My gaming history - From the ZX81 and beyond


From the ZX81 and beyond Where to start? Here would probably be the best place. With the ZX81.

Article By : Nicholas Zaghi, aka: @Loungelizardsss (Proof read by @gt3_girl) 

Sinclair ZX81 1

My Dad had a ZX81 back in the day, he was always tapping lines of code and getting me to test the games, I have vague memories of ascii-type games and having to move numbers or letters around the screen instead of real graphics, however, I am incapable of naming a game.


The first evolution

Zxspectrum48k 1

Things got more interesting when he got a ZX Spectrum 48k. I played that thing to death, Commando, Rambo, Manic Miner, Jet-Set Willy, Death Chase, all the greats, plus the not so greats!

We had all sorts of gadgets and my old chap was handy with a soldering iron too, so he used to tinker and make joystick add-ons and soft reset buttons to enhance the machine.

Manic Miner Screenshot

Another thing we had was the Micro-Drive as piracy was as rife as it is today even in the 80s, so we had thousands of games. Sadly he sold it all to a friend in the 90s (sobs).

It didn't stop there.

Commodore 64 Computer 1

Alongside the 48K, Dad managed to pick up a Commodore 64. This machine is amazing even today, from its retro looks, to its sound chip, I love the C64.

This is probably one of my most-played machines next to the PSX. The list of awesome games is very long so it would be a waste of your reading time to list them all. I can say that among my top games are Bubble Bobble, Wizball, Renegade and Cliff Hanger.

Luckily my Dad kept hold of this gem as I got it back in 2015 along with disk drives and pretty much every game that exists, I'll be setting it up soon to test out all my old games (this will be tweeted).


Atari 1040Stf 1

For some reason, unbeknown to myself, my Dad made the choice of getting an Atari ST instead of sticking with Commodore and getting an Amiga, I think he wanted it for its music capabilities, him being a bass guitarist and all, but I was interested in the games.

Even though it is largely considered the lesser machine of the two, I still have a lot of love for the ST with it's bumble bee curser and green desktop. Point and clicks were rife on this machine, with Flashback coming to the forefront, Monkey Island, Future Wars and all the others. I also loved the classics, International Karate, Speed Ball 1&2, Xenon II, Metal Masters and Hunter (a free roaming game comparable to GTA today), to name but a few.

Twists and turns.

As life takes it's twists and turns, my folks separated when I was 13, and that was the end of gaming stuff at my house. I played the Atari until I was about 15 or 16 when I visited him, then he got a PC, sadly the Atari went to the dump as no one had the room to keep it.

My first games console (albeit a handheld)

Game Boy FL 1

Sometime in the midst of all that sadness, my Dad bought me a Gameboy with Tetris and Super Mario Land, I was over the moon, Super Mario got owned, Tetris is still an amazing game, I remember playing it 2 player with a cable at technical college, no wifi back then.

 Skate Or Die Bad N Rad 1991 Konami

I later got Burai Fighter Delux which is brilliant and Bad n Rad Skate or Die, a great little platformer. Battery life was better than it is today on a handheld, I racked up 7 hours nonstop playing an RPG but I can't for the life of me remember what it was, which is rather frustrating as I'd like to play it again.

I eventually sold the GB to my older sister to get cash in the 90s and it subsequently died from a fatal fall as she let her son play with it on his high chair. NOOOOOoooooOoOOOooOOOoo.

The lost years of consoles I never owned.

Sega Master System Set 1


Parallel to the Gameboy there were so many consoles I would have loved. I have played on them all at some point but the first one I played at a mates house was the Master System, all I can remember is Alex Kid.

NES Console Set 1

Then there was the NES, I managed to borrow one and played it all night for about a week, can't remember any of the games though apart from Wonderboy maybe.

Mega Drive and onwards was a better gaming era for me, loads of my mates had them, so, many a Mortal Kombat, Road Rash, Micro Machines and the unfortunate football playoff nights were to be had. I'm not a football fan, but the Fifa series was solid.

The SNES is another amazing console, Killer Instinct, was one of my favorites, I played a bit in the arcade too but never had enough money to get good. Where I lived we could hire out consoles from a game shop, that was a cool service.

3DO FZ1 Console Set 1

We were all on the dole at the time and used to hire out Jaguars, 3DOs and Sega Saturns to play things like Need for Speed (3DO), Worms (can't remember the console) and Virtual Fighter (Saturn), for the evening right through until 9 o-clock the following morning, I remember mooching back to my flat and seeing Mums taking their kids to school.

Back in the Game.

PSX Console Wcontroller 1

I can't believe I got a loan to buy the badass Playstation 1(PSX), this changed everything for me, my first actual console(non-handheld). I used to take it to mates houses and play all night.

Back to back TVs with a link cable to play 2 player Doom was fun too. My first game was Fade to Black, hard to control, like a lot of the games back then but a great story line.

GTA London 1969

GTA 1&2, Tekken and Tony Hawks were amongst the best, Suikoden forced me go to bed when my GF was getting up for work, that went on for about a week until I finished the game and Final Fantasy 7 had me shouting "MATERIA!!!" in my sleep.

Then there was Enemy Unknown and Terror from the Deep, those games have an addiction factor of around ten bazillion. I could go on for hours about all the great games for this beast, but I won't, suffices to say that Sony made all the right moves, from design and build quality, to the hardware and games released.

More twists and Turns

After more life events, I found myself in France, and my other half bought me a PS2 for my birthday. I got well into the FPS genre, more so than before. Medal of Honor online with the add-on modem was great fun to play with my English mates and Ghost Recon was another good one.

PS2 Versions 1

Tony Hawks, Tekken and GTA just got better and better but I strayed from the RPG's as I had no time. SSX games were and still are excellent to this day not to mention the Soul Reaver series that started out as Blood Omen on the PSX, classic! One of the precursors for the Xbox movement thing today (in my opinion) stems from the Eyetoy Play series on the PS2, there was also a combat game for it Kinetic Combat, I remember covering my furniture in white sheets to get a decent sensor reactivity for those games!

After the PS2, I had a GameCube, with very few games, I also managed to get a little collection going, consisting of my original PSX, the PS2, the GameCube, a SNES, Mastersystem and Gameboy Color. Life changed again, and I had to sell all but the original PSX. I regret losing the SNES most as it was boxed and in pretty good shape. Today I have started a modest collection including, you guessed it, my original PSX, a PS2, Wii, MasterSystem, NES, NDSlite, Gameboy SP, Gameboy DMG(with the games I had as a kid) and a PSP (Phat).

More recently I added a JXD and my Mame cabinet, Feeling that I missed out on a great deal of real arcade action due to lack of money and my tender age at the time, I only really got to play Bubble Bobble and Double Dragon in the arcades as an early teenager, So I decided to build one, that will be my next article.

Anyway, I have the same kind of gaming background as most of you lot, that's what I love about Twitter, so many likeminded people with different stories around a common interest The Retro Gaming community is great for discovering new titles, rediscovering forgotten gems and sharing memories of our gaming pasts.

Thanks to all the YouTubers for the awesome videos linked in this article, hopefully the readers will subscribe. ;)

If you follow me already, then thanks, you rock, if not then feel free to join me on Twitter @Loungelizardsss and spread the retroness.

comments powered by Disqus
Scroll Top