ScuzzBlog: Diaries January 2024

Entry 15th January 2024: Post 1: Early eighties - Twas all a 'bit BASIC.

Early eighties - Twas all a 'bit BASIC.

Just watched a pretty dreary video on the comparison of the Tandy
TRS-80 Color 1 and the Dragon 32 insomuch that many view the Dragon
as a clone of the TRS. We are talking 1980-1982. I recall with
fond memories the day the Dragon appeared in my local newsagents.
W H Smith in a very short time had transformed their first floor
to a computer department. Pride of place had been the Sinclair
Spectrum, but on this day there was a new kid on the block. The
Dragon 32. And for a change it looked like a proper computer.

You have to appreciate that I come from an era that just moments
before the first home micro computers, the most advanced electronic
gizmo I had was a Commodore calculator. It wasn't that long in
the past that I had worked in an office where on my floor there
were just two phones and one desk top calculator. Seriously.

Machines like the ZX81, VIC 20 and Spectrum transformed our world
to line commands in BASIC and that is all we knew. Well other
than the old press play on the tape for the game. History now has
the benefit of all the many years of computer advancement and so
appreciating a world where literally all you had to work with was
a flashing cursor, a bog standard tape recorder and the home TV,
is a little taxing to get a handle on.

So does it matter that some view the Dragon and TRS-80 Color 1 as
marginally the same. Seriously... in the great scheme of things
today they were all the bloody same. History will remember the
birth of home computing as BASIC and games on cassette. It really
is just a case of which home computer had the best range of games.

I did enjoy the early eighties cus it was all new and exciting.
Even ' The Co-op ' in Walsall opened a computer section. I was
there when the mayor cut the ribbon and opened the doors. It was
most impressive to have something truly new to get your head
round. The aspirations and ambitions of computer users exceeded
by a hundred fold the actual capabilities of the kit.

Few today would buy an iphone or tablet that just had a flashing
cursor that required manual line commands to make it do the most
moronic of tasks. I can recall sitting with a friend night after
night plugging in pages of BASIC code just to see a small dot
fly across a screen and then explode... 'AWESOME '. It really was
cus there wasn't anything quite like this.

I truly believe in time all early computers will blur into one.
They will be seen as literally basically doing the very same
thing. None of it has any chance of holding the attention of
today's mobile savvy elite. One look at that cursor and the inch
thick manual of BASIC commands will be enough to consign the
8 bit archaic 'whatever' to the bottom drawer. Games is what keeps
retro interesting and in truth those can all be played on an

The early eighties was a BASIC fest and a tricky one at that with
the problems recording to tape gave. It was the beginning of all
that we now know and the first baby steps, whilst fun at the time,
are hardly repeatable, on purpose. Unless you're a retro enthusiast
with a masochistic bent. And so I find it amusing when some pick
through the machines of the period as though they were able to
weave some rich tapestries of digital works of art. What you
rarely see in any of these videos is the actual execution of
the BASIC. 'Tubers' tend to focus on recapping power supplies and
retrobriting cases. After all who is going to find a few lines
of BASIC interesting..... 'Hello World' and RUN.

Trust me when I say that BASIC is BASIC is BASIC and it is truly
time consuming and particularly annoying, especially when your
computer crashes or fails to record the program. It was fun at
the time but I always sensed I was on a journey to the next best
thing, and once we had a GUI and floppy disks and proper monitors
who on earth was ever going back the old ways. I seriously never
picked up the Spectrum after I moved on from BASIC.

If you doubt my words just grab an old copy of Home Computing
Weekly and endure the pages of DATA lines that fingers crossed
you wont make a mistake, or worse, discover there was a printing
error in the magazine. BASIC was fun for a 'bit but not something
you wanna seriously ever have to go back to as the only way to

Going now. I got caught up today playing Hitman as it was a touch
cold. As you do.

Early eighties - Twas all a 'bit BASIC.

Previously on scuzzblog: TRS-80 Color Computer 1

Previously on scuzzblog: Dragon 32 - My burning desire

Previously on scuzzblog: Sinclair - The first affordable home computer.

Previously on scuzzblog: Home Computing Weekly


Previously on scuzzblog: Amstrad CPC464 - Back to BASICs

Previously on scuzzblog: Atari 400/800 - Happy Families.

Previously on scuzzblog: Command more from C64 BASIC - Simons', Supa and Super BASIC.

scuzz site

If you can only see this CONTENT window
then click the image above for the full site

Last updated 15th January 2024

Chandraise Kingdom

Keep the Faith
scuzzscink 2024