The younger generation of gamer may have only passingly heard of Sir Clive Sinclair, but every game-lover is forever in his debt. His pioneering work was focused on the accessibility of computers to the masses and led to the birth of the ZX Spectrum; the weapon of choice for many gamers at the time and still an iconic piece of technology.
Our Senior Producer Jon was one of the millions who continued to be inspired by Sir Clive throughout his life, from his calculators, to mini-TVs and electric trikes.
To Sir Clive, from Jon
“Yesterday we got the news that Sir Clive Sinclair passed away after a long battle with cancer. Although I never met this titan of British creativity, it was a dark day for myself and the games industry. Clive Sinclair did not make games but he did make very affordable home computers – they were compact, elegant, innovative machines that allowed a whole generation to make and play games. It’s entirely reasonable to argue that the cheapness of the ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum home computers allowed so many game players to become game makers in the UK that they set the country up to be a global player in the video games industry to this day. As an industry we are in his debt.
On a personal level I am sure that getting a Spectrum for Christmas in 1984 changed the course of my life. I’d always liked video games, I was always drawn to their flashing screens wherever I went, but being fortunate enough to have my own computer allowed me to enjoy them at home, in a much rawer way than a console ever could. The fact that I got a Spectrum, rather than one of its competitors also directly led to a friendship that in turn lead to a whole new group of friends, ones who wrote their own programs, cobbled together graphics, got hold of modems and went online (that was rare in the 80s), even played Dungeons & Dragons, all building blocks that made me realise that I wanted to make games.
I’m not sure what I’d have done with my life if it hadn’t been for those friends that were smarter than me or the drive that making games has given me, but I know my life would have been a lot less interesting – I wouldn’t even have met my partner of forever if I didn’t work in the games industry. So thank you Sir Clive, you had a massive, and hugely positive impact on my life.”