Early Home Computers

From the early ’80s, a large number of manufacturers were creating cheap computers built around off-the-shelf 8-bit CPUs, typically the MOS 6502 or the Zilog Z80. Competition was fierce; one manufacturer cut their margins so fine that they needed to keep the money from their customers in their bank account earning interest for a month before they could afford to buy the components.

Many of these machines were used primarily for gaming, but machines of this class introduced a generation of school children to computer use and programming. In Britain, this was encouraged by the Government of the time, through initiatives such as “Micros in Schools” and “IT82: The Information Technology Year”.