turbo C V2.0 compiler and it reported:
line 1: Basic nonsense in C
(Hans - Lying I think)
Keyboard failure. Press F1 to continue (Any IBM PC compatible)
Just goes to show that things haven`t improved in 13 years.
Hello there, I'm a +3 ...On a +2A.
BTW: some great moments in (Unix) computing:
and everyone's favourite:
savecore: reboot after panic: clget: pagedaemon needs > 1 cl
(Thanks to Nick Dixon for that. I think the NHS lunatic asylums
need more cash :-) )
Stop the Express (Sinclair Research)
CONGRATURATION YOU SUCSESS!! (sic)
YOU FINISHED THAT BLOODY GAME?!?!? I jumped and ducked and
weaved and snuck through the bad guys, almost to the point where
I could do it with my eyes closed - my fingers could do the
sequence by themselves (three steps - duck - five steps - duck
for the bullet etc etc etc...) for months on end... Actually,
I don't remember if I actually did finish the game - I think I
got past the second part where you are inside the train, going
to the right, and reached the end of the train - was that the
end? I seem to remember you just start over after that with
tougher bad guys...
Chaos - Battle of the Wizards (Julian Gollop, Games Workshop)
How about those eight player games of Chaos where you got killed
by a Magic Bolt spell in the first round? Even if you were
playing against computer opponents, you had to wait for the game
to finish, which took about half an hour! :-(
Jet Set Willy (Matthew Smith, Software Projects)
I can remember that famous bug in Jet Set Willy where, if you
fell off the bottom of certain screens, you would appear at the top
of the one below. If you then died by falling too far, you would
continually re-appear at the top of the screen, thus dying again
and again, until it was game over! Great or what, especially
after spending several hours collecting around 150 objects. It
had me rolling on the floor, smashing my Spectrum against the
IIRC that wasn't a bug, as it still happened in JSW II.
Maybe not a bug, but a pain in the bum. =)
(Stephen Smith - I had to get the last word in.)
The Hobbit (Melbourne House)
'You see some pale bulbous eyes staring at you...'
'Something drops down behind you...
...you're dead, you scored s**t-all again!' (and two turns previously
you were well on your way to completing it =(.
'The vicious goblin cleaves your skull...
...you're dead, you scored 0.00004567%!'
You obviously had the early, rude, floating-point version ;-)
Surely the most annoying messages are:
- THE PLACE IS TOO FULL FOR YOU TO ENTER (apols for the capitals,
but that's how it comes up!)
- Thorin takes the small curious key (And he calls me a thief!)
but worst of all:
You see: the goblin. The
goblin captures you. (scroll, scroll) You are in the
goblins dungeon. (Now wait 10 minutes for that f***ing picture
to be drawn again!!)
Best location: Getting out of the barrel too early in the middle
of the fast river. You can't go anywhere or do anything. This is
especially good when Gandalf comes along to tell you what a great
job you're doing....
Tornado Low Level (Costa Paniya, Vortex) - STOP THE TAPE!
Not just TLL, but any game where you had to stop the tape
halfway through to get some sort of message or warning. How many
times did you start it loading, leave the computer, and come back
5 minutes later to see it flashing "Stop the Tape". Your tape
recorder, meanwhile, had just clicked off because it had just
reached the end. Too many times, eh folks?
Daley Thompsons Decathlon (Chris Uquahart, Ocean)
...And all the other programs where you had two either press two
keys on the keyboard left/right simultaneously, or (the more
popular) waggle your joystick from left to right until it either
snapped or you got cramp in your hand. This really was one
guaranteed way of knackering your keyboard/joystick and give you
RSI in less than two minutes.
3D Ant Attack (Sandy White, Quicksilva)
The hi-score table in this game has really gone down in the
annals of history as the worst their ever was. It was like a
drug-induce psychadelic nightmare. And whatever happened to hi-
My great moment has to be the tape (audio) that came with the
original Everyone's a Wally.
Didn`t Deus Ex Machina come with an audio tape as
well? And Carrier Command? What does it all mean?
10 PRINT "HELLO HELLO HELLO"
20 GOTO 10
Didn't ALL books like "First Steps with your Spectrum" (and the
million-and-one others like it) ALWAYS have this as the first
program to try out? Or was it just me? Oh, I see.
Says it all really, doesn`t it? I have actually tried this on
my Z80 emulator. It won`t accept the first line. Am I being
thick or what?
No, it only works on a +2A/+3
(A friendly neighbour)
10 PRINT '"Program: Bruce Lee"
20 RANDOMIZE USR 1336
30 GOTO 20
(Agust Arni Jonsson)
Had the kids hanging in the store for half hour in front of the
Speccy before some bright kid noticed there wasn't a tape in the
This was a good 'un, too: Go into Boots (where the computer sales
staff's ignorance of computers was legendary), find a Speccy with
it's sound wired up to a TV/Monitor (ones with the controls
hidden behind a flap were the best), then give it...
10 CLS:PRINT AT 15,1;"Do NOT press the SPACE BAR..."
20 IF INKEY$<>" " THEN GOTO 20
30 RANDOMIZE USR 1334
Turn the volume up to 11, then go and lurk in the photo
processing department until the schoolkids turn up... A classic
test of basic human psychology, that one. I don't know what was
funnier, the looks of shocked innocence on the kid's faces or the
manic fumbling of the sales assistant as she tried desperately
to silence the bloody thing. She'd invariably end up calling some
Junior Manager, who'd finally resort to the ultimate weapon -
pull the mains plug out.
"I think that's why Sinclair put a rubber keyboard on it. For
when you throw it at the wall :-)"
48k Basic - Having to go through the tortuous task of pressing
caps-shift & symbol shift, and then caps-shift again, followed
by the letter with the keyword written in green above it. (Cue
hundreds of letters telling me the greens were at the bottom and
reds at the top. I admit, I can`t remember.) Thank God for 128k
Basic, eh lads?
Great moments in computing...
Not forgetting Sir Clive himself, of course.
And is that not a perfect note to finish on? Yes.
Ah, those were the days. I really miss the '80s.
Written by Stephen Smith.Stephen Smith - stevo@REMOVE-THIScarlylesmith.karoo.co.uk