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RIP Richard - Your Sinclair Collection Is In Safe Hands
Sinclair QL, ZX Spectrum+, ZX Spectrum+2, and ZX81 machines. These and more found themselves in my possession recently after a friend of a friend sadly passed away. If I didn’t take them, they were destined for the tip, so I feel it’s my duty to make sure they’re looked after properly. But first, lets have a look through the boxes and see what we have here.
Hey everyone, Rees here, and as you’ve probably spotted from the thumbnail and also on the desk behind me I have a bit of a collection of Sinclair stuff here which I want to take a look at in this video.
Now, just before we do that I just wanted to tell the story of how this came to be in my possession.
So I have two very good friends, Sam and Rachel - and by the way this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of them on the channel - and Rachel’s dad Denis is a fan of the channel and a regular viewer (shout out to Dennis).
He’s a bit of a kindred spirit of mine, he’s a bit of a shed dweller, a bit of an engineer and a tinkerer and he volunteers over at Abbey Pumping Station in our home city of Leicester, which believe it or not is a big old Victorian sewage pumping station.
It’s best known for its four big beam engines - which are steam-powered pumps - really complicated and massive pieces of engineering that are well over 100 years old and all still running thanks to that team of volunteers, and one of his fellow volunteers was a chap called Richard.
By all accounts a fellow tinkerer, shed dweller and engineer - and a man of very many hobbies - and sadly a couple of weeks ago after a short illness Richard passed away and it’s Fallen to his sister to help sort out all of his worldly belongings.
Denis popped over there the other day to see if he could help out with the cleanup effort and spotted a pile of Sinclair computers just in a corner, and he got talking to her and said “do you realise there are people out there who are interested in this kind of stuff - who collect this kind of stuff?”
and she had no idea, she just thought it was all junk and he said “you know I can give it a good home” - and that’s how it ended up in my possession via Sam who very kindly brought it all over for me.
So I want to do this stuff justice, obviously because of the story behind it, but I’m not really knowledgeable about Sinclair computers and about the Spectrum and about that kind of thing. So if you are and you’re watching this please do let me know down in the comments what I could do with all of this stuff.
Longer term I think I’d like to get it fixed up and give it a good home - either donate it to a museum or sell it all and donate the proceeds either to his family or to the pumping station or to another relevant charity, I haven’t quite decided yet.
But first things first I think we should go through the boxes and see what it is I have here.
I’m not going to power anything up today because I want to test all of the power supplies before I do that, and I don’t want to blow anything up.
So I just want to say thank you very much to Richard’s family and it’s very kind of you to donate this stuff, and I will do the best I can to make sure that it’s all dealt with appropriately.
So I think we’ll start with the tapes - with the software side of things - and the first thing that’s caught my eye is this collection of magazine cover tapes here. So these are from “Your Sinclair” and “Crash” magazine, which obviously were two big Spectrum magazines back in the day, and as you can see - well maybe - hopefully - these are all from 1991 and 1992.
I guess maybe the magazines are still around somewhere? I don’t have those but I do have the tapes.
We’ve got some cool demos on here - we’ve got obviously the Viz game… Yeah, I think that’s the “How To Be A Complete Bastard” game. That’s one I’ve heard of, not one I’ve played unfortunately.
Ah, H.A.T.E. I’ve heard of, I think that came out on quite a few different platforms.
So some quite interesting stuff there to play with. I don’t have an external tape deck - I’m sure there probably was one at one point but that didn’t didn’t arrive with this little collection here, but as you’ll see soon that’s not necessarily a big problem.
So yeah, magazine cover tapes.
…and the next thing we have is this Ocean “We Are the Champions” pack. This has Super Sprint, Renegade, Rampage, Barbarian, and International Karate - or IK+ I believe that is - yet again they’re all games that I’ve heard of. Some really cool games there!
The screenshots on the back of the box I guess aren’t from the Spectrum versions, which is always quite amusing - they were always from the ST or the Amiga version.
But still, cool to see.
That’s got the original manual in there and the two tapes as well so that’s really cool.
I’ve got a copy of Zoids for 48k Spectrum - not a game that I’ve heard of. “Zoidstar is gripped by war, blue Zoid fights red Zoid in a merciless battle for Supremacy!”
[MacOS notification noise]
Oh, I guess I need to turn those notifications off!
So, sounds like a lot of fun!
Tasword Two, perhaps not so much fun. I think that’s quite a well-known word processor on the Spectrum isn’t it - again with the manual and the cassette there in the original box, copyright 1983.
We have Puzznic which is another Ocean game - looks like a puzzle game.
“The puzzle game to top all puzzle games” if the box is to be believed. “Taito’s latest coin-op hit, Puzznic”.
That’ll be a fun one to check out, I suppose we can look in the box. That’s in the original Ocean bag there that’s really cool. Again, the cassette and the manual in there all complete.
Now this one looks really interesting this is night shift and this is actually Industrial-
Oh I see!
Night Shift - Industrial Might and Logic.
Yeah, I see that’s a clever wordplay on Industrial Light and Magic isn’t it.
It’s a Lucasfilm game, and yeah…
“quick worker needed for night shift”
…and you can design your own characters - your own action figures from “Star Wars and Indiana Jones and your favourite Lucasfilm games”
I’m not sure if Guybrush Threepwood will be in there from Monkey Island or if this kind of predates that. I’m sure it probably predates Monkey Island.
You get to run a factory churning out action figures I think. Not a game I’ve heard of but it looks really cool actually, it looks like a lot of fun. Yet again cassettes, manuals and quick start guide. Oh these are “foreman’s notes” for the factory.
Cool stuff! It was always cool when these old games came with all these extra bits and bobs in the box, something that we don’t get nowadays with everything being downloadable and whatnot.
And this nice Sinclairsoft branded box with some Sinclair branded tapes in it.
So there’s “Disco Dan” by GEM software. I’m not quite sure why he would need a gun - in fact that looks like a desoldering gun - so maybe there’s some audio equipment at the disco that needs some emergency repairs. Maybe that’s what that game’s about.
“Crazy Golf” - not really sure what to say about that.
“Alien Destroyer” by Kuma Computers.
“Treasure Island” - I’m not sure if these - I guess these are quite basic with the just the card with the instructions.
Copyright 1982 Amstrad.
Of course, after the old Sinclair/Amstrad merger thing, that’s something else that I’m quite keen to learn all about. It’d be nice to discover Sinclair’s kind of history and stuff through these machines - I think I’ll make a series of videos where I just cover each one and get it up and running and explore the history of it.
But for now we’ll just take a look through these boxes and see what we have here.
So the first one I want to look at I think after the games is this one…
…apologies for horrible polystyrene noises…
…and I want to kind of go roughly in chronological order I think, based on my understanding of when these were released but I’ll probably get it wrong.
This is a ZX81 - so it comes with the ZX81 BASIC manual, that’s cool to see. Original power supply and the cables - you’ve got the RF cable to connect it to a TV - and we’ve got the-
We’ve got the audio cables to connect it to a tape deck.
It’s a really cool little machine this, obviously of course there was the ZX80 which was the white one, and then the ZX81 came after that, and I think they were both black and white output only - monochrome output - and it was the ZX spectrum that was the first kind of full colour machine that they did. Please do correct me if I’m wrong.
This has a really horrible membrane keyboard that has no tactile feedback whatsoever, but of course the appeal of these machines back in their day was that they were very very low cost, and they helped enable a lot of people who otherwise couldn’t get into computing to have a computer at home. So that was Sinclair’s contribution and a very noble one as well indeed - or I seem to think so anyway.
So that’s that, I’ll just put that to one side. I’ll put that back together in a moment and we’ll just check out the other ZX81 that I have here. This one’s got the outer sleeve on the box which is cool, it’s very nice to see.
Does that have a date on it anywhere? I’m not quite sure, what’s the year?
I really love this diagram on the back that shows how to connect it all up, that’s really cool.
Just how to - all of the cables and where they all go.
…and again this all looks very familiar!
I’ve got the manual as well.
This one looks like it might be in slightly nicer cosmetic condition, the other one had a bit of a scratch on the top but that’s really nice. The keyboard feels just as bad. But yeah, this one’s got the original feet on it as well, I think they’re missing from the other one. That’s really cool to see.
A really nice little machine, that, and one that I’ll have a lot of fun playing with.
I think it was- was it 3D Monster Maze which was kind of the big, like a first person dungeon crawler type game that was on the ZX81. I’ve seen that one running. So that’d be quite cool to check out.
I’ll just very carefully put this back together…
Nice little ZX81s - very cool machines, those.
This is where my timeline gets a bit confused I think, because I don’t have a Spectrum here but I do have a ZX Spectrum+
Let’s have a look at this one, and this was the one with the nice keyboard and stuff wasn’t it? It’s a really nice box and it’s in really good condition.
Sinclair Research Limited, 25 Willis Road, Cambridge, England.
Nice to have some good old British machines on the channel after all of this Atari stuff that I usually cover, hey?
Really nice condition box.
I’m gonna turn this over.
Sinclair ZX Spectrum+ embossed into the top of the box there, moulded in, and there it is - there’s the machine itself.
So it doesn’t look like there’s a manual with this one - it’s got the original power supply, always worth testing these things properly before plugging them in.
and that is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum+
I always liked the look of these machines and it’s got a nice heft to it, a nice weight. Unlike the original ZX81 and the ZX Spectrum.
That is a really nice keyboard for what was essentially a budget machine - maybe not quite on par with the the BBC Micro and Master - oh, and the Oric Atmos - my absolute favourite keyboards from back in those days.
But definitely a huge improvement on the rubber keys of the original Spectrum.
Yeah, really lovely little machine that, that’s really cool.
So, another ZX Spectrum+…
That’s got his address on the top there so I won’t show you that, but there is a label that says “Spectrum+ not working” so I presume this one’s not working - or it wasn’t when it went into storage and I’m sure it’s probably not miraculously repaired itself.
Again, really nice condition, I won’t take it out of the bag, but that looks immaculate. So if nothing else hopefully maybe I can build a working one out of the two.
But I think common failures on these are the voltage regulator and the RAM of course as with a lot of these 80s machines, so they’ll be the first things to investigate.
So let’s investigate this box of iceberg lettuce - and I hope it isn’t iceberg lettuce because it’s not going to be in very nice condition after all these years!
But yeah, as you can see it says “Spectrum+2 working” on there so that was working when it went into storage.
A really nice 128K ZX Spectrum+2, a nice shade of grey, and a reasonably good keyboard on that and it’s got the tape deck built in as well unlike the other machines.
So that’ll be a fun one to get up and running.
Funnily enough I actually bought one of these years and years ago and I hung onto it for about 10 years. Never did anything with it and sold it on eBay last year - and now there is a ZX Spectrum+2 in my life once more so it must be fate. I guess I’m destined to own one!
So finally the QL - and this is a machine that I’ve heard of. I think it was Sinclair’s attempt at a more serious upmarket business machine if I’m right - I may not be - but it’s in the original box. As you can see the box is in really lovely condition - the back’s the same as the front, I’ll just show you that.
So let’s get this out.
Again, made in the UK - Sinclair Research Limited still at 25 Willis Road Cambridge.
So let’s extract this…
…so the big reveal…
Oof! What a beauty!
Look at that.
Look at that!
Now that is… long.
Nice keyboard again, a really nice keyboard.
I know very, very little about these. But the one thing that I do know is that they came with these microdrives instead of cassettes or floppies like other Machines of the time.
So these are the two microdrive slots, and I did a little bit of research on this last night and this is a continuous magnetic tape inside here, a very tiny one.
So these pull out and you can see the tape inside there just like a cassette tape, and it’s on a continuous loop - from what I saw I’m sure it said they were five metres long. I’m not quite sure how they would cram five metres worth of tape into that tiny cartridge, but there you go.
The idea is that it just plugs into - whichever way around it goes - I won’t shove it all the way in because I don’t know if it’ll come back out. But yeah, it’s got the two drives there with your two micro drives. Really cool little innovative storage system there.
Apparently also the tapes would stretch over time and they were quite unreliable because of that. But kind of the defining feature of the QL, and as I say designed as a more upmarket business machine than its smaller Spectrum and ZX80 and ZX81 cousins, so to speak.
So we’ve got the power supply in there - no other cables I don’t think - and this rather hefty binder, which is one of the most impressive manuals I’ve ever seen. Look at this!
We’ve got the full index in there, we’ve got various sections: Introduction, Beginner’s Guide, and we’ve got the keywords - the BASIC keywords. Yeah, “Keyword Reference List”.
That lists all SuperBASIC keywords in alphabetical order. Sinclair SuperBASIC. So yeah, it’s all in here. That’s quite amazing.
Just the condition of all of this stuff - it’s just really, really nice.
Obviously it was very well looked after.
So with that I think I will go back to myself in the studio - and interesting stuff!
So there we have it - a good selection of boxed British Sinclair machines from the 1980s.
As I said at the beginning of the video, if you have any thoughts or ideas on what I could do with this stuff please do let me know down in the comments.
Thank you very much for watching, big thanks as always to my patrons and channel members whose names you can see on screen as I speak, and I’ll hopefully see you again soon.
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