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4.0 out of 5 stars53
4.0 out of 5 stars
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I enjoyed this walk down memory lane. The format is simple, and works well. Each game is represented by a short essay. These are collected as chapters with different themes:

- The Classics (Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Jetpac, Atic Atac, Ant Attack, Horace Goes Skiing, Wheelie, Alchemist, Chaos, Everyone's a Wally, Deathchase, Head Over Heels. You'll have played them all).

- The Pioneers (Games that were groundbreaking at the time: Skool Daze, Feud, The Hobbit, All or Nothing, Dark Sceptre, Redhawks, The Wild Bunch, Deus Ex Machina, iD, Slaine Driller).

- The Greats (Games that are still worth playing to this day: Where Time Stood Still, Cybernoid, Nodes of Yesod, Knight Tyme, Jack the Nipper, Zoids, Firefly, Thanatos, Turbo Esprit, Daley Thompson's Decathalon, They Stole A Million)

- The Dark Horses (Games I had never heard of, but which sound intriguing: Flunky, Survival, Agent X, Friday the 13th, Alien, Death Wish 3, How to be a complete B*stard)

- Never Again (Games that would never be made today: Trashman, Mrs Mopp, Mad Nurse, Death Star Interceptor, Starring Charlie Chaplin, Cannibal Island, The Rocky Horror Show, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Give my regards to Broad Street)

The writing is witty, breezy and fun to read. The selection of games is smart, and I am grateful to the authors for introducing me to some brilliant games that I'd never heard of before. If you enjoyed reading Crash and Your Sinclair all those years ago, then you simply must read this book.
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on 6 October 2014
covers a bunch of games, some not so famous ones. doesn't give a lot of details more like an overview of each
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on 4 November 2015
As a physical coffee table book with some glossy pictures this might have been much more enjoyable publication. Even the paper back version with pictures and wacky fonts looks like it would have been a quite a bit more fun. But for me, the plain formatting and lack of pictures in the Kindle edition makes it a bit of a failure.

Having said that, I enjoyed being reminded of the games I knew, but was a bit bored by the reviews of the games I didn't know.
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on 19 September 2013
If you were a ZX Spectrum owner in the 80s (or even later), then you must buy this book. It details some of the best (and worst) games available on the Spectrum, sometimes with very good humour.

The only problem with the book is the lack of actual content. The Spectrum had thousands of games and this book touches only on a tiny percentage of them. There will undoubtedly be a number of games that you enjoyed back in the day that are not covered in this book.

What the book does do well though is cover some of the games that made the Spectrum one of the must-have 8bit machines, even now. Through the use of emulation you are able to play and enjoy games from days gone by. I'd suggest trying all the games from this book first, as while not a definitive list of the best games available, it's not too far from the mark.
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on 28 August 2013
A true trip down the blue rubber key lane . . .

A great read, and brought back a lot of memories about the simple games that I grew up with on the Speccy. The author is really witty, and you are able to enjoy the myriad of games that you don't remember, and games that should never have been made. Yes, the ZX Spectrum had its own version of the Atari's ET game.

The only issue was the lack of photos. It's not so bad for the games that you remember, but I had google for the games that were covered that I didn't remember.

This may be an issue with the eBook version that I read. Therefore, the rating remains at 5 stars, especially for the enjoyable read.
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on 26 September 2012
30 years. 30! Good grief. The time is certainly ripe for people to start writing about the history of the little black box with the silly rubber keys. The humble ZX Spectrum has a lot to answer for in my life. It is directly responsible for the fact that I now work in IT. Responsible for my life long love of computer games. And through the existence of the wonderful magazine Your Sinclair, responsible for shaping my sense of humour and expectations of what computer game journalism should be like. Speccy Nation seems to be coming from a similar background, being a 120 page love letter to the greatest computer of all times. It was never the best computer in terms of technical specification or hardware, yet there was something about it that caused people to write these bizarre, brilliant, and uniquely British games. Speccy Nation emphasises this perfectly. The book may be a little sloppily written, and at times it tends to just review games (I don't need a review of a game from 1985 that I played for hours and hours once upon a time), when the real strength of the book is Whitehead's interpretation of Speccy games and how they entwined with British culture of the time. It doesn't just pick the big names, but goes delving into the creativity, looking for those that inspired games that were to come 15+ years later on more modern formats. There are some fascinating thoughts on some very odd games that I never played, and some eulogies to other games that absorbed days of my youth, once upon a time.

Look, this isn't a work of art, much like the Speccy itself, but it is the work of someone who the Spectrum means an awful lot to. And for other people who are in that same boat, this is a brief read that you will very much appreciate. If you were some kind of loser who owned a Commodore 64 though, I am sincerely sorry that your childhood gaming experience was merely a vacuous waste of time instead of being part of a delightfully mad movement that most people will never really understand.
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on 5 May 2013
This has to be the most funny and cool book i've read about retro computer games. You dont have to be a complete geek/nerd to read this, the world of speccy nation is as weird and almost exotic in it's strange aethetics! Forget about realistic looking games, and focus on the few and simple acid-colured pixels on a black screen combined with the strange ticking sounds that the ZX could provide. All the weird and great games are reviewed here, thee good the bad and the ugly ones! .. The only bad thing about this book, is that it could have been longer.
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on 23 March 2015
Lacks a number of notable games that should be in this little book.Combat Lynx is just one example.
Would have liked to see a few small screen shots from each game also.
Yes I was one of those right at the start of home gaming.We were laughed at for what was seen as a strange waste of time.
Music was still king of teenage pastimes back in the 80's.
Dan captures the feel of the times with a great little book.
Needs expanding;I hope it happens someday.
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on 6 April 2016
It's an interesting read (when you ignore the typical type of humour you get in these types of books) and covers a good variety of games in a very informative way that just about justifies the low asking price.
For me it loses stars because it points out how limited the colour palette of the ZX Spectrum is then is filled with black and white screenshots and cover scans (paperback version).
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on 7 January 2016
For the price, this book was very enjoyable. As stated by other reviewers, its not heavy on content, but I still got a couple of fun nights of bedtime reading out of it....
Although it misses a lot of the old classics I remember, the chapters were still entertaining and written by someone who obviously knows a lot about the Spectrum days...I would recommend for the price.
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