The Instant Spectrum User Course

By Stephen Smith -

Of course, True Spectrum Users started using the Spectrum in 1982 and we haven't stopped since (except for things like eating and sleeping). However, you can catch up on the the fun that we've had with The Instant Spectrum User Course. In just 3 easy steps you too will be able to work out why one game of Turbo Esprit is infinitely preferable to owning a full Daytona coin-op.

Part 1: The Emulator

The first thing you will need is to download a Spectrum Emulator for your computer, to turn it into a Spectrum.

Some people would question why you want to run software that turns your Pentium Overdrive MegaPC into an 8-colour (with attribute clash), low-res 48K memory contraption that runs at about 0.1Mhz (on a good day). But these people are dorks.

Part 2: The Games

You will now need a few classic games to play on your new emulator, and has the Spectrum got some of those! (Yes, actually). When we say classic we mean classic. Classic-er than a classic man's classic bits. Just click on the names of these Golden Oldies to download and play.

Smallprint: You will need a copy of pkunzip to unzip these games. But everyone's got a copy of that. Some even paid for it.

Once these have downloaded, simply unzip them into the directory of your Spectrum Emulator. Then load your emulator, and select Load Snapshot (or equivalent). Then play away!

Part 3: Instructions

Well, if you've managed to download any of the remotely complicated games (which is basically all of them with the exception of the two Software Projects' ones), and started playing them, you might be having a bit of trouble working out just what the goddam hell is going on (especially if you selected Tau Ceti). So here to help you is Sinclair Infoseek. This is a bit like the IMDb, but has remarkably few movie reviews in it.

Now play these games for weeks on end. Bear in mind that these came out over 10 years ago, when everyone else was playing Pong or using their computer for strange things like accounts. And you can guarantee that they will still be being played ten years from now, when passing fads like Doom have become a dim and distant memory.

No other computer proved that playability was everything in a game. You don't need excellent graphics (e.g. Stock Car Championship) or an original idea (e.g. Stock Car Championship) to make an excellent game. And with so many to choose from there is guaranteed to be one for you.

And there you are. You are now a fully-fledged Spectrum user, and you have seen the light. But we Spectrum Users abide by certain rules, that have been carefully logged and codified since 1982, and must be followed to the letter. These arcane laws are as follows:

  1. Never miss an opportunity to have a pop at anything Commodore.
  2. Whenever a new mega-game comes out, always state how similar it is to an old Spectrum game from a decade ago (e.g. Descent? It's just 3D Tunnel with better graphics!)
  3. Never play a Daley Thompson game! Your keyboard will thank you.
  4. Pay exorbitant amounts of money for original copies of old Spectrum games, claiming they are virtually antiques.
  5. Never plug anything into the edge connector while the computer is turned on (or unplug it for that matter).
  6. Finally, you know never to try and complete a game to see the end-of-game sequence, because you know it will be some poxy message and then loop round to the start. You play the game to enjoy it.
Now go and join the newsgroup comp.sys.sinclair and share your joy with the rest of the world!

All jokes (C)1952 Stephen Smith. Comments, additions and amendments are, as always, welcomed with open arms. If you can think of anything else that a fledgling Spectrum user needs to know, pass it round!

Written by Stephen Smith.

Stephen Smith -

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