- Note: This article is about the microcomputer. For other uses, see Spectrum (disambiguation).
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was the most popular 8-bit microcomputer in Europe during the 80s. Released in 1982, the Spectrum was remarkable for its low cost, though this was reflected in limited sound and graphics capabilities and a much-criticised "dead flesh" rubber keyboard. Spectrum programs were stored on conventional audio tapes, taking around 2 to 3 minutes to load; disk and cartridge systems later became available but saw limited uptake among home users.
Besides all its limitations, the Spectrum was a commercial success and enjoyed a large scene in Europe. The basic Spectrum model was followed by the Spectrum+, which featured a better keyboard, the Spectrum 128, with 128KB of memory, the Spectrum +2, with an integrated tape unit and in 1988, the Spectrum +3, that featured a 3" disk unit. The SAM Coupé was largely backward-compatible with the Spectrum and could run much of its software.
Among the significant publishers of interactive fiction on the Spectrum were:
- 16/48, a tape magazine.
- 8th Day Software.
- Adventure International.
- Adventure Probe.
- Artic Computing.
- Delbert the Hamster Software.
- Delta 4.
- FSF Adventures.
- Gilsoft International.
- Incentive Software.
- Level 9.
- Melbourne House (best known for 1982's The Hobbit, a revolutionary program at the time).
- Zenobi Software (who continued to release adventures by mail order for some time after the commercial death of the Spectrum).