Before the nineteen-nineties my only experience with computers was that shared, usually, with a classmate and often involved hypnotisation, induced by a green flashing cursor on a small bulbous black screen. Although, vividly, I remember the sprockets of its large accompanying dot-matrix printer to be of more interest, turning its cogs and watching its spiked wheels pierce the green and white striped paper on its perforated edge. Let’s be honest, this beige, modest, lifeless machine was hardly the object of desire, especially one that would inspire a revolution, that would lead a generation into the new era. Enter the ZX Spectrum+2 128K.
I had seen a variety of home computers before this point. The Commodore 64, The Amstrad, The Amiga, Dragon 32 (a Welsh contender apparently), The Apple, I even remember The Acorn. All the same. Beige and full of unachievable promise. Each and every one inhibiting my capacity to care, or understand the significance of its evolution, but yet the computer continued to motion my instinct as though to inform me that one day it will not disappoint, and when that time comes I will not do without it.
Then, as though out of nowhere, the first apostle had arrived like a messenger from the great distant future to show us the way, the new way. Featuring James Bond, her majesty’s most trusted double agent, the Spectrum+ 2 meant business. Stealth black, with advanced sound and high resolution graphics. It was a marvel unlike anything I had ever seen, making anything and everything seem possible. I had witnessed the future / I felt it, like that described of a divine intervention. Sinclair, had sold us the dream, while walking us gladly straight into the twenty first century.
This thing did not just play games, it made them. You could code them. It even had the ability to drive a synthesiser, make music, and sound effects. I did not know what that meant back then of course, but it drove my imagination wild, and even though my undying persistence was only ever met with limitation, I continued to read its user manual believing that a computer would eventually give me the answers to the universe. And in a way, in less than a decade, it would do just that (the internet).