There must be an awful lot of home computers tucked away in dark corners, gathering dust. Not everyone who owns a Spectrum uses it every day, every week or even every month — once the first flush of enthusiasm waned, many people abandoned the ‘serious’ side of home computing. Some of these people stopped using their computers altogether, while others joined the growing ranks of dedicated games players.

With all Sir Clive’s problems and the Amstrad buyout, there’s something of a renaissance on the Spectrum front at the moment — not one inspired by Alan Sugar, however. Amstrad seem to have inherited the Sinclair ability to foul up along with the Sinclair name: for instance the Plus 2 could have done with a little more thought behind its design so that the Interface 1 (and other add-ons) would fit on the back comfortably. An important consideration, that.

Exciting things are currently happening on the Spectrum hardware front because of the flair shown by independent designers and manufacturers. After the marked failure of the Mikro-Plus add-on and the collapse of Currah, peripheral manufacturers have bounced back. In the last couple of months we’ve seen some very interesting hardware developments. The Spec-Drum took rhythm to the masses at an affordable price, and Cheetah have just launched a slick sound sampler. Not to be outdone, RAM Electronics have weighed in with a cornucopia of musical goodies encased in The Music Machine. There’s a dedicated, RAM-based word processor on its way from RAM Electronics, and Cheetah have more plans for musical hardware. Other firms are getting involved too.

Graeme Kidd

This is fast becoming the age of MIDI — an interfacing standard that gets musical instruments and computers chattering away happily to each other. Soon, even the most musically illiterate will be able to have fun producing professional-sounding music on inexpensive systems based around the Spectrum.

Other areas of entertainment centred on the Spectrum are about to open up. Mel Croucher’s cunning device that allows computer generated graphics to appear on top of a TV picture should be available to Spectrum owners before long.

New areas of computer entertainment are developing. Of course, the healthy games market continues to produce new and innovative product, as well. Look at Lightforce and Fat Worm Blows a Sparky...

With the arrival of new add-ons, some of those dusty Spectrums tucked away in dark corners might well be fetched down, plugged in and used once more. And while the machine’s on, people may decide to see what’s happened to computer games since the days of Maziacs. And be amazed at what they see. Who knows? There could be another computer boom just around the corner. Let’s see what happens this Christmas...


Someone’s just told Lee Paddon that part of the CRASH Initiation ceremony involves him buying a round of Old Flatulence Bitter for everyone on the team! Poor fellow’s more used to the balmy climes of the AMTIX! office, where he’s been beavering away for the past few months.

Following in the footsteps of Robin Candy, Tony Flanagan has departed for pastures new, and Unca Lee has moved from the zone of the Amsters to join CRASH. Lee’s been wasting his youth for a good few years now, pounding joysticks and keyboards (amongst other things) at YOUR COMPUTER in London before heading towards the sleepy market town of Ludlow. And the Paddon family are just about to buy a house next door to Ben Stone — becoming a real family affair, this magazine...