Remembering the Amstrad CPC, a superior 8-bit computer

Commodore's C64 and Sinclair's ZX Spectrum were the most successful 8-bit computers in Europe, but Amstrad's CPC ran a close third. Ellie Gibson writes on how it—especially the magazine Amstrad Action—changed her life.

I adored its knowledgeable yet jocular tone. I loved the way the writers' passion for the machine shone from each page, reflecting my own. Best of all, I liked the free demo tape.

Reducing it beyond the point of reason: in the UK, the Commodore C64 came to attract a nerdier culture defined by deep interest in technology; the ZX Spectrum attracted a working-class culture of kids who wanted to fool around with computer games; and the Amstrad appealed to the middle-class. It was for people who wanted to use computers as tools without necessarily understanding the nuts and bolts, but who couldn't afford Macs.

In reality everything was much more complex and blurred (because 90% of everyone were just playing the same crudely-ported, cross-platform games), but one of the results of the Amstrad "culture" was the higher standard of cocky bullshit in its magazines.

A few years later, Commodore's Amiga blew away the 8-bits, then Windows PCs blew Commodore away, and then everything was smooth and homogenous for all computing eternity, Amen. [Thanks, Daneel!]

Previously: How Lord Sugar taught me to hack stuff

Notable Replies

  1. Heathen. Clearly the best was the BBC Micro!

  2. daneel says:

  3. Trash 80 all the way!
    Seriously, i mainly remember trying to program this thing with it's pixels the size of dimes.

  4. I still maintain that the 3" floppy was far superior to the 3.5" ones we ended up with.

    The number of times I had to get into a 3.5" drive with tweezers and pull out one of those metal "shields" that had bent out and got stuck in the drive...

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