‘Arcade’ – A Sinclair ZX Spectrum Fanzine

In the mid-1980s, I was a computer-obsessed teenager. The computer was Sir Clive Sinclair’s rubber-keyed wonder, the ZX Spectrum.

Like other devotees, I possessed piles of Spectrum games, magazines (Sinclair User, Crash, Your Sinclair), and more peripherals than you could shake a Kempston joystick at.

I spent countless hours playing games, reading about games, typing in games from listings published in magazines (and then trying to make them work), and making trips to WHSmith to buy more games and magazines.

At school, my like-minded friend, Adam Bell, was equally enthralled with Sir Clive’s 8-bit gem. We would get together, hunched around the diminutive plastic and rubber keyboard, to play two-player games such as Renegade, Way of the Exploding Fist …

This reminiscence of my teenage years is probably similar to that of many other children of the 80s whose parents had indulged their kids at Christmas with the latest piece of technology. However, my friend and I took things a stage further …

We decided to publish our own Spectrum fanzine: ‘Arcade’, dedicated to our favourite genre of Spectrum games. I can’t say our motives in this endeavour were entirely pure. Our thinking was that by producing a Spectrum fanzine, software houses would be falling over themselves to provide us with review copies of their games, free, gratis, and for nothing. And, to a certain extent, this worked; we did receive a number of games, which we dutifully played and reviewed in the fanzine.

Another by-product of our 8-bit hobby was that both Adam and myself went on to related careers. Adam pursued a career in technical authorship, moving to the USA to work for a number of tech start-ups, whilst I pursued a career in desk-top publishing and then web design and development.

Articles in this category are what remains of ‘Arcade’ and also serve as a tribute to Adam, who is sadly no longer with us.

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