Two systems dominated the early 8-bit microcomputer scene in the UK: the Spectrum and the BBC Micro. Known for its unparalled extensibility, the system of choice for the serious hobbyist was the more expensive BBC Micro, produced by Acorn. Acorn's machine, selected by the BBC for a national computer literacy project, became the de facto standard in schools.
The basic "Model B" (1981) was built around a 6502 processor with 32K of RAM; more than 1 million were sold. Early users often owned two, one for programming and one for games. Crucial for IF, the BBC featured a high-level BASIC, a fast processor, and an attractive text-only mode. More powerful models followed, and in time, the Acorn Archimedes, using the Inform authoring system (which Nelson developed) in the early 90s.
The BBC attracted the attention of many successful IF houses, including Level 9 and Topologika; the games of the latter, mostly originating from the Phoenix system at the University of Cambridge, were published by Acorn itself.
The BBC was a commercial success and enjoyed a large scene in Europe, though its software library never approached the size of that of the less technically advanced Spectrum. There are many web sites that archive emulators and much of the software available for this machine. A good place to start is The BBC Lives!.
- BBC Micro at Wikipedia.