Going back to my school days and Microcomputers and home computing were still in their infancy. Schools needed to make computers available to teach pupils like me about these new machines, and after a short battle Acorn won over Sinclair to supply a new micro for this purpose to work alongside the BBCs new microcomputer programming tv shows. The Acorn machine became known as the BBC micro and all of us 80s kids were encouraged to use them. These BBC branded computers were a little on the expensive side for most families, and Acorn released a cut down version, the Acorn Electron. This is my first real experience of running an Electron so this is how I got on with it.

Firstly, as you can see from the picture above, I don’t have a huge collection of software to choose from, but there may be a way round that as we shall see later. Luckily this Electron was given to me by a relative and had the power supply and aerial leads with it, so I tentativelh plugged it in and switched on, once the tv was tuned I had a nice clear display and a flashing cursor ready for me to type in some basic. I tried the 2 line bane of computer shop workers of the 80s,
20 GOTO 10
The screen filled with the word “HELLO” repeated over and over. It works.

I pick up my trusty old Walkman clone cassette player, plug in some leads which I had bought in readiness and tried to load Hopper, by typing CH.”” which I remembered from the school BBCs we already mentioned and pressed play. Nothing happened, I broke with tradition and checked the manual, and checking the lead against the diagram in the manual found the lead wasn’t for an Acorn computer at all and is wired differently. Ebay, wait and the postie delivered a nice new lead today.

This time the CH.”” command worked and Hopper loaded. This is a pretty good Frogger port for the Electron, and music and graphics are both better than I had expected on this poor mans version of the Beeb. A quick play and then I tried the cassette bundled with the Electron in the box from new. That didn’t entertain me but probably useful for those needing to convince themselves they didn’t buy one just for games back in the 80s.

So with my software collection all tried out what else is a guy to do with an Acorn Electron and a few hours before the family comes back home? Typing in listings isn’t an option as I couldn’t save them afterwards so I looked for an alternative way to load some games to try, that’s when I remembered my old Samsung Galaxy Ace phone with Tapdancer installed on it, and although I nver got it to work on Commodore 64 it was worth a try. A couple of quick rom downloads and we’re on our way.

Space Invaders on the Electron, loaded from my phone? Hell yeah, it works and Invaders actually plays ok on the old Acorn which is a bonus. How about Galaxians? Well its actually called Zalaga or something, but gameplay is the same 🙂

So the Electron works, and my old Galaxy Ace and Tapdancer work perfectly with it which is a bonus.

Space Invaders on Acorn Electron: https://youtu.be/DRxi2Mut7DE

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