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The Unfictional Story of a Great Hobby

Leningrad-1, ZX Spectrum clone

There are all kinds of hobbies. Some keep us occupied for a year, some for a little longer. There are those that you get carried away with as a child, then grow up and forget, remembering those very times with a smile.
And there are those that, once hooked, do not let go, and no matter how old you are, you continue to touch the subject, read, communicate with like-minded people, and it is impossible, and it is not clear how to end it all (and whether it should end at all).
For me, as well as for many Soviet kids, such a hobby was the ZX Spectrum. Once I got to know this simple but charming machine, I continue to passionately dream and realise my childhood (or even not-so-childhood) dreams.
There's probably no point in telling you what this retro computer is all about. Except very briefly.
ZX Spectrum 48k (original model)

This computer was created back in the early 1980s in the UK by Sir Clive Sinclair, but did not come to Russia and the former USSR until the early 1990s. Due to the relative simplicity of the circuitry, it was replicated on domestic components, and these numerous ZX Spectrum clones spread throughout the former USSR.
Why has Spectrum turned out to be so popular? Despite its simplicity and cheapness, it had colour graphics with a 16 colour palette (which was quite a lot for those days), well-organised video memory which allowed its small size and a rather slow 3.5 MHz processor to produce colourful and dynamic images. A monitor was not necessary - you could hook it up to a normal TV set and a normal MK-60 cassette was perfect.
And, of course, it had to be noted by numerous game developers, who immediately after the ZX Spectrum release started making hundreds and thousands of games a year, so that by the moment of platform's official death there were over 20 thousand unique titles, not counting different versions and modifications!
To have your own Spectrum at home in our school days was considered a privilege and schoolmates would not miss a chance to come and play one of the dozens of games that had been carefully collected on cassettes and later, with the advent of the floppy disc drive and TR-DOS system, on floppies.
A collection of ZX Spectrum games on cassette tape

And if officially the production and development of ZX Spectrum abroad ended in the early 1990s, in Russia (as well as in Ukraine, Belarus and other former Soviet republics) the life of Spectrum was just beginning.
Having played enough games, yesterday's schoolchildren began to try their hand at creative work - drawing pixel graphics, creating games, making demos and writing music. And this impulse created a whole big movement, which is still alive today and not only in Russia, but also abroad.
You're probably surprised. If you had a Spectrum as a child and grew up and now vaguely remember this happy time, and your Spectrum is lost, sold or just thrown away, you would be very interested to know that ZX Spectrum is alive today.
Clive Sinclair is dead, and a lot of people who were at the origin of the movement (let's call it "Spectrumism") are already retired. But most of them are still active, support the platform, write new masterpieces (yes, yes, we grew up and now we can make not those ridiculous hand-me-downs but real professional products) and continue to love Spectrum. Or as we call it Speccy.
Become my subscriber and I'll tell you many more interesting things. For example how you can feel nostalgic and remember the games you used to play with your school mates, how you can play them even if you don't have ZX Spectrum itself, which games are coming out on Spectrum every year. I'll also tell you about the new, modern Spectrum, with improved graphics, 9-channel sound, built-in Internet and other new features.
Maybe you want to participate in game development for ZX Spectrum and sell them worldwide - yes, it is possible, even now, in 2023! Don't forget to subscribe and wait for new articles :) I won't say goodbye.

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