THE COMP.SYS.SINCLAIR INITIATION CEREMONY!
By Stephen Smith
This is basically a cross between a proper test, to see if you
can get as many right as possible and impress your friends, and
an excuse to have a bit of a joke about the Golden Age of
Computing. I cannot claim that all of the following is my own
work any more, unlike the original, since I have added some of
the bits that were posted to the newsgroup in reply to the
original. However, if you find something funny, it is probably
Are you a true Spectrum User? In order to prove that you lived
through the Golden Age of Computing, you must answer the
following questions correctly! Only then are you worthy to post
1 - You will know what colours the numbers 0-7 correspond
- 0 - Black
- 1 - Blue
- 2 - Red
- 3 - Magenta (NOT purple!)
- 4 - Green
- 5 - Cyan (NOT light blue)
- 6 - Yellow
- 7 - White
2 - You will know how to delete on a rubber-key
Caps shift and 0.
3 - You can name at least four types of Sinclair Spectrums
(none after Amstrad). Forget those Timex ones.
Spectrum 16k, Spectrum 48k, Spectrum+, Spectrum 128. What kind
of idiot would put ZX-81 eh? (Gulp).
4 - You always remember that it is SIR Clive Sinclair.
Although many people also call him Uncle Clive.
5 - You know which game(s) the following characters starred
- Trashman - Trashman, Travel with Trashman
- Monty Mole - Monty Mole, Monty on the Run...
- Sabre Man - Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde...
- Miner Willy - Jet Set Willy 1 & 2, Manic Miner.
- Magic Knight - Finders Keepers, Spellbound...
- Ziggy - The Pyramid...
- Jetman - JetPac, Lunar Jetman...
- The Wallies - The Wally games.
6 - You know the dual functions that the Space Bar had.
Space and Break.
7 - You can spell UNDERWURLDE, NONTERRAQUEOUS
and SKOOL DAZE correctly.
(You'll have to check that Nonter.)
8 - You know at least one poke for JSW
Err.... I'm not worthy. But I do know the WRITETYPER
9 - You can't stand the keyboards on the Spectrum+ and
Spectrum 128. And the keys keep dropping out.
10 - You know what Mastertronic "MAD" stands for.
Mastertronic Added Dimension. You got a separate game on side
2. Guaranteed to be played only once.
11 - You can make the sound that the Spectrum makes when it
Beeeeeep Bip. Beeeeeeeep bfgkjhfgkhfdgfgkljsgkjg....
Miss out the third Beeeeeeep when impersonating speedlock.
Another test is to recount all the places (except for a room with
a Spectrum in it) where you have heard it: Star Trek - The Voyage
Home? No, actually, but close enough.
12 - You will know every Spectrum game ever written.
(Of course I could list them all but it would take up too much
13 - You will know which number keys corresponded to the
- 5 - Left
- 6 - down
- 7 - up
- 8 - right
- 0 - Fire
- although even more important is to actually be adept at using
them. A rare skill in itself.
14 - You have got an old 48k Spectrum in your atic (sic)
in 3 inches of dust, all the writing on the keys has been rubbed
off, and at least one key doesn't work. (Probably the one with
LOAD on it.)
15 - You prefer to use the keyboard rather than a joystick
for arcade games.
Except for the Ultimate keyboard layout.
16 - You can name at least five dedicated Spectrum
- Sinclair User
- Your Sinclair
- Sinclair Programs
- Your Spectrum
- and ZX Computing
17 - You know NEVER to plug a peripheral into the edge
when the computer is turned on!
Or unplug one for that matter.
18 - You know how to select the extended keywords.
Caps-Shift and Symbol shift, and maybe then cap-shift again
depending on your mood.
19 - This was your first basic program:
10 PRINT "hello hello hello"
20 GOTO 10
And you were dead impressed with it. So much so that you typed
it in every time you went to Dixons.
20 - You remember the following companies:
- Cheetah (SpecDrum, Ratt)
- Romantic Robot
21 - You know that if you type in a program from a book or
magazine, it will never actually work, but you still try it
anyway out of curiosity.
22 - You always say "enter" instead of "return".
23 - You know the two pieces of music that play during the
screen of Manic Miner, and the in-game music of Jet Set
"The Blue Danube", and "If I was a Rich Man". FWIW, "Hall of the
Mountain King" was played during Manic Miner, but I wouldn't
expect you to know that, cos I didn't.
24 - You know the difference between a K cursor, L cursor,
and E. Were there any more?
If you're a real pedant (like Richard Hallas), you'll
say that the '>' which points to
the current line in the Basic listing was known as the program cursor,
so should really be included in the list.
- K - Keyword
- L - Anything after K
- G - Graphics
- E - Extended mode
- C - Caps Lock
- Does the "?" count?
25 - You develop loads of superstitions when trying to load
a game successfully.
These include not leaving the room, walking
on tip toes around the computer, trying to get the tape recorder
as far from the TV as possible to reduce any interference,
disconnecting the one lead (ear or mic?) that you didn't need to
use when loading, and even turning the TV off while loading (and
dreading it when you turned it back on again) and finally
sacrificing a live chicken in the name of the Devil over the top
of the computer while it was loading, letting the blood drip
from its neck onto the keyboard. What? Was I the only one?
I think you lose something when loading from disk. You lose that
anticipation, that expectation, and that releif when it finally
does load succesfully. It gave you a chance to build up your
hopes and excitement. There was nothing quite like the feeling
when the game you have just bought, and waited days to play,
suddenly switches from loading and goes to the title screen.
26 - You can remember the following other computers:
And you liked to laugh as the companies went bust as the Spectrum
got better and better (until 1986, cough...)
- Jupiter Ace
- Sord M5
27 - Your Spectrum software collection includes at least two
C90's full of pirated games.
Come on! We all did it! And those
Ocean games were a pain weren't they (I seem to remember)?
28 - You remember the Horizons tape that came with a
A game of Thro' the Wall anyone?
29 - You know where the name "Namtir" in Namtir Raiders came
Namtir = Ritman (backwards). Jon Ritman wrote it, a common
poster to the group.
30 - You know the four colours making up the stripe on the
bottom-right corner of a rubber-key.
Red, yellow, green and blue. I think.
31 - You still wonder what a Quirkafleeg is, having missed
the posts to the newsgroup regarding it.
The act of lying down with deal animals and making a prat of
32 - (At least once) in 48k Basic you filled the screen with
keyword RANDOMIZE, just to see how far it will go, and what
happens when the maximum is reached.
33 - You can name at least three different types of
Not Amstrads funny joystick configuration.
34 - You know exactly what someone means when they say "The
- Herberts Dummy Run
- Everyone's a Wally
- Three Weeks in Paradise
- err.. (Help!)
35 - And also "The Horace Games".
- Hungry Horace
- Horace goes Skiing
- Horace and the Spiders
36 - You still remember the giant (for the day) packaging
that Beyond used to put their games in.
And it would never close to the way it was when you first bought
37 - You can reel off from memory all the "features" that
Ultimate used to put in the instructions of their games.
- Animated sprites!
- Hi-res graphics!
- More than one colour!
- Realtime gameplay!
- Crap keyboard layout!
38 - You still wonder what Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh
Eating Chickens from Mars (starring Zippo the dog) was actually like.
39 - You still avidly read all your old computer mags, and
reminisce about the good old days when games were
Isn't it excellent that nowadays you can read all the old game
reviews, and if you like a game you can just log-on to an ftp
site and download it?
40 - You know how to get out of the Goblin's Dungeon (and you
know what people are talking about when they ask you).
Great at parties. Not!
41 - You've sprayed your PC black in memory of the Great
(Not a definite requirement).
42 - You know the sequels to the following games:
- Nonterraqueous - Soul of a Robot
- Quazatron - Magnetron
- Jetpac - Lunar Jetman
- Chaos - Lords of Chaos
- Rebelstar - Laser Squad (Rebelstar Raiders 2 came after LS,
- Skool Daze - Bak to Skool
- Redhawk - Kwah!
43 - You knew at least one trick to do on a Spectrum that was
on display in a shop, to fool the sales assistant and any passing
Er, I remember one that made it look like a program was loading,
but I've forgotten the number. I'm sure I've got it written here
44 - You can name the following companies "Budget"
- Ocean - The Hit Squad
- Domark - Respray
- Hewson - Rack-It
- US Gold - Kixx
- Err, I've run a bit dry there.
45 - You still suffer from "Daley Thompson Finger" after
playing too many games of Decathlon.
A common problem among speccy
owners, with the major symptoms being sore fingers and two
knackered keys on your keyboard. There is also another similar
virus around called "Daley Thompson Joystick" which normally has
the symptoms of a sore wrist (oo-er) and a knackered piece of
plastic plugged into your computer.
46 - You reset the computer by pulling the power lead out.
It was always the quickest way. Well, it used to be anyway. Now
you have to climb over your computer just to get to it.
47 - You know what ALL Spectrum games have as their final
message when you complete them.
"Congratulations, you have completed xxxxxx!" (well that was
worth it). And then it loops round again...
48 - You haven't completed The Hobbit.
Yes, in the entire world of the Spectrum User, no-one has
actually completed this game*. So if you say you have, you are
* This is a guess actually, but I've had hundreds of tries
and got nowhere. It's too bloody hard!
Well that was good. Here I am asking other people to prove they
are true Spectrum users and I probably got half of them wrong
myself. Oh well, hope you liked it. Feel free to reply to me
with your comments and additions (unless you're Richard G. Hallas ;-) ), or
have a look at my other pages.
Written by Stephen Smith - stevo@REMOVE-THIScarlylesmith.karoo.co.uk
Spectrum users prefer the feel of rubber.