Monday, 23 April 2012
ZX Spectrum 30th anniversary and St George's Day marked with Google Doodle
The 30th anniversary of ZX Spectrum, the home computer, and St George's Day have been celebrated with a video game-style Google Doodle.
The colourful artwork appears on the search engine’s home page depicting a fight scene between the patron saint and a green and yellow dragon.
St George’s white unicorn horse is on its hind legs as it fights its opponent in front of background comprising a range of bright colours based on the ZX's 8-bit style graphics.
The ZX Spectrum home computer (Geoff Pugh)
The scenes will be familiar to a generation of computer users, who used the ZX Spectrum as their first home PC.
When users click on the artwork, which has Google drawn across the top in black and white writing, they are taken to a series of search results on the hugely influential electronic device.
The small, black, British-produced computer, complete with rubber keys, is viewed by many to have played an influential role in igniting the popularity of home computers.
It also was credited with introducing colour "high resolution" graphics and sound.
Released in 1982 as a replacement for the ZX81, at the time the world's best selling consumer computer, the first edition cost £125 – or £175 for the top of the range 48kb model.
Though tiny by today’s standards, the Spectrum could handle a range of programs, including word processors, databases and, of course, games.
More technologically advanced rivals emerged, such as the Commodore 64, but the Spectrum managed to build a cult following and became the focus of more than 23,000 software titles.
Much of the population aged above 30 got their first experience of gaming on the Spectrum, wowed by platform games such as Boulder Dash and Manic Miner, shoot-em-ups like R-Type.
Many of today’s games, though vastly superior in terms of graphics are simply variations on those seminal early titles.
The ZX Spectrum’s distinctive rubber keys were mocked by sceptics, and despite fans’ affection they didn’t last. The ZX Spectrum+, released in 1984, used a more traditional keyboard.
Eventually, Lord Sugar’s Amstrad – now owned by BSkyB – bought the brand, produced by Sir Clive Sinclair's Sinclair Research Ltd, before releasing a new range of “Spectrum” machines.
But none ever attained the affection in which the original ZX Spectrum is still held.
Despite being officially discontinued in 1992, it remains part of British society with programmes for PCs, Apple Macs and mobile devices allowing users to play digital versions of Spectrum games.
Meanwhile, St George’s Day, England’s national day, is celebrated on Monday April 23.
Sunday, 1 April 2012
Google Maps 8-bit for NES
Google Maps is now available for 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES). Availability in Google Store is TBD but you can try it on your browser by going to
and clicking "Quest" in the upper right hand corner of the map.