back to article MEGAGRAPH: 1983's UK home computer chart toppers

How popular - relatively speaking - was your early 1980s home computer? Thanks to some old chart data, we can tell you. Back in the day - 1983, to be precise - VNU Business Publications’ launched Personal Computer News, a glossy magazine pitched against the weekly incumbent, Sunshine’s newsprint Popular Computing Weekly. A …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was 5 years old in 1983, yet I've owned and used 5 of those pieces of history.

    1. CASIOMS-8V

      I feel lucky to have been around at the dawn of home computing and watching how rapidly it has grown and changed our world.

      1. -tim

        How has it changed the world? I'm not sure that pretty graphs can be done any better today than they were done back then.

        1. Ragarath
          Facepalm

          @-tim

          I hope I am missing the sarcasm here.

          Computing does more than just charts, I really, really hope I am missing the sarcasm.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @-tim

            You are missing something: in essence the world has not changed: Still nasty little civil wars all over the place, still crime, still yoof thinking it knows it all and age thinking as it always thought. Still greedy financiers and corruption; still we all thinking how much more modern and clever we are.

            Well, some things change in degree: financial crises and comms. foul ups seem to happen faster and be deeper; a lot more species are extinct and a lot more of Europe, especially Britain, overbuilt. The "designer drugs" seem to be nastier and the educational level lower.

            So, just what do you think computers have really changed? Perhaps you entertain yourself a little more on your own, with just a computer game and a mobile 'phone to pretend you know people. Have they changed the local football or rugby or cricket game at the local, truly amateur level? They've made it a bit easier to tell someone you're late and on your way, or not, replaced a few stuntment. Perhaps online news sources are taking up some of the readership from newspapers. But then we said the same about television, radio, teletext. They've created a lot of mainly boring, semi-skilled jobs masquerading as highly technical, interesting work (just read some of the pseudo-technical babble on this website to see how low skilled most of the people are). I grant that in Health they have provided some excellent and powerful new tools. But as there are increasingly too many people and too few resources, this is a dubious benefit.

            Cars still kill in the hands of drunks. Aeroplanes still crash. People are born, eat, die much as before. Fundamentally, what has really, really changed, underneath all the puffery? If it has, is it for the better for the majority or has it condemned a lot of people to a new kind of drudgery and stress?

            It COULD do wonderful things. In a few fields it has. In most, it has rather taken the fun out of life and made it even easier to be unpleasantly, socially incompetent, creating more excuses for idleness and stupidity - "Well, it's in the computer...".

            Really, mankind (sorry, humandkind) has not changed, just the Western self perception.

            I write this as one who carries the latest mobile 'phone, works on computers, has one at home, takes a running watch to measure his speed, monitor his heartbeat ..., does some online shopping. But in the end, nothing has changed, apart from a bag full of electronic accessories and chargers dragging me down whenever I travel and a lot more furious frustration.

            1. Derk
              Coat

              Re Re: @-tim

              Couldn't agree more. Things have changed but not always for the better. I used to do PCB designs with a lightbox, scalpel and tapes/transfers. Took a few weeks to do a double sided board, my letters were written by typists and we all went home at 5pm. Now customers expect the same sort of board in 24-48 hours. More productive? perhaps, but now I'm the typist too. Computers promised so much more leisure time, and for some it has, as unemployed folk LOL. My lardy ass now sits in front of a screen for 8 hours, and I have to make time for exercise. Must be getting old, but I preferred the slower pace of life, civility and time to think.

              I'll get me coat and piss off to the past....

            2. CmdrX3
              Unhappy

              Re: @-tim

              Depressingly sad comment... and sadly also depressingly true.

              Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and play online poker with all my friends.... they really are my friends... honestly.... they care a lot about me and I about them....... what are the names of their wives and children..... I really never thought to ask.

            3. Unicornpiss Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: @-tim

              Well, did you expect humanity to change? The human brain (the first and still most powerful computer) is hardwired the same as it has always been. Some of us may have less flaky firmware and a better database than others, but human emotions and motivations are unchanged.

              Computers have, however improved life in myriad ways. You mentioned entertainment, but here are some things you totally missed:

              Up until about 1995, if you needed to research something, you'd be poring through out-of-date encyclopedias in a library, and maybe finding one or two sources for probably incomplete information. With the internet, there are a lot of sources, and certainly some inaccuracies, but the sum of knowledge has never been more accessible to all than now. What about locating your long lost family member/adopted brother/first girlfriend in 1970? Hire a private eye? Research the dusty stacks at the library?

              What about staying in touch with friends and family that live far away? An expensive long-distance phone call in 1935-1995, a heartfelt letter written and received infrequently prior to that.

              How about transportation? Cars prior to about 1985 used carburetors. Remember starting a cold car with a malfunctioning carburetor? If I'm behind a carbureted car, I can smell the difference--surely it's better that we're driving more fuel-efficient, less polluting vehicles, to say nothing of the added power and safety.

              Engineering? Being able to design, test, and rapid-prototype anything as opposed to the laborious design processes of yesteryear.

              Medicine? We've mapped the human genome. We understand how proteins interact. We've created 'smart drugs', we have CT and MRI scanners.

              I could go on, but hopefully I've made my point.

        2. Frank Bough
          Happy

          You did that on a computer? What kind of computer?

          What he needs is the power to succeed.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Funny...

      I had been programming for 5 years by then.

      I started with an Ohio Scientific C3A, and a PDP 1134 in school. RSTS not Vaxen in a public high school.

      In the fall of '83, I was working in a small computer store where I had access to Grid, Kaypro, Osbourne, and other desktop PCs that were great for running Visicalc. and Word Processing software. I would have been one of the first kids to hand in school reports typewritten on a dot matrix printer, except that I had a Daisywheel printer.

      Ah yes, those were the days when the 64 in a computer name meant 64K of Ram, not the size of the word. ;-)

      1. Irongut

        Re: Funny...

        "Ah yes, those were the days when the 64 in a computer name meant 64K of Ram, not the size of the word. ;-)"

        Except it didn't. It meant the size of the memory, including both RAM and ROM. So the 48K Spectrum had 41K of RAM and the Commodore 64 had 30 something. A fact Commodore owners never liked to hear.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Funny...

          Wrong. The Commodore 64 did have 64k of RAM. If you knew what you were doing you could access all of it somehow, but as many processor functions were mapped into RAM you had to be careful.

          What it did have though, was two 8k ROMs mapped into a couple of high segments of this memory, the memory in these was usable if you didn't want to use the functions available in the BASIC ROM or the SYSTEM ROM as you could switch either of both of these ROMs out and access the RAM "underneath". The 38911 (from memory, so probably wrong) bytes free message when the system initially starts is the amount of free, contiguous, bytes available to Commodore (Microsoft) Basic when storing programs and basic data. Due to where the ROM images were mapped in memory space and the default display memory mapping the largest available contiguous RAM block for Basic to use was much smaller than it could have been. The non-contiguous memory was still usable by Basic, just not directly. For example it was often used to store data, graphics or to store assembly / machine code.

          1. TkH11

            Re: Funny...

            The Commodore 64 used a 6502 processor, which along with many other processors of that era were 8 bit (Z80, 808x, 6502, 680x) and had a 64KB address space, so to have to 64KB of RAM meant some form of bank switching had to be employed. The ROM had to fit into the same 64KB space.

        2. Frank Bough

          Re: Funny...

          38911 BASIC Bytes free.

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      With a bit of luck this article and graph can be flung at some of the writers here at El Reg who seem intent to rewrite history with Apple being in any way relevant at this time. Sure, the IIe was a little more popular in the US but why attempt to use the US figures when talking about Global, European and in particular UK markets at the time?

      1. Frank Bough
        WTF?

        Oh come on, the Apple II still had a major presence at this time, and was massively influential on all of the machines in the chart. Macintosh is just around the corner, and would redefine the PC for the next 25 years

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A technical question

    What drugs did you take application did you use to make that graph?

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: A technical question

      Funny, but it looked more like a wired bread board for designing test kit from the '80's.

    2. Fibbles

      Re: A technical question

      I was about to post the same. I'd suggest the author should probably forget any aspirations he may have of a career in infographics.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Joke

      Whatever program it was, it didn't run on a Spectrum.

      There's no attribute clash.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Whatever program it was, it didn't run on a Spectrum.

        ... and if it was on a BBC micro, half the lines would be flashing!

    4. Ramazan
      Holmes

      Re: What application did you use to make that graph?

      Obviously, it's Apple Pages (by default it makes this type of chart with annoying "o" data points). I needed to make chart yesterday, and spent 2 minutes finding how to turn these data "points" off.

      1. Ramazan

        Apple Pages

        And BTW I didn't find how to change colours (or use non-solid lines etc) there. I must admit it's 2nd time in my life that I use Apple Pages, but apart from non-cluttered UI (die, MS Word!), it's $20 wasted IMO.

    5. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: A technical question

      Not that I'd say that Gnuplot is the right tool for the job, but it does choose different colours and point styles by default.

      Other than that, I'm not sure how that data would be displayed properly. I would have gone for stacked graphs each one representing the sales number. You wouldn't have gotten the "ranking", but you would have gotten the relative amounts. Seriously few people care if the one being sold 132 or 134 times is the highest ranking one, they both sold pretty well.

    6. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: A technical question

      This has got to be the worst graph I have seen for a while, will add to my collection of 'how not to present information'. The raw table with the sales figures would have been vastly better, and whenever raw data is easier to interpret than a given visualization, the visualization is a total waste of time.

      "Crunched the figures" -- yes, virtually to oblivion. Publish the figures, and a dozen commentards will provide you with better graphs.

  3. Dr_N Silver badge
    WTF?

    Worst. Graph. Ever.

    Colour palette broken?

    1. Conrad Longmore
      FAIL

      Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

      Most of those lines look the same colour to me. It could do with being a bit more interactive to help us poor sods that are colour blind!

      1. Scarborough Dave

        Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

        Not being colour blind I found that graph very hard to follow.

        1. Miffo

          Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

          I can't even figure out what the numbers mean on either of the axes.

          1. SuperHoopMango
            Facepalm

            Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

            This is a joke, right?

            Left axis is chart position (1 to 20)

            Lower axis is date from July to December.

            (Quick explanation IN CASE you weren't joking!)

            1. Simon Harris Silver badge

              Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

              Date confusion? Doesn't help that the first two date codes on the horizontal axis seem to overlay (9-23/7 and 7-21/7) - should the first be 9-23/6 ? )

              Although it doesn't help with the late entries, read the table at the bottom line by line from left to right for initial positions, so the Spectrum starts at 1, Dragon 32 at 2, Atari 400 at 7, Commodore 64 at 13, etc.

              As these are from sales charts, I'm quite surprised to see that anyone was still selling Atoms (22 in the chart) in the second half of 2003, 18 months or so after the BBC had appeared - got my Atom in the autumn of 1980.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. Simon Harris Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

                  Oops... well spotted - 1983 of course!

                  Need to do more thumbs-up whoring so I can get that badge that lets me correct my posts!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Worst. Graph. Ever. @Conrad Longmore

        >Most of those lines look the same colour to me

        You mean the graph has different colours? They're all green on my Commodore PET

    2. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

      I like the mock-up of what a fully integrated and hugely expanded London Underground network will eventually look like!

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Worst. Graph. Ever.

        Either that, or someone's been trying to lay out a 20 layer PCB!

  4. mark1978

    wow

    Worst graph I've ever seen. It would have been too much trouble to put the names next to their starting position on the left and then you can trace them through. Rather than having to guess which exact shade?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wow

      The starting position on the left corresponds to the position in the list so, for example, the third red one down (at 16) is the Sharp MZ-80A.

      Still a crap graph although it can't be easy to represent 27 different things on the same graph.

      1. mfraz

        Re: wow

        It is easy to represent that many items on one graph, you just have to start using non-solid lines.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: wow

          Tried using non solid lines on a graph. The liquid ones ran down to the bottom and the gaseous ones blew away...

    2. VinceH Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: wow

      "Worst graph I've ever seen. It would have been too much trouble to put the names next to their starting position on the left and then you can trace them through."

      If you click on the graph, you'll see - true to the caption underneath that says "Click for a larger, easier to read version" - that's exactly what you'll get.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened on the 2nd to last value?

    Looks like a joint 4th place, but instead of having no 5th place, there's no 6th instead.

    1. n4blue
      FAIL

      Re: What happened on the 2nd to last value?

      Similar problem for the 2nd value. No 5th place and two sharing 6th place.

      Must be using Integer Basic.

  6. Newt_Othis

    Arrgh

    My eyes! My eyes!

  7. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge

    Interesting

    Graph readability notwithstanding, a very interesting piece....makes me feel quite nostaligic

  8. ACx

    Isn't the point of the graph to show how mental the computer market was at that time?

  9. Ol'Peculier
    Happy

    Somebody needs to look at F1 charts to see how to do these kind of graphs properly.

    I remember PCN, and I really wanted a MX-80A back then, but way out of my pocket money range!

    Happy memories. Now, back to that graph...

  10. Colin Critch
    Happy

    Still have my Dragon32

    I Still have my Dragon32 and a DASM cartridge in a cupboard somewhere. I liked the 6809 stuff back then in my teens. I bet it still works though finding a working tape deck will be more problematic. You could speed up the CPU but loose the video with a simple asm write or poke.

    1. Jim 59

      Re: Still have my Dragon32

      poke 65495,1

      Wish it worked on my laptop

  11. ukgnome Silver badge
    FAIL

    It seems to be missing the commodore +4 and it's baby brother the commodore 16

    1. Snivelling Wretch

      Plus4

      Probably not top sellers: until now, I thought our household was the only one which owned a +4. I was never able to trade games with anyone :-(

      1. Gio Ciampa

        Re: Plus4

        Ditto here with the C-16 I acquired from somewhere...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. lurker

      Not in the date range covered by the graph. Also missing the other big seller, the Amstrad CPC 464, for the same reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        CPC

        Indeed. The CPC wasn't publicly launched until April 1984 with it being a couple more months before it actually hit the shops.

        Buy the time you get into 1985/86 the order of things was 1 - Spectrum, 2 - C64, 3 - CPC. Wasn't a bad result for Amstrad either as not only was the CPC very profitable thanks to its higher price, but by mid '86 they'd also bought out Sinclair which they started to make money on almost straight away. Rumour has it they made their money back just by flogging the huge amounts of stock Sinclair had stuck in warehouses.

    4. Christine Hedley

      "It seems to be missing the commodore +4 and it's baby brother the commodore 16"

      Didn't they appear a bit later? I remember reading a magazine review of a couple of new Commodore models in the autumn of 1984, which I assume is when they were launched (in the UK, at least); if I recall (my memory is hazy) the review was of those two machines. I don't think they ever sold in large numbers though, the home computer market seemed to be increasingly dominated by the usual suspects like the Spectrum and C64 by that point.

  12. Gaius
    Happy

    Speaking as El Reg's official Hoardiest Human...

    ... I have most of these, either in good working order, or being restored to such...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not a Graph, it's a Stereogram

    And it clearly says 'Happy New Year to All Reg Readers'

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    hard to read

    but quite a good piece of research. I collect vintage computers and have many - I'll use this list to find more!

    Perhaps I can float a suggestion for the graph? use different types of line such as dotted and dashed to help readability.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: hard to read

      I have a 1983 Hamley's toyshop catalogue floating around... [performs quick search to see if someone else has gone to the effort of scanning it in... and Bingo! Thanks to be to that person]

      Here it is:

      http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.286052674747808.73189.273368722682870&type=1

      The games consoles are near the bottom of the page, click a thumbnail for a larger picture. What I got from it was the how much the dedicated chess-playing boards were compared to the more general gaming machines.

  15. b166er

    Graph was plotted on a Speccy, that's the problem you see, not enough colours!

    Man I loved my Spectrum, spent most of Xmas that year writing code to do firework displays on the TV, whilst simultaneously playing classical Xmas music. Wish I could find that code now, it must have sounded awful!

    There's a free Raspberry Pi education manual now available for budding programmers. Has good Scratch and Python sections so far.

    Raspberry Pi Education Manual

    1. NogginTheNog
      Happy

      Na, can't have been a Speccy

      If it had been then where the lines intersected there would have been colour bleed from adjacent lines!

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Coat

    You haven't been around long enough

    If you haven't dropped your stack of punched card on the floor at least once.

    I started using a Honneywell DDP-124 in '69

    Mines the one with the punched tape repair kit in the pocket.

  17. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    48k Speccy

    Also had one of these, and it was good :)

    Great to see it was the favourite in 1983, although the chart (and its myriad colors) is a bit hard to follow. Maybe something interactive (a graph which "lights" up when you hover (or mousturbates) your mouse over a certain computer...

    Is it possible to plot the demise of a couple of these favourites all the way from 1983 up until 1988?

  18. Steen Hive
    Thumb Up

    That chaotic graph

    is beautiful to behold.

    All those heterogeneous, clunky machines vying for market share. Where's that excitement today? It was the best of times.

  19. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge
    Boffin

    Here's a sobering thought...

    Out of curiosity, I viewed the image info for that graph...it's over 190KB....way bigger than the RAM on any of the machines referenced in the graph itself.

    Possibly a commentary on how complicated the graph is, but sadly I suspect it says more about how profligate we've become in our attitude towards memory and resources.

    1. SuperHoopMango

      Re: Here's a sobering thought...

      Indeed....and when you realise that "Elite" ran in about 1/4 of that 190kb, I strongly agree with your conclusion of profligacy!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Here's a sobering thought...

          On a related note...

          David Braben's hit his Kickstarter target to start writing the new version of Elite. Bet it won't run in 20K on a BBC B though!

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Test Man
    Mushroom

    Spectrums were still rubbish *controversial*

  22. greenawayr
    Megaphone

    Was I the only one...

    ...who had, and indeed, heard of, the Mitsubushi MSX? Not sure what year it was released but it couldn't have been much after this.

    El Reg, must contain one other person to have come across this beast that could work with both Tapes and Cartridges (instant loading technology, none of this 30 minutes waiting for the tape to load and then crash business).

    1. PaulyV
      Thumb Up

      Re: Was I the only one...

      Ah, the MSX vision of all computers running similar hardware and being compatible - what a vision with no future that was (there's no emoticon for sarcasm is there?)...

      Being a Paul Hardcastle wannabe I had something called a Yamaha CX5m which would have been very similar to your Mistubishi, but was specifically made by Yamaha to run music programs and voice cartridges. Came with a natty little 4 octave keyboard.

      I also seem to remember there was an MSX made by Panasonic (I think) which had a built in genlock to overlay video onto the screen.

      1. Abot13

        Re: Was I the only one...

        that genlock MSX was a phillips 8280

        I had a few spectravideo's still love the 738 "portable" it did MSX and CP/M :)

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Was I the only one...

      There were a few MSX machines made by different companies - it was a standard. The first Metal Gear game by Konami was for the MSX2 platform

      In the image below, from the 1983 Hamley's catalogue, the bottom right machine is a Sord M5 Computer, fairly similar to MSX spec:

      http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=286058214747254&set=a.286052674747808.73189.273368722682870&type=3&theater

      The Commodore Vic 20 is probably the more famous machine to work with both tapes and cartridges.

      1. SuperHoopMango
        Thumb Up

        Re: Was I the only one...

        Ahhhhh..... The Commodore Vic 20.... My introduction to the world of computers!

        Whack that 8kb memory cartridge in the back, and load up some MAMMOTH games! (Ok, not really mammoth, but that's how it seemed to a 14 year old boy!)

        OR....

        Whack in your games cartridge and play a text based adventure.... I can't for the life of me remember what it was called...but I do remember calling my Dad to witness my completion of it!!

        1. greenawayr
          Thumb Up

          Re: Was I the only one...

          I had one cartridge for my MSX, Formula 1 Spirit. At the time I was in awe of the graphics and the instant loading.

          Once I had that cartridge I found it difficult to wait 20 minutes for Chuckie Egg to load.

          I still had the MSX till a few years ago. The power button was always a little tempermental, but it had truly given up the ghost. It may still be in the old man's attic somewhere.

          Simpler times.

        2. Dr_N Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Was I the only one...

          "Whack in your games cartridge and play a text based adventure.... I can't for the life of me remember what it was called."

          I had the Pirate's Cove Adventure for the VIC20, as well as the superb Jelly Monsters.

          The Super Expander 3K RAM (+ additional graphics) cartridge was the pinnacle of my VIC20 set-up...

          1. SuperHoopMango
            Pint

            Re: Was I the only one...

            After a little research, and a bit of head thumping....

            Voodoo Castle was the game! Can't remember much else about it though!

            Too much of that <<< in the intervening years!

  23. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson
    FAIL

    My atari was broken

    I recall getting an Atari 600 or 800 XL for Christmas some time around the mid eighties, It had a RAM problem where half its 64k was missing, 2 swapped units later we gave up and I ended up with an Acorn electron instead. Have to wonder how much the quality problems held atari back in the home computer arena.

    1. Narg

      Re: My atari was broken

      Those were pathetically easy to fix. You weren't a real computer user unless you knew how to fix them.

    2. TkH11

      Re: My atari was broken

      I had both (and still have one of them somewhere) a 600XL and an 800XL never had any problems with them at all. I did have a problem with the cassette player: Atari 1010 (if I recall!), the buttons were quite weak and one of them broke, got that replaced no problem (from Argos I think).

  24. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Utterly useless graph...

    Anyway, I *still* have several Tandy Colour Computers and all sorts of accessories. The collection must be worth a small fortune, ...or perhaps $10.

    I also have a Sinclair ZX kicking around somewhere.

  25. Carl Zetie
    Unhappy

    Two things make me feel old

    One, remembering most of those machines and two, not being able to tell the colours apart.

  26. Simon Rockman

    there was always a value in having something oddball

    Like the excellent DAI.

  27. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Maybe we should start a contest...

    Publish the original data (sales figures if possible) and then let us comentards make graphs out of it. Maybe set out prizes for the best and worse illustrations. :)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1983 was a little early for the C64. I got mine in 1984 and there still wasn't many great games around. By 1985 it was better and when Zzap64 came out it was booming.

    If you didn't own a C64 you probably wouldn't have known about it's great strength, the music. Now if Commodore had been run a bit better the graphics might have been better too. The tricks the Atari machines could do were pretty good, the whole colour gradients which make the C64 graphics look a bit drab.

    It's no surprise that Jay Miner did the Amiga chips as he used the same sort of colour gradient tricks there, the "copper" effect as they called it. Varying colours over each scanline.

    The speccy was an example of engineering to a very low cost, but something that crippled later developments IMHO. Even the Atari ST didn't have a very good sound chip compared to the C64 and Amiga. The same awful sound chip was used in the later +2 and +3 speccy.

  29. nuked

    That graph reminds me of the very worst eye-rape that MySpace used to encourage

  30. Tom Jasper

    Impressive array of colours for 1983

    Considering the kit available...

    And wow - I've reprimanded people for better graphs.

  31. southpacificpom
    Holmes

    Acorn

    I started with an Acorn Atom which I built from a kitset then moved later to a BBC Micro B when I could afford the 400 quid asking price. I hated Yank computers and considered Spectrums as toys, Acorn computers were the best IMHO.

    I still believe the computer world would have been far more advanced now under the influence of Hauser & Curry than the mess which has evolved under Gates & Ballmer.

  32. Winkypop Silver badge
    Headmaster

    As one of many academically-challenged kids at school in the late 70's...

    We weren't even allowed in the same room as our schools solitary 'computer'.

    I have no idea what it was but I hear it was impressive.

    It would seem that we were the viruses in those days.

  33. Ian 49
    Childcatcher

    C64 user here

    And despite being in my final year at primary school, I spent more time doing computer support for the completely computer illiterate school staff on the three trolley-mounted BBCs than I did learning anything.

    I've spent the rest of my life trying to fix peoples' problems with computers. It's getting old now.

  34. Bottle_Cap
    Happy

    I had

    and still do the Atari 800XL - great piece of kit :)

    1. TkH11

      Re: I had

      I remember spending ages thinking about what computer to buy, I was using an Apple 2 at the time, and wanted something better for games, but I wanted to be able to program on it too. I liked the 6502 processor better than the Z80 so a pre-requisite for me was a 6502 based machine, the BBC micro didn't come out until a bit later. I chose the Atari 800XL and never regretted it. Graphics and sound were really quite impressive, the way the graphics chip handled display list instructions, mixing of various modes and lots of clever effects could be achieved was very impressive. Sound was good, being multi-channel and being Atari, a good selection games for it and it had a proper keyboard, something which the Spectrum and many of the Sinclair models lacked.

  35. MikeCorris

    Happy Days...

    I got a 16k Spectrum for My birthday (or Christmas) in '83. I still remember the fist command I issued to it. Border 2. Amazing! I later persuaded my dad to fork out for an upgrade to 48k which entailed sending it back to Sinclair, but once I got it back I could play my mate's ripped off copy of Manic Miner!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WORST GRAPH EVER

    I have to say that while colourful and sparkly, that has to be the worse and least readable graph i've seen to date

  37. Narg

    I never understood why the Commodore was so popular. It really was one of the worst of all these computers, and I've owned almost all of them. My favorite was never even on this chart, the Atari 1200xl. SO much more capable than the Commodore it wasn't even funny. Commodore only became good after Trammel left Atari and made the Commodore Amiga.

  38. Martin Huizing
    Facepalm

    So no love for the MSX?

    Shame...

  39. Jim 59

    Interesting graph

    What the graph shows is the rapid churn in the market at that time, and that individual models dominated for short peaks of time. My beloved Dragon 32 was dominant in its heyday, but that lasted less than a year, before the market moved on.

    This agrees more closely with my own recollection of the time, and contradicts the belief that a few machines topped the charts for virtually the whole 8 bit era. It was more exciting and fast moving than that. Your memory of the most popular computer depends on whether you are now 45 years old or 44 and a half, for example.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still running my ZX Spectrum

    ...using the Android App on my phone...

    (I'll get my coat...)

  41. The Alpha Klutz
    Happy

    I invented a good few of those computers

    and looking back on my successful career I'm glad I did it and earned all that money and notoriety for myself. I was so awesome for doing that.

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