H is for Horace Goes Skiing

by Mr Uku

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I was an 80’s teenager (could be the title of my autobiography) which for me meant one thing, home computers. Yes I was a teenager at just the right time, as far as home technology was concerned.

I’d had a play with a Sinclair ZX81 at school and found the whole thing amazing. When they released the ZX Spectrum I had to have one. Even my Dad was impressed with them at this point and practically insisted on buying me one for Christmas.

We decided on the 48k version because 48 kilobytes of memory was so big, you couldn’t possibly fill it and, therefore, it would last forever.

And it did.

I played and learned on that computer for years until it died at the hands of a confused BASIC compiler that tried to put some code into a piece of memory that was being used by the ROM of my Currah Microspeech. The Speccy let out a rather startled yell before it blew up and scared the shit out of me.

Such fun.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this and what it has to do with procrastination…yes, that’s still the theme. Well, I have a 48k ZX Spectrum and over two dozen games in a box in my Big Gay Cupboard, and what better way of avoiding writing than by going through a box of old computer games and reminiscing about the good old days when it was game-play that mattered and not ultra-realistic graphics.

This isn’t my original Speccy, that died and got dumped. This is a replacement found, along with all the games and a cassette recorder, by Mr Harper. It has many of the same games I used to have, mostly because I only bought the best games and so did everyone else.

I say bought, back then I bought very little. I had a program I used that would copy any game you could throw into it. Remember kids, piracy is wrong and I don’t do it any more.

But getting distracted by a ZX Spectrum is all well and good until you come to connecting the thing to the TV to have a quick go. There’s nothing quick about it. Which is why I’m also glad I collected a whole bunch of retro computer consoles, including:

  • Panasonic 3DO
  • Nintendo Game Cube
  • Sony Playstation 2
  • Sega Mega Drive
  • Atari 2600
  • Gameboy
  • Gameboy Pocket
  • Gameboy Colour
  • NeoGeo Pocket Colour
  • Gameboy Advance SP
  • Gameboy Advance SP Micro
  • Nintendo DS

And more games than you can throw a stick at. Maybe I should write about the games I have too. Maybe I should do that in another post. Or Podcast. Or something. After I get back to writing my story.

I’ve said before that the best procrastination helps with your writing in some way. How does playing games help? Ermmmm….. Oh, I know! Retro computer games couldn’t rely on realistic graphics so even though you were using technology, you still had to use your imagination. And when it comes to imagination, there’s so much material to be had from old games that… something something….

I want one last go on Horace Goes Skiing.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy Kuhn April 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Yes! The good old speccy! I can still remember the lovely, migraine inducing noise as the games loaded.
We had one in our house at college, it broke and someone told us to put it in the freezer so we did and it worked again.Up yours IT department.

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Mr Uku April 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Ha! Never heard of that trick before. Don’t think it would have helped mine what with the smoke and all.

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