Alan Hammerton

Begin Japanology – Game Arcades

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I’m hoping to travel to Japan later this year for a holiday so like many people I’ve turned to YouTube for research, which has turned into an addiction to one series of programs. I stumbled across the “Japanology” series, produced by NHK for an English speaking audience, with well over 200 episodes covering all aspects…

Goodbye Maplins but will you be missed? *Updated*

Update – The article below was written a few days ago before the announcement that Maplin had gone into administration. It is very sad that so many people are facing an unknown future and we wish them well. Maybe something can be saved by a buyer but I fully expect whatever emerges at the other end will be nothing like the company is today.

It would seem that Maplins is no longer with us. After many months of bad financial news filtering out, the BBC is reporting that Maplins went into administration on the 28th February 2018. For those of us old enough, Maplins still holds a small amount of fondness but sadly it has evolved into a shadow of its former self.

In the early 80’s Maplins was a treasure trove of everything that a hobbyist could ever need, for those people into electronics I certainly don’t need to say anymore.For computer fans, Maplins had many off the shelf kits for the ZX81, ZX Spectrum and other contemporary micros which could be used to expand your system cheaply. This was only the tip of the iceberg, so much more could be found the Maplins catalogue, which became almost a bible for those looking for parts.

It sad that today, Maplins seems to have become a purveyor of cheap electronic crap that is almost always hugely overpriced. The last time I bought anything was a few years ago. Needing some solder and being too impatient to wait for Amazon, headed into my local Maplins who promptly parted me from far too much money for what turned out to be the worst solder I have ever used.

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Speaking of the Maplins catalogue, many people would have fond memories of the covers, each year would bring a new catalogue with some amazing artwork; typically painted by Lionel Jeans. I’ve always thought his cover art on the catalogue really complimented the artwork that Sinclair Research used on the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum manuals. For me it is very nostalgic –  one of my defining memories is around the time I got my hands my first ZX81 in 1983, spending a lot of time in WH Smiths looking at the Maplins catalogue on the shelf next to the contemporary home computer magazines of the time.

Only time will tell if Maplins will survive but let’s return to the question at hand… Will Maplins be missed? Yes, but not for what they have become. They will be missed for what they once used to be.

 

Altairduino – Recreating the Microcomputer Revolution

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  Had you been reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics you could not have failed to notice the front cover. Featuring a picture of a strange box with many light and switches, this was the first ever showing of the Altair 8800. A now legendary machine amongst collectors and computer historians, it  is where the…

World of Next

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Great news for all current and future owners of the Spectrum Next with the launch of a new website that aims to create a central database and repository for software released on Spectrum Next. “World of Next” has been created by a collaboration of the administrators of the “Spectrum for Everyone” Facebook group, which recently celebrated its first…

C64 Music Medleys a la Symphony Orchestra

 

As you can probably guess, we do like our gaming music and today is no exception.

After sharing a fantastic arrangement of Wizball and the PPoT remix of an Outrun classic, today it is time to roll out the big guns.

We have two medlies of C64 tunes for you to enjoy, but these are extra special as they are being played by symphony orchestras in real concert halls. To say this is amazing does not do it justice  – it’s proper hairs on the back of the neck stuff. Enjoy!

Collectors Corner – Bo Zimmerman

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  Being part of the retro gaming community has really opened my eyes to some of the amazing collections and collectors. Occasionally there are collections that really need to be highlighted to a wider audience. Once such person is Bo Zimmerman from Texas, a member of the Facebook group “Retro for Show” who recently posted some…

Press Play on Tape – Magical Sound Shower

 

If you take the best C64 revival band and mix liberally with an absolute classic tune from the arcades, what do you get?

Easy, one of the best remixes of Outrun’s classic Magical Sound Shower you will ever hear.