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Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:51 pm
by outdated_gamer
The heated debate of Speccy vs C=64 rages on, but which was actually the better machine? We know both machines were super popular in European territory in the 80s (some parts more favourable to one or the other) up till the early 90s and still living on in the demo/homebrew scenes. The differences between the two are pretty big, from graphics, sound, price (for the time), etc. The argument for the ZX is usually that it was cheaper, thus more accessible, but when we compare the graphical capabilities and sound, the C=64 had the edge due to dedicated graphics and sound chips. One edge the ZX had over the 64 was CPU speed and the ability to output slightly higher-res visuals. Additionaly, some games made good use of it's colour palette, giving the games a more vibrant look in comparison to the slightly washed-out look of 64's games. But I still feel that outside of games that were specifically made for the ZX (Ultimate's stuff stands out here), the 64 usually had the edge when it came to smoothness and playability. In some cases the ZX versions of games were downright unplaylable messes, although sometimes this was true for the 64 too. But as I said, the graphical and sound advantage ment that the 64 was generally a more suitable games machine, besides being fully capable of other things too. The ZX was never really intended to run games as it was more a low-cost system to learn programming on (which naturally led to games). The 64 often holds its own even in comparison to the much more capable 16-bit machines like the Amiga and ST, not by having better capabilities but by devs making really good usage of it. Of course the same could be said for the ZX, as there are games that feel the best on it, but on the whole the 64 just feels more of a low-cost gaming machine for the time. So despite only ever owning a ZX, I would have to give the 64 the nod as the "better" system.

What about you, which system to you prefer and which, do you feel, was objectively the better one?

Discuss/vote. :wink:

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:10 pm
by markopoloman
C64. Vote finished, thread locked to save the 100%


:lol:

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:42 pm
by English Invader
I'll vote for the C64 but not because of the SID chip. I just think it's a much better designed system:

1) They got it right the first time and didn't have to release later models with more memory and better keyboards. A bog standard C64 will run Forbidden Forest or Wizard of Wor just as easily as Mayhem in Monsterland or Lemmings.

2) The hardware is nowhere near as sensitive as Speccy hardware. An unfortunate knock or moving the computer will in most cases make the Speccy crash.

3) The C64 has an on/off switch and gives composite output without any modification (having said that the +2 Spectrum models have RGB and give a great picture if you use that instead of RF).

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:48 am
by Antiriad2097
English Invader wrote:2) The hardware is nowhere near as sensitive as Speccy hardware. An unfortunate knock or moving the computer will in most cases make the Speccy crash.
This isn't a ZX81. If that was your experience with Speccy, something is wrong. The old 48k is incredibly sturdy, ours has been dropped, had stuff spilled in it (worked fine once it dried out, somehow nothing fatally shorted) and just keeps on going.

On the other hand, I've had C64's commit suicide by PSU a couple of times and they weren't even old at the time.

I'd probably give the C64 the edge as the overall technically better system, especially in later years, but the Speccy is my fave of the two. Right to the end it was really a toss up which system had the best version of a game, Speccy held its own on playability so often, and that higher resolution could be significant.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:39 am
by The Laird
For years I would have said the Speccy.

Now I am all grown up and can compare systems rationally, it's without doubt the Atari 8-bit. You have 256 colours, up to 5 channels of sound, hardware sprites, up to 1MB of memory, superb keyboard, hardware scrolling and a huge amount of games on cartridge.

None of the other 8-bit computers can do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xGspnDu6JY

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:14 am
by psj3809
Speccy for me

But to be honest 99.9% of people will vote for whatever the machine they had as a kid as they had the best memories of that machine. The C64 had more colour, better sound but blocky graphics. Speccy well defined graphics but often monochrome and the non 128k games werent always great sound-wise

I loved the Speccy as to me we play games due to playability. Games like Commando/Bomb Jack were superb on the Speccy and still hold up well today. Doesnt matter if theres 5 channels of sound or 1 MB of memory, if theres no decent games theres no decent games. In 50 years time people will still be talking about the great games of the C64/Speccy from the 80's, other machines (despite being more powerful such as the MSX) will be forgotten

Either way i'm actually glad both machines are still so well loved today all these years later whereas other ones just fade away.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:51 am
by English Invader
Antiriad2097 wrote:
English Invader wrote:2) The hardware is nowhere near as sensitive as Speccy hardware. An unfortunate knock or moving the computer will in most cases make the Speccy crash.
This isn't a ZX81. If that was your experience with Speccy, something is wrong. The old 48k is incredibly sturdy, ours has been dropped, had stuff spilled in it (worked fine once it dried out, somehow nothing fatally shorted) and just keeps on going.
To be fair, I mainly use my Speccy (+2a) with a DivIDE interface (which is probably the main thing that makes it unstable) and haven't used original tapes that much - I've never had the opportunity to use an original Spectrum model.

The C64 is fine if you use a voltage limiter (marketed as the Computer Saver) and/or use either a modded or home built PSU.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:59 am
by adippm82
Spectrum all the way for me, I had mates with Amstrads and Commodores, so we just used to play the best games from each other's systems, I could appreciate the other machines, but the little ZX was just fantastic, I played and enjoyed too many games to say anything else, I still have every one of the 774 original games I bought over ten years packed up safely in the loft, don't think I'll ever part with them.

My original Rubber keyed Speccy works just fine, it has had some capacitors replaced though, My Spectrum +2 and +3 have never faltered, not once in 30 odd years, the +2 is still on it's original drive belt.
The Laird wrote:For years I would have said the Speccy.

Now I am all grown up and can compare systems rationally, it's without doubt the Atari 8-bit. You have 256 colours, up to 5 channels of sound, hardware sprites, up to 1MB of memory, superb keyboard, hardware scrolling and a huge amount of games on cartridge.

None of the other 8-bit computers can do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xGspnDu6JY
I had one mate with an Atari 800, great machine, but he could not afford the cartridges or a disk drive, so it was a lesson in frustration trying to get a game to load, wait 15-40 minutes usually for a Boot Error to occur, when it did load though it could be great, Dropzone is just so awesome for one.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:18 am
by psj3809
Either way it was a golden golden era back then and i'm happy as hell i was around as a kid to really love it/appreciate it

From going into WHSmiths with a huge smile on my face like it was some Santas grotto seeing all the computer mags all over the place to read. From trying out games on some of the computers on display, a great time.

And again the excitement of getting some game, read everything about it as its loading up, yeah the graphics might have looked bad (Specially in the early 80's when say a @ represented a dragon) but as a kid you had your imagination, the games were a million miles better than some boring boardgame.

Trying out other machines and seeing other games on your mates computers, swapping games with your mates and just so many games coming out every single month. Having a Speccy or C64 back then was brilliant.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:14 am
by Antiriad2097
:lol:

Only the Laird would answer a 'Speccy or C64' question with 'Atari'.

Just pick one, this isn't about what else was available, its a face off between the two.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:36 am
by Matt_B
Antiriad2097 wrote::lol:

Only the Laird would answer a 'Speccy or C64' question with 'Atari'.

Just pick one, this isn't about what else was available, its a face off between the two.
Well, there is an Atari option in the poll. :D

Personally, I'd think that comparing any two 8-bit computers is going to be an apples vs oranges thing. They're just so different, and which one's "better" really depends on what you want from it.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:54 am
by ncf1
I do understand the notion that you will vote for the machine you had as a kid, but I was a fair kid, and would admit when something was better. For instance my first computer was an Apple II and I adored it, absolutely loved the kind of quirky nature of the games, and it was an incredible machine for a 10 year old to be playing with. But when the C64 came along well I rarely touched the Apple again, there was no question which was the better machine to be playing games on. I remember at the time also seeing Amstrad games in the mags, looking even better than the C64 and wondering why the reviews were always lower, I thought the Amstrad might be superior - until seeing the games in action and understanding why.

Although I never owned a ZX, Amstrad (Or Atari for that matter), Ive seen enough over the years to know which I would personally like best and it is the C64. I thought it was a terrific machine, and submits the ZX in a rear naked choke 0:50 into the first round.

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:58 am
by HalcyonDaze00
C64

the speccy was a great machine too but C64 is the clear winner

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:16 pm
by DPrinny
Dragon 32

Re: Which was really better - 64 or ZX?

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:03 pm
by The Laird
Matt_B wrote:
Antiriad2097 wrote::lol:

Only the Laird would answer a 'Speccy or C64' question with 'Atari'.

Just pick one, this isn't about what else was available, its a face off between the two.
Well, there is an Atari option in the poll. :D
Exactly.

I also explained why and mentioned that out the two I would have chosen Spectrum. So bit of a silly retort.