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    element14's The Ben Heck Show

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    Congratulations to Workshopshed and paulpsomiadis!


    You have been selected as winners of Ben's ZX Spectrum Portable!





    We're giving away two Portable ZX Spectrum builds from the Ben Heck Show.  Tell us what the ZX Spectrum means to you in the comments below for a chance to win.


    The ZX Spectrum, an 8-bit personal computer from Sinclair Research Ltd., is a beloved retro computer from the 80s. While it didn't gain a lot of traction outside of the UK, especially in places where it was undercut by the Commodore 64, it did more to define British gaming culture than any dedicated gaming console. Much like the color used in Apple's old logo, the word Spectrum highlights the machine's color display.


    Since launch, over 24,000 software titles have been released for the ZX. Not including clones, it sold in excess of 5 million units worldwide.




    {gallery} ZX Spectrum Slideshow





    In 1983, the video game bubble formed during the golden age of gaming burst as the market became flooded with too many consoles and poorly designed games. Atari, the most popular video game console before the crash, reported $537 million in losses for 1983. Atari had the dubious distinction of releasing the poster child for this era when it rushed to market the highly anticipated E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial game. It's widely regarded as one of the worst games ever and is frequently cited as a contributing factor to the video game crash of 1983. The game was so bad, all remaining unsold versions of it got buried in the New Mexico desert.


    Around the time dedicated gaming consoles became widely regarded as a passing fad, home computer gaming continued to thrive. Low cost machines like the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum proved to be popular alternatives to dedicated gaming consoles.  While it didn't have the same impact outside the UK, its influence on gaming in the UK is undeniable. In its day, a British game publisher would develop for the ZX Spectrum and begrudgingly port to other machines later.



    The low cost of the machine, a catalog including thousands of games, and cheap distribution of games thanks to cassette tapes factored into its continuous popularity in the UK. The ZX Spectrum was widely adopted as a gaming platform despite its lack of built-in joystick ports, primitive sound generation, and color support that was not optimized for text display.


    Ben Heck's ZX Spectrum Part 1
    Ben Heck's Portable ZX Spectrum Part 2



    Enjoy games on the ZX Spectrum? 


    Tell us what the ZX Spectrum means to you.


    If you were influenced by the ZX Spectrum let us know what makes the ZX Spectrum special.  Tell us about what games you enjoyed or what made the system stand out. Feel free to share images, an achievement such as a high score, or anything you can think of related to the ZX Spectrum.


    If you haven't had a chance to experience the ZX Spectrum then feel free talk about a rival system such as the Commodore 64 instead.




    Step 1:  Log in or register on element14, it's easy and free.

    Step 2: Post in the comments section below and share your experience with the ZX Spectrum. Videos, pictures and text are all welcomed forms of submission.

    Step 3:  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!  We will accept entries until 3:00pm CDT Aug 1st, 2016 and announce our winner August 5th 2016. If you need something to do between now and then make sure to check out what is happening This week on element14 Community, or watch more Ben at