spectrum v c64 weird smell
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C64 beats Spectrum

On Graphics:
The C64 VIC chip – graphics processor extreme (and full of exploitable bugs), allowing the dropping of borders, multiplexing sprites and capable of displaying more than three colours (plus black) at once without going into epilepsy-inducing flicker-fests.

Some people say gameplay is all. Well you can only appreciate that if you can see what you are doing. Pity that you couldn't see properly to play the games on the Spectrum, due to huge blocks of colour clash obscuring your view.

Speaking of colours, who the hell decided on the Spectrum’s palette? I mean, magenta for God’s sake… The only people who can get away with that colour are the fops on Changing Rooms.

Anyone trying to play the vector card on the Spectrum side will have one word thrown back in their face: Mercenary.

Mmm… C64ish circuit-board sandwich.

On Sound:
The magnificent C64 SID chip, allowing 4 channels of melodic sound to be crafted by some of the finest computer composers ever. Or the Spectrum – the sound of a hippo farting through a kazoo underwater.

So proud were Spectrum coders at getting ANY sort of sound out of it, you usually can't turn their spastic ramblings off, either.

The ten minutes or so of cat-like screeching whilst a game loaded on the Speccy doesn’t count here.

Realistic sounds such as bells, electric guitars, drums and speech were all easily possible and added to the atmosphere of C64 games. About the most realistic noise on the Spectrum could be found when playing ‘Attack of the Gargling Hamsters’, when inadvertently the programmers got it to sound exactly right.

C64 music has been sampled and used in commercial record releases. Can’t quite see that for the Speccy sounds, now. Unless there’s a market for ‘Sounds of the Blackboard’ out there.

On Build Quality:
Proper keyboard of the C64 that you could type on, or grey bubbles of cack forced out through the case by the sheer pressure of cack inside?

People have lambasted the C64 for being a beige coloured breadbin. On the other hand, would you want a computer that looked like a giant Blackjack?

Mind you, Speccies were good for something - sticking under the wobbly leg of a desk. They were just the right slimline size for such a gap, and when placed upside down the rubber keys prevented the desk from sliding around on the floor.

The C64 – marvel of technology.

The Speccy had a 3.5MHz Z80 CPU, as opposed to the C64's 1 MHz 6510. So, the Speccy had over 3 times the grunt, yet the games were 100% qualitatively shitter. What a win for the Speccy!

Built-in joystick ports on the C64. Two of them in fact. Whose great idea was it to not include these on the Spectrum? Did they think everyone would use the keyboard to play? A keyboard that is soggier than wet cement and about as responsive? You could load a game up forgetting to actually install the damn interface in the first place, and then risk shorting the Speccy's rusty innards by inserting it with the power on, or resetting the machine by knocking the power cable. Or realise you put in the wrong interface that isn't supported by the game.

On Games:
Mayhem in Monsterland. Nuff said there. And Armalyte. Paradroid. Impossible Mission. Wizball. Dropzone. IK+. Ultima RPGs. Thrust. Turbocharge. Mercenary. LCP. Alter Ego. Myth. Last Ninja. Jeff Minter's catalog. I could go on but there's no point, it would take too long. The C64 got most of the Spectrum's great games as well.

Disk drive access meant bigger, better and far more expansive games than the Speccy could ever hope for. Witness the sheer brilliance of multi-disk titles such as Alter Ego, The Bard’s Tale, Infocom adventures, Portal, and the homebrew blockbuster Newcomer that needs fourteen disk sides to contain all the game plot.

Mayhem In Monsterland. Nuff, indeed, said.

The C64 also had a great selection of cartridges available for instant loading. Whilst the Speccy did have a few carts, you were about as likely to find one as a baritone in an all-eunuch choir. The closest most Speccy users could get to instant loading was leaving the machine on all night and hoping it hadn't burnt out by the morning.

C64 owners were the cool ones at school - hanging around with the most friends, being asked their opinion on games, and left alone by the bullies. They also got all the girls in their school and from the local one down the road. Except Ryan Phillips, who smelt of wee. Speccy owners were goggle-eyed, girls' panties-wearing, rabbit-shagging dweebs with no social life. Who also all smelt of wee.

C64 owners get girls like this, see?

The people who made the Spectrum went on to make the C5, whilst the makers of the C64 brought us the wonderful Amiga. Never has a single sentence explained why C64 beats Spectrum.

Spectrum owners had (and continue to have) only one testicle. C64 owners have two, which is normal.

The only time people are happy to see a blue screen.

All the best computer magazines of the time were written by C64 fans. Most of us can plot the career paths of Gary Penn, Julian Rignall, Steve Jarratt, Chris Anderson, Ciaran Brennan, and so on… But almost no-one remembers who even edited any of the Spectrum magazines, let alone what they did afterwards, if anything. And it was probably nothing.

Ex-Zzap!64 editor Gordon Houghton owns a Spectrum. He has played games on it no more than seven times, for reviews that he was forced to write and later regretted, and now he can't get rid of it because it's too ugly to take to the local dump. However, he has played with his Commodore 64 thousands of times, and has even slept with it.

C64 folk didn’t just hate Speccy owners, y’know…

C64s are sold for money on eBay, whereas Spectrums are employed as added value for other goods, such as shoelaces and used eggs.

Commodore 64 rhymes with ‘great games galore’. Spectrum rhymes with ‘a man's bum’. In a similar vein, you can extract the words ‘64 do more’ from Commodore 64, but from Spectrum the only meaningful word you can extract is ‘rectum’.


Thanks to various members of the YakYak forum, including Gordon, PaulEMoz, Venusian, Moobaa and Thalamus

MAYHEM, April 2004.

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