Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by jdanddiet » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:21 pm

psj3809 wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:48 pm
It is amazing how things could change though. If my best mate had an Amstrad that Xmas then i would have followed him months later and got one for my birthday (or next xmas). Back then computers were new as anything, instead or parents buying their kids a £20 Tomy and a few star wars figures suddenly there was this new computer, £150+ so a much larger sum back then and for all they knew it might have been a one year fad and kids would be playing with someone else a year later.

The Speccy was the cheapest so i presume my mates parents went for that and that starts off a chain reaction. Most of my mates had Speccys so it was great getting tons of games. I also had a mate with a C64 which was really impressive, didnt know anyone with an Amstrad in my area. Saw a couple of Orics/Dragons but no Amstrad.

Crash/Zzap were huge mags, Amtix wasnt such a huge hit. In 'history' everyone talks about the 8 bit battle of C64 vs Speccy, the Amstrad doesnt get a mention. Bit like saying in the 90s it was Oasis vs Blur then someone turns up and says no no no, it was Mansun who were the most popular/best ??!

Granted you love your Amstrad, it is a very good machine but just like Betamax (better than VHS 'technically') it didnt matter as the majority of kids had C64's or Speccys. My mate had an Oric and praised that to high heaven, the Gameboy was the most popular handheld of the 90's but you'll still get people saying the Lynx was the best.

But homebrew ? The Speccy scene is huge, lots of games from the UK, Spain and other countries. Cronosoft sell tape versions of lots of Speccy games as do a few other places. Amstrad came a distant third in the 8 bit battle, yeah unfair as it was a good machine and 'technically' better than the Speccy but again kids didnt care in the 80's, they wanted the best games, the most games they could get and that was C64 or Speccy

Give me playability anyday over a few more colours. Thats one reason why i still love Atari VCS games or other older games (Gameboy etc). Its like kids of today playing Pacman or other arcade hits and saying theyre rubbish as the graphics are poor. Its all about gameplay. Theres been threads before where people talk about how much better xxx was than xxx due to technical stuff. No one cared about that ! Like i say it was games games games
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Matt_B » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:48 pm

I'd think that both machines deserve to be judged at their best rather than by half-arsed or overambitious ports, so if you're playing Lotus on either machine you're getting something terribly wrong. Either play it on the Amiga/ST where it's a good game that gives you a half-decent view of the road ahead, or stick to any of the considerable number of better racers on the 8-bits. They've both got very nice versions of Chase HQ and WEC Le Mans where I'd think that the pros and cons are considerably more worth arguing over, if you're looking for a starting point.

So far as the colour palettes of the two machines go, they're actually very similar. The Amstrad has a few extra colours by virtue of being able to blend components at different bright levels, so would objectively seem less garish if you were comparing like with like. Mind you, even though the potential is there that's not to say that anyone would necessarily put the effort in, and I'd have to think that some games were either entirely developed entirely with a green monitor or that the palette choices were delegated to someone's enthusiastic but colour-blind son in a rush to hit a deadline. Meanwhile, the tendency of Spectrum developers to avoid colour clash by making large chunks of their games in monochrome might often have led them towards better choices.

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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Crusty Starfish » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:27 pm

psj3809 wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:48 pm
It is amazing how things could change though. If my best mate had an Amstrad that Xmas then i would have followed him months later and got one for my birthday (or next xmas). Back then computers were new as anything, instead or parents buying their kids a £20 Tomy and a few star wars figures suddenly there was this new computer, £150+ so a much larger sum back then and for all they knew it might have been a one year fad and kids would be playing with someone else a year later.

The Speccy was the cheapest so i presume my mates parents went for that and that starts off a chain reaction. Most of my mates had Speccys so it was great getting tons of games. I also had a mate with a C64 which was really impressive, didnt know anyone with an Amstrad in my area. Saw a couple of Orics/Dragons but no Amstrad.

Crash/Zzap were huge mags, Amtix wasnt such a huge hit. In 'history' everyone talks about the 8 bit battle of C64 vs Speccy, the Amstrad doesnt get a mention. Bit like saying in the 90s it was Oasis vs Blur then someone turns up and says no no no, it was Mansun who were the most popular/best ??!

Granted you love your Amstrad, it is a very good machine but just like Betamax (better than VHS 'technically') it didnt matter as the majority of kids had C64's or Speccys. My mate had an Oric and praised that to high heaven, the Gameboy was the most popular handheld of the 90's but you'll still get people saying the Lynx was the best.

But homebrew ? The Speccy scene is huge, lots of games from the UK, Spain and other countries. Cronosoft sell tape versions of lots of Speccy games as do a few other places. Amstrad came a distant third in the 8 bit battle, yeah unfair as it was a good machine and 'technically' better than the Speccy but again kids didnt care in the 80's, they wanted the best games, the most games they could get and that was C64 or Speccy

Give me playability anyday over a few more colours. Thats one reason why i still love Atari VCS games or other older games (Gameboy etc). Its like kids of today playing Pacman or other arcade hits and saying theyre rubbish as the graphics are poor. Its all about gameplay. Theres been threads before where people talk about how much better xxx was than xxx due to technical stuff. No one cared about that ! Like i say it was games games games
I assume there must have been places in the UK where more than one kid in school had an Amstrad? If I remember correctly, there was indeed just the one Amstrad owner in our secondary school... he just wasn't very popular.
No Atari 8 bits at all, just C64's and Spectrums.

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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by paranoid marvin » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:23 am

I had mates who had a Speccy; they played ace games like Atic Atac, 3dAnt Attack, 3d Starstrike and read a great mag called Crash! So I got one. I then saw the C64 in WH Smith and was blown away by the speech in Impossible Mission, the music in Wizball and the graphics in games like Labyrinth and Rescue on Fractulus. It also had an equally great sister mag of Crash! called Zzap! It wasn't cheap, but I could see the advantages of having this machine.

Then a year or so later came the CPC. It offered nothing that my C64 and Speccy didn't have, and certainly wasn't worth spending £300+ on. And it simoly didn't appeal to me to have an all-in-one system either. Yes some games were better, but not many, and most were considerably worse. And in all honesty those that were better tended to be obscure Infrogrames and Palace titles like Hostages and Antiriad and the like, not AAA titles like Bubble Bobble, Ghosts'n'Goblins and Commandi ; and to add insult to injury Amstrad games were usually more expensive!
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by paranoid marvin » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:27 am

Crusty Starfish wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:27 pm
psj3809 wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:48 pm
It is amazing how things could change though. If my best mate had an Amstrad that Xmas then i would have followed him months later and got one for my birthday (or next xmas). Back then computers were new as anything, instead or parents buying their kids a £20 Tomy and a few star wars figures suddenly there was this new computer, £150+ so a much larger sum back then and for all they knew it might have been a one year fad and kids would be playing with someone else a year later.

The Speccy was the cheapest so i presume my mates parents went for that and that starts off a chain reaction. Most of my mates had Speccys so it was great getting tons of games. I also had a mate with a C64 which was really impressive, didnt know anyone with an Amstrad in my area. Saw a couple of Orics/Dragons but no Amstrad.

Crash/Zzap were huge mags, Amtix wasnt such a huge hit. In 'history' everyone talks about the 8 bit battle of C64 vs Speccy, the Amstrad doesnt get a mention. Bit like saying in the 90s it was Oasis vs Blur then someone turns up and says no no no, it was Mansun who were the most popular/best ??!

Granted you love your Amstrad, it is a very good machine but just like Betamax (better than VHS 'technically') it didnt matter as the majority of kids had C64's or Speccys. My mate had an Oric and praised that to high heaven, the Gameboy was the most popular handheld of the 90's but you'll still get people saying the Lynx was the best.

But homebrew ? The Speccy scene is huge, lots of games from the UK, Spain and other countries. Cronosoft sell tape versions of lots of Speccy games as do a few other places. Amstrad came a distant third in the 8 bit battle, yeah unfair as it was a good machine and 'technically' better than the Speccy but again kids didnt care in the 80's, they wanted the best games, the most games they could get and that was C64 or Speccy

Give me playability anyday over a few more colours. Thats one reason why i still love Atari VCS games or other older games (Gameboy etc). Its like kids of today playing Pacman or other arcade hits and saying theyre rubbish as the graphics are poor. Its all about gameplay. Theres been threads before where people talk about how much better xxx was than xxx due to technical stuff. No one cared about that ! Like i say it was games games games
I assume there must have been places in the UK where more than one kid in school had an Amstrad? If I remember correctly, there was indeed just the one Amstrad owner in our secondary school... he just wasn't very popular.
No Atari 8 bits at all, just C64's and Spectrums.

To be fair, in our age range we all had Speccies and C64s (as well as the odd Beeb and A8) so by the time the CPC came out we all had machines and catalogues of games. We were asking for games for Christmas or Walkmans or bikes, not a new computer (well not til the ST and Amiga came along). And in anycase the CPC was simply out of the price range for most of us even if we HAD wanted one.
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Matt_B » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:35 am

I'd think that the CPC sold well to people who were looking to get into the more serious aspects of computing. Without any official support for monitors and disk drives, the Spectrum was a bit of a non-starter in that department, and Commodore's options were somewhat underwhelming (no 80 column option and a very slow transfer speed, although both were ultimately fixed in the C128) and very expensive; you'd end up paying over twice as much for a complete system.

That it managed to get its foot in the door of the UK games industry at all was somewhat fortuitous, and largely down to the ease with which games could be co-developed for both it and the Spectrum. I'd think that a lot of people are just a bit too eager to see the downside of that, as it meant a lot of bad quality ports that obviously weren't attempting to use the machine's capabilities to the full. However, the upside is that it got a heck of a lot of games to the extent that you could just cherry pick out the good stuff and still have plenty to choose from when it came to parting with your cash. I managed to collect about 80-odd games back in the day without buying a single such unenhanced Spectrum port, so it really wasn't hard at all; even if I'd had the time and money to make it a couple of hundred I don't think I'd have struggled either.

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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Bluce_Ree » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:22 pm

With the Speccy I kind of get the impression that if you were a fan as a kid, you're a fan for life. Plus it really benefited from having Crash and Your Sinclair that gave it a cult appeal even though it had tons of mass appeal at the time. Also, being the underdog (technically) affected that too.

Also, it feels like the Speccy's unique graphics never led to the next generation. For me a C64 or Amstrad (when it wasn't looking like a Speccy game) feel like lesser NES games visually. Where as there's no real updated Speccy apart from the SAM Coupe that no one bought. So to get those Speccy feelings you have to play a Speccy game.

Maybe you can't quantify it though. It's like why does everyone love the 360 and not give a toss about the PS3 even though that was technically the better machine? Because of soul I guess. We're seeing it now with the Switch, even though I rate the Switch just below the Jaguar in terms of my worst ever purchases.
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Matt_B » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:52 pm

It's a bit of an irony that the vast majority of the Amstrad games that have the Spectrum look to them are almost universally reviled as bad ports. Even as someone with a fondness for all things Spectrum it's not something I'm generally prepared to stand for barring exceptional cases - like pretty much anything from Gargoyle Games - either now or back in the day.

If there is such a thing as a distinctive Amstrad look, it's probably the games that used Mode 1 as you only get four colours to work with, but there aren't any restrictions and the resolution is good enough for detailed pixel art and shading. Head over Heels and Switchblade would be a couple of the best examples for games back in the day, but you can also look at later homebrew like Fres Fighter II Turbo for something that you probably wouldn't see the like of on any other machine. Mode 0 though is basically poor man's Atari ST. Still, I suppose you had to be fairly well off to own one of those in the mid 80s.

I'd also think that there is something of a C64 look on account of its distinctive palette - certain colours just tend to blend well - and also once you know how the multicolour mode works it's pretty obvious when a game is using it. It's maybe not as much as colour clash on the Spectrum is, but the signs are usually there if you know what to look for.

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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:46 pm

I loved my Amstrad, but I always wished I had a commodore 64 at the time. It had far better shooters on the system and it also had some great arcade conversions. And then of course there was the amazing SID chip.
On the other hand the Amstrad had the best versions of Chase HQ, Renegade and Gryzor so it's all swings and roundabouts.
There are some great games on the Amstrad, but all to often it suffered from lazy ports.
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Crusty Starfish » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:50 pm

Bluce_Ree wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:22 pm
With the Speccy I kind of get the impression that if you were a fan as a kid, you're a fan for life. Plus it really benefited from having Crash and Your Sinclair that gave it a cult appeal even though it had tons of mass appeal at the time. Also, being the underdog (technically) affected that too.

Also, it feels like the Speccy's unique graphics never led to the next generation. For me a C64 or Amstrad (when it wasn't looking like a Speccy game) feel like lesser NES games visually. Where as there's no real updated Speccy apart from the SAM Coupe that no one bought. So to get those Speccy feelings you have to play a Speccy game.

Maybe you can't quantify it though. It's like why does everyone love the 360 and not give a toss about the PS3 even though that was technically the better machine? Because of soul I guess. We're seeing it now with the Switch, even though I rate the Switch just below the Jaguar in terms of my worst ever purchases.
I think the C64 had that same feel as the speccy back in the day. You knew when you were looking at a C64 game and generally knew you were listening to one too. I understand your description of speccy games - my best chum had one and its unique graphics (that seems to lead to the ST) leave a lasting memory.

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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by PostieDoc » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:07 pm

This thread is irrelevant as we all know that the Commodore Plus/4 was the best.

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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by killbot » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:17 pm

I only knew three other kids with computers when I was at school; one had a C64, one a BBC and one a ZX81. I had an Electron. Nobody, to my knowledge, had a Spectrum or an Amstrad.

Maybe we just didn't talk about it as much then. A few years later when I moved up to secondary school the consoles and 16-bit computers had hit, that's when everyone suddenly started getting really into it.
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by paranoid marvin » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:34 pm

PostieDoc wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:07 pm
This thread is irrelevant as we all know that the Commodore Plus/4 was the best.
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by Nemesis » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:37 pm

I owned a ZX Spectrum first then switched to the CPC. At the end of the day the Speccy will always be my first love, home as it was to many of the early classics from Ultimate, Hewson Consultants, Beyond etc.

I bought a CPC second hand with a colour monitor and aesthetically it just seemed a step up from Sinclair's machine and no colour clash too! I ended up with several top notch games including The Eidolon, Ikari Warriors, Head over Heels, Op Wolf, Renegade, Sacred Armour of Antiriad and Exolon. Whilst it suffered from being third on the market after the Spectrum and C64, there were still enough quality games that stood apart from the lazy ports. The problem was that it didn’t do much more than anything else out at the time.

C64 was better with any game involving scrolling a screen and the Spectrum has versions of the games the CPC had most of the time. Going back later to the Spectrum again, I found some of my favourite Amstrad games were actually a little bit quicker and responsive on Sir Clive’s machine with Zynaps and the Sacred Armour of Antiriad being prime examples.

Still, I had a lot of fun on the CPC but if I’m honest I would’ve done better to switch to the C64.
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Re: Discuss: Spectrum vs Amstrad Gaming

Post by paranoid marvin » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:43 pm

Matt_B wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:35 am
I'd think that the CPC sold well to people who were looking to get into the more serious aspects of computing. Without any official support for monitors and disk drives, the Spectrum was a bit of a non-starter in that department, and Commodore's options were somewhat underwhelming (no 80 column option and a very slow transfer speed, although both were ultimately fixed in the C128) and very expensive; you'd end up paying over twice as much for a complete system.

That it managed to get its foot in the door of the UK games industry at all was somewhat fortuitous, and largely down to the ease with which games could be co-developed for both it and the Spectrum. I'd think that a lot of people are just a bit too eager to see the downside of that, as it meant a lot of bad quality ports that obviously weren't attempting to use the machine's capabilities to the full. However, the upside is that it got a heck of a lot of games to the extent that you could just cherry pick out the good stuff and still have plenty to choose from when it came to parting with your cash. I managed to collect about 80-odd games back in the day without buying a single such unenhanced Spectrum port, so it really wasn't hard at all; even if I'd had the time and money to make it a couple of hundred I don't think I'd have struggled either.
The CPC sold well to parents who wanted an 'all in one' system; people who didn't really care that most games looked and sounded bit crap, or that some of the best games weren't available for the machine. They didn't have to worry about buy seperate tape decks or interfaces or even the right kind of telly to hook it up to. No, for £399 they could walk out of Dixons (who seemed to push the machine like crazy) and not have to worry about going anywhere else. Plus it came with a load of great Amsoft games! It also looked quite business like, so perhaps little Johnny could do his homework on it and maybe dad might have a play around with some spreadsheets.

For kids at school, all they wanted was a Speccy or a C64 and a portable colour tv. We wanted the same machines as our mates, so we could all talk about the latest games, share the mags and borrow backups off each other. Being a fellow owner of a Speccy or a C64 was like being a member of a club, and that's usually important for kids.
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