The Sinclair Spectrum is 25 years old today.
Just look at its rubber keys. Oooh. Thanks to Sir Clive Sinclair, Britain was spared a 1980s of the drudgery of the C64 (and gave schoolchildren all over the country an extra reason to fight on the playground). A marvel of British design that used insane memory tricks so it could use defective chips (Sir Clive was always one for a bargain), the Spectrum inspired a whole generation of British computer programmers, including myself (even if I only got as far as BASIC). While Sinclair Research only managed to make it to 1986 after a dalliance with electric cars, the Spectrum managed to continue commercial production until the early 1990s.
Bizarrely, the Spectrum also made it behind the Iron Curtain. The Russians stole the designs for the machine and produced their own versions of the machine, practically turning it into the Soviet Union's equivalent of the IBM PC. They produced disk drives, extended the memory and other weird and wonderful extensions to drag out the life of the humble Speccy.
I got my first Spectrum when I was four; a 48K model that was converted into a Spectrum+ half-way into its life. It met a tragic end after an all-day session of Bruce Lee. The next morning, I turned the machine on, only to be greeted by smoke rising from the keyboard. It was not a good day. About a year later, though, I got a Spectrum 128K, the final Sinclair-produced model, which I still have in its box somewhere in my room. Somewhere.
The Spectrum is no longer available, but with the magic of emulation, anybody can share in the wonder of 48K; yes, even filthy C64 owners. Just head over to World of Spectrum, grab an emulator for your system (if you have the means, I heartily recommend SpeccyDS for your DS). WOS also has a very impressive selection of games to download, though sadly not complete, as some companies annoyingly refuse to allow distribution of their old games. I would suggest that you get hold of 3D Deathchase, Head Over Heels, Ant Attack, Dan Dare, Rainbow Islands, R-Type, and the peerless Chaos.
Ahh, jumpers for goalposts, C90 tapes exchanged by the wall...those were the days!