Two weeks ago I found myself gazing forlornly at a t-shirt on e-bay… a blue t-shirt… medium-sized…
Emblazoned on the front of this t-shirt… in plain white… the logo and the name of possibly the most influential device on my long and colourful computing journey… “ACORN”…
The Acorn Electron was the first home computer we had in our family… back in the early 80s. A wonderful, wonderful Christmas present from my mum and dad.
In the late seventies I was toddling around trying to get my two older brothers to give me a go on our Phillips G7000 game machine which was really cool in its own right… but now we had a computer… with a keyboard and a tape drive and everything! A keyboard that went “click click click” when you pressed the keys. A tape drive that sounded “Eeeeee Eerrrrrr Eeeee Errrrr” like a donkey, on amphetamines, fitted with a voice prosthesis after laryngectomy surgery!
And so it begun…. the beautiful sound of “Eeeee Eerrrrr Eeeeee Errrrr”, for me, heralded the dawn of playing amazing games like Arcadians, Commando… and my personal favourite… Chuckie Egg! Dread to think how many hours my childhood were lost to Chuckie Egg…!
The other major aspect of the Acorn Electron experience was the fact that you could program it yourself… in BASIC…I learn structured programming… including obligatory overuse of the GOTO statement! No intellisense and code-completion in those days! No debuggers! No… it was all about keying in your own line numbers and painstakingly typing in every last bit of the code and staring at the screen for hours on end looking for the typo that was making the program crash… and you know something… it was just magical!
So I bought the t-shirt! Then the nostalgia started getting the better of me. I have an emulator for the megadrive. I have an emulator for the Atari ST… surely there would also be an emulator for my beloved Acorn Electron… tell me oh crystal ball (errr…. Google) – “Is there an emulator for the Acorn Electron?”
Oh yes…! First Google result takes me to ElectrEm…a full-blown cross platform emulator. Their site also includes some great links – especially The Stairway to Hell where you can find all your old favourite Electron games… just brilliant! I downloaded this and was playing Chuckie Egg all over again. I have trhe emulator running on my G4 PPC Mac… runs perfectly. This is an extremely stable emulator and I highly recommend you download and start playing immediately. Come one… I know there are a whole bunch of 30-40 year olds out there dying to play the original Elite just one more time! Here is your chance!
Needless to say… Been There… Done That… Bought the T-Shirt!… Got the Emulator!