Now the Chips Are Down: The BBC Micro

Now the Chips Are Down: The BBC Micro

by Alison Gazzard

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Overview

The story of a pioneering microcomputer: its beginnings as part of a national Computer Literary Project, its innovative hardware, and its creative uses.

In 1982, the British Broadcasting Corporation launched its Computer Literacy Project, intended “to introduce interested adults to the world of computers and computing. ” The BBC accompanied this initiative with television programs, courses, books, and software—an early experiment in multi-platform education. The BBC, along with Acorn Computers, also introduced the BBC Microcomputer, which would be at the forefront of the campaign. The BBC Micro was designed to meet the needs of users in homes and schools, to demystify computing, and to counter the general pessimism among the media in Britain about technology. In this book, Alison Gazzard looks at the BBC Micro, examining the early capabilities of multi-platform content generation and consumption and the multiple literacies this approach enabled—not only in programming and software creation, but also in accessing information across a range of media, and in “do-it-yourself” computing. She links many of these early developments to current new-media practices.

Gazzard looks at games developed for the BBC Micro, including Granny's Garden , an educational game for primary schools, and Elite , the seminal space-trading game. She considers the shift in focus from hardware to peripherals, describing the Teletext Adapter as an early model for software distribution and the Domesday Project (which combined texts, video, and still photographs) as a hypermedia-like experience.

Gazzard's account shows the BBC Micro not only as a vehicle for various literacies but also as a user-oriented machine that pushed the boundaries of what could be achieved in order to produce something completely new.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262034036
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 02/12/2016
Series: Platform Studies
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 312,250
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alison Gazzard is a Lecturer in Media Arts and Education at the UCL Institute of Education at University College London.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

I Hardware and Software Literacies

1 The Beeb Is Born 19

2 Input/Output 45

II Making and Playing Games

3 Granny's Garden 71

4 Acornsoft and Elite 91

5 Superior Software and Repton 107

III Extending the Platform

6 Telesoftware and the Teletext Adapter 123

7 The Domesday Project 145

8 The Legacy of the BBC Micro 163

Notes 179

Index 201

What People are Saying About This

James Newman

Now the Chips Are Down is a wonderful account of the fondly remembered yet often overlooked BBC Microcomputer. Considering the machine's development, its role in promoting computer literacy in 1980s Britain, and its enduring legacy, Gazzard's combination of meticulous archival research and rich case studies ensures that the 'Beeb' takes its rightful place in gaming and computing history.

From the Publisher

Now the Chips Are Down is a wonderful account of the fondly remembered yet often overlooked BBC Microcomputer. Considering the machine's development, its role in promoting computer literacy in 1980s Britain, and its enduring legacy, Gazzard's combination of meticulous archival research and rich case studies ensures that the 'Beeb' takes its rightful place in gaming and computing history.

James Newman , Professor of Digital Media, Bath Spa University

Now the Chips Are Down is a thorough, fascinating, and much-needed look at the quiet revolution that was the BBC Micro and how the ripples its innovations created can still be felt in computing today.

Tristan Donovan , author of Replay: The History of Video Games

Endorsement

Now the Chips Are Down is a thorough, fascinating, and much-needed look at the quiet revolution that was the BBC Micro and how the ripples its innovations created can still be felt in computing today.

Tristan Donovan, author of Replay: The History of Video Games

Tristan Donovan

Now the Chips Are Down is a thorough, fascinating, and much-needed look at the quiet revolution that was the BBC Micro and how the ripples its innovations created can still be felt in computing today.

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