Computers, like nostalgia, were so much better in the old days. They have become boring these days, and the path of progress is predictable and often leaked in advance. Formats are pretty fixed, technology is global and there's rarely anything exciting that might be pulled off a boat from Hong Kong or Tokyo to completely change the world of computers, at least as you know it.
But in the 1980s and 1990s, before the PC became the standard, there was an exciting range of machines for buyers to choose from. They all looked very different, they were based on a variety of chip architectures and they offered their own operating systems and versions of Basic (often building on Microsoft Basic).
It wasn't until the middle of the 1980s that graphical user interfaces* started to emerge, and even then it was some time before the Windows 'standard' (with Linux and Mac OS for contrarians) emerged. You could walk into a computer shop** and be blown away by a computer you'd never even considered before. Next month, it might be gone never to return.
This really was the era of the 'white heat of technology' 20 years after the term was coined.
So, here's V3's entirely arbitrary, unscientific and arguably unfair top 10 of the best home computers. Feel free to flame away below the line over any errors, omissions, inclusions or corrections, or just if you feel the urge to reminisce about your old Jupiter Ace, Sharp MZ80K, Sord M5 or Camputers Lynx.
Next page: At number 10, the utterly fabulous*** Acorn Archimedes.
- Memotech MTX-500. Image via greatflash.co.uk
- Dragon 32. Image via www.8bit-homecomputermuseum.at
- Oric 1, as advertised in 1982
- The Apple iMac G3, Apple advert
- Acorn Archimedes. Image via jscustom.theoldcomputer.com
* Or windows, icon mouse and pointer - WIMP for short
** This was before PC World. They were a bit like Maplin, only typically smaller and shabbier
*** In our completely impartial and unbiased opinion
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