ZX Spectrum Classics

50 games to fall in love to.

If you were already into videogames in the early '80s, there were were almost too many good reasons to buy a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. For a start it was, for a long time, less than half the price of a Commodore 64 and BBC Micro, and had an absolutely corking line-up of games almost from day one.

Even better, it was the machine most of your mates at school seemed to go for as well, and entire friendships were built on a united love for all things Speccy. In my ongoing determination not to sounds like a blithering old war veteran talking about the 'spirit of the blitz', I'll resist talking about the old days. How we all sat around reading each other's copies of Crash, Sinclair User and Your Sinclair, and passed around C90 tapes around the playground like a bunch of thieving pirate scum. Because that would be too obvious, and people hate it when you trap on about the past - especially if you try and glorify it too much.

The thing is - and I loved the Spectrum for years - it was almost the things that were wrong with it that made it all the more endearing. The crappy rubber keyboard. The terrible beeping sound. The lack of a built-in joystick port. And the nightmare of hideous colour clash. Arrrgh! How were we Spectrum owners supposed to defend our purchases to the richer kids with their C64s?

Because, pure and simple, for at least three, maybe four years in the 1980s, the Spectrum had by far the better games. Manic Miner, Atic Atac, Skool Daze, Chuckie Egg, the list went on and on. And those were the more memorable classics. In a matter of a few years there were literally thousands of games to choose from (games you inevitably built up vast collections of pointlessly on dozens of tapes). It was the gaming equivalent of 'gotta catch 'em all' for obsessive-compulsive types like me.

Inevitably, the limitations caught up with the Spectrum and more powerful machines began to grind it into the dust, and the more talented developers moved on. But while it lasted, the Spectrum really was home to some of the best games of the 1980s - and now here's our attempt at sharing our shameless love affair with you for your reading pleasure. As with the C64 selections elsewhere on the site, the criteria are clear: no arcade ports, and no ports of games that originated on other systems.

What you have here is undiluted Spectrum gaming goodness. Enjoy...

Watch the video of the top 50 Spectrum games in action over on Eurogamer TV now.

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About the author

Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed


Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.


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