ZX81, the RAM pack and a carboot sale
I first remember the ZX81 in the 80s when I was in middle school. Wasn't into computers but would get an urge at school to "Want to go home and type in programs for the ZX81". Didn't know what I was doing really. It was my brothers and we had to hook it up to the telly in the back room so couldn't use it much. Knew how to load a game from tape but never realised back then, that you could save to tape. There was a horse racing game in a book or magazine we had. I'd type it in whenever want to play it, never realised I could save it back to tape. I believe found a backgammon game on a magazine once, that was good and learnt backgammon from it (now forgotten).
Anyway. Never liked it that much but was all we had. I liked our friends version who had the raised keyboard. Eventually my brother bought the RAM pack for it. Which eventually got taped onto the ZX81 due to the wobble that would wipe your code. I never understood the code I was typing in and never knew how to fix the code that didn't work due to poor magazine printing.
I wasn't into computers much back then, not the Sinclair range. Always annoyed me (because I had no imagination) how the art work on the front looked nothing like the graphics. I have a very, very clear memory of either late 80s or early 90s being in the front room and finding an old Spectrum game in a case (we never had a Spectrum). Looking at the art work and saying to myself "This is why I don't like computers or games. That art work. When I turn this over to look at the back the graphics will be nothing like that".
Anyway. Years later wasn't until the 16 bit era that I really liked gaming.
Eventually I did get into computing due to Microsoft and Windows 3.11 but still have fond memories of the ZX81 despite knowing I never really enjoyed it.
Later on in life my mum did a carboot sale and I gave her the ZX81 to "get rid of". Sold it for £50. I giggled and said "But it didn't even work properly. You'd touch it and it would wipe the code". I didn't know then about the RAM pack issue or that they were becoming "retro". And it wasn't until Micro Men that I discovered the RAM back wobble was a well known thing back then!