As I Grow Older, I’m Getting More and More Sensitive Thinking at the 90’s and All the Good Things That Happened Back Then, Like My First Computer Which Was a Local Copy Inspired by the Famous Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Called ICE Felix HC-91.
This is my first computer, a local copy of the famous Sinclair ZX Spectrum, called ICE Felix HC-91. It’s a stretch to call it a “computer” by today’s standards because the HC-91 looks like a keyboard and was manufactured in 1991, when I was about 6-7 years old. Even though I wasn’t old enough to go to the first school yet, my father taught me how to read and write. You needed to know how to write and read when using the ICE Felix HC-91 because it had only ROM (Read Only Memory – 16kB), which means a very small memory that you can only read from, not write to, and RAM (Random Access Memory – 64kB), the volatile memory that would be erased when you turned off the computer.
You could attach an external floppy disk drive to the HC-91, but I never had one, so I had to write down all the small programs I wrote in Basic with a pen in a notebook. That notebook was my “hard drive” during that time. For a simple drawing that you can easily create in Paint today, on the HC-91, you had to write many lines of code using commands like “DRAW,” “GOTO,” “RUN,” and so on. I didn’t have the internet back then, so my only source of information about Basic programming language was a magazine called “Science and Technology”, which had a section dedicated to computers and programming.
At that time, I managed to write a Basic program that displayed a flag waving in the wind, and on that flag, the name of my favorite football team appeared. Also, with ICE Felix HC-91, you could write music programs and listed to them since it had a built-in speaker. I can’t forget those high-pitched sounds, just like I can’t forget the games you could play on the HC-91.
I only had two cassettes that contained multiple games and looked exactly like the magnetic tape cassettes of that era. You had to connect the HC-91 to a cassette player that had a special input for it.
Those cassette players were not easy to find, but my father discovered one in a flea market and bought it for me. The games would load line by line, as if you were loading a picture on dial-up, on a black and white TV set called “Sport” at that time. I can’t forget the sharp sound that the HC-91 made when loading the games. I found that sound on YouTube, on someone else’s channel, and it’s like music to my ears.
Just when you thought you had loaded the game (I had one with an astronaut), the HC-91 would display “tape loading error,” and you had to start over again. It took a long time to load a game.
As I grow older, I fondly remember those times. I still have the computer and its huge power supply, but it’s broken, and I wondered if it can be repaired. Is there anyone who knows how to repair it? And if so, where can I find them?