In the early 1980's the home computer market exploded. At the end of the 1970's the idea of having a computer in your home was the purview of the wealthy and them alone. While the ZX Spectrum 48, the Amstrad CPC 464 and the mighty Commodore 64 slugged it out at the top end of the market, Acorn were placing their own BBC B Microcomputers into schools up and down the land, thanks mainly to the success of Teletext with Ceefax and Oracle providing News, Sport, subtitles to TV shows and everything from problems pages to educational support. I wanted a BBC B but they were £400 before you even considered peripherals such as tape or disc drives. Acorn knew this and so they created the Electron 32, a stripped-down BBC B that had but a single sound channel and lacked the Teletext Mode 7. Compared to the Commodore 64 and Amstrad it was a puny machine, but at £199 was far more affordable and ultimately outsold its superior big brother, possibly due to the fact that with a few hardware additions it became more than a match for the BBC B. For most people, though, the Electron (or "Elk" as it was known in many circles) was games machine and it enjoyed nearly a decade of software house support as the games always sold. Lest we forgot that the, quite literally, game-changing "Elite" made itself a home on the Electron and BBC B before any others and the consistent quality of games from Superior Software, Bug Byte and Tynesoft, among others, ensured there was plenty to keep people interested. As it supported BBC Basic it was compatible with a great deal of the software available to the BBC Bs in schools up and down the land and thanks to Electron User, literally thousands of kids taught themselves how to program. It was ten years to the day before I upgraded to an Amiga 1200 and even though I loved that machine, the Electron was my computer for half of my childhood and they were great days.

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