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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