Computing History – the early 8-bit years

I have been interested in computers since the early 1980s. My father brought home the old rubber-keyed marvel, the ZX Spectrum, from Lasky’s – they were a pre-cursor to the Dixons brand – from Kingston-Upon-Hull.

The fun we had (honest!) going through the Horizons cassette that came free with it. My brother would sit and play the Brick In The Wall game until he could get that ‘just right’ move of the bat in order to remove the final brick from the screen. These days he ‘s just as bad but now he uploads videos of his gameplays onto YouTube via his BarthaxDravtore channel. He’s also a participant/referee for the Twin Galaxies hi-score website.

In 1987, I did the Spectrum & Amstrad CPC graphics port of the C64 graphics from ‘Out Of This World’ for Reaktor. It was a shameless rip off of ‘Fantasy Zone’ on the Sega Master System, but it was my one and only bit of paid graphics work. It also required me going to/from the offices of Paragon in Clapham Junction to see how far it had got. This accidentally included late night trips to their office to use their phone connection to download the latest C64 demos from Compunet.

Paragon (Programming Ltd) went on to bigger and better things – compared to their bread and butter Spectrum & Amstrad ports of C64 titles for US Gold – via a name change to Revolution. Yep, the very same software house that created Beneath A Steel Sky!

I digress .. I was lucky enough to get a nice score of 92% for the graphics in Amstrad Action #28 at the time!


Because I was only 17 at the time, I was paid for the work in cash. Erm .. hello HMRC .. in my defence, it was 30+ years ago and that’s how things were done back then!