Retro tech: BBC Micro (1981)

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Retro tech: BBC Micro (1981)

Before the Commodore 64, this was the 8-bit home micro that everyone wanted to own.

BBC Micro retro chic

What's the story?

While today's kids swipe at their iPads, ignorant of the endless lines of complex code grinding away behind the scenes, the youth of the '80s had BASIC, a programming language easy enough to master for their own applications – and the engine behind Acorn Computers' BBC Micro. Now celebrating its' 30th birthday, the Micro – designed for the Beeb's Computer Literacy Project – created a legion of mini geeks, most of whom made the words 'GAVIN IS A LEGEND' scroll across their screens at least once.

Why should I want one?

Apart from the pleasure of knocking up your own programs and playing Chuckie Egg, there's the joy of owning one of the most influential computers ever. The Micro fostered an explosion of talent and creativity that would make the UK the centre for great games development for years to come. It also spawned the Acorn Archimedes, the first PC to run on the ARM processor. ARM-based chips are now used in pretty much every modern media device, including your kid's iPad.

What to look for

Given their age, any machine that hasn't been looked after is unlikely to run for long. If you don't fancy owning the box itself, Android owners can revisit simple programming and most of the original games on the free Beebdroid app.

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