I'm Thomas. I had been doing some simple games programming as a 15 year old on friends' ZX81s and Acorn Atoms (both 1k), and was hoping to get my own computer -maybe a VIC20. Then at a computer show in April 1982 , at a crowded Sinclair stand, Clive announced the ZX Spectrum. As the flashbulbs popped and reporters asked questions about it, a spotty 15 year old shouted "What's the keyboard like ?" Clive stretches over the tables around the stand, I stretch through the crowd, to prod those rubbery keys. Late that night I persuaded my dad to loan me a massive £175 and I phoned in an order on the Sinclair hotline.
I don't remember how long it took to arrive, 6 or 8 weeks maybe, but I still got it before many of the major software houses had one. I remember being at a show in August asking ... maybe it was Quicksilver... if they would bring out Centipede because I was struggling to write my own version in basic, but they just wanted to buy my precious Spectrum from me - no way !
I got the PSS compiler by hacking it out of Light Cycles, and liked writing noisy games with nested for next loops and out commands. Sent some in for a PSS Compiler competition including a nice lunar lander (with a sprite routine written in assembly with the Spectrum manual and poke commands) and a crappy but extremely noisy game called Mazeball, that got picked up by PSS related company Wildest Dreams. You can still find Mazeball in the archives but sadly my lunar lander is lost to time. Earlier this year I tracked down my first cassette copy of Mazeball
I'd also written a short compress / decompress routine in assembly, and when I went to buy a Multiface from Romantic Robot in Kilburn, I asked if they compressed data before they dumped it all to tape. Apparently they hadn't thought of that. I offered my code for a free Multiface. They had about 130 bytes spare when my code was about 200, and I spent a couple of weeks reducing the code when I should have been doing homework, and got my free Multiface worth £40. Which went on to sell countless numbers on Spectrum then Amstrad, but I had geek cred.
So now I'm trying to push the grey cells, try to recreate that sprite code, and squeeze out an excessively noisy puzzle game - I was so taken with Sega Columns in 1990 I went home and wrote one on my Sam Coupe. Then maybe back to lunar lander.
Definition of loop : see loop