ZX Spectrum and St George's Day in 8-bit Google tribute

The 30th anniversary of the ZX Spectrum falls on St George's Day today, so Google is celebrating both with an 8-bit doodle.

The ZX Spectrum and St George's Day -- makes you proud to be British, doesn't it? The 30th anniversary of the classic British computer falls on the English national day, so Google is celebrating with an 8-bit doodle, and no doubt a couple of rousing choruses of Jerusalem.

The legendary ZX Spectrum and its rubber keyboard first appeared in our green and pleasant land on this day in 1982. The Spectrum part of the name referred to the fact that it offered colour graphics, one of the factors that made it enormously popular. Along with the Commodore 64 -- also 30 this year -- the ZX Spectrum helped kick off home computing in Britain.

The Spectrum came with just 16KB or 48KB of ROM, but was much cheaper than the rival BBC Micro. It was sold by British technology maverick Sir Clive Sinclair, before the Sinclair name and products including the ZX Spectrum and its offshoots were sold to Amstrad.

And to celebrate St George, Google has recreated the legend of George slaying a dragon in the 8-bit style familiar to fans of the ZX Spectrum. St George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was executed for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. The famous legend claims that he slew a dragon that was devouring damsels, although it's also one of those metaphorical dragons standing for the Roman Empire.

Previous 8-bit opuses include the suitably extravagant Freddie Mercury-themed epic doodle -- still one of our favourites. Press play on our video to see the full Freddie flamboyance and the rest of our five favourite Google doodles:

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Did you own a ZX Spectrum -- or where you a Commodore devotee? What's your happiest early computing memory? And will you be celebrating St George's Day? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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