Year: April 1982 Manufacturer: Sinclair Original Cost: £125-175 (dependent on size of memory included)

Clive Sinclair, known affectionately as Uncle Clive by his fans and followers, was the embodiment of the British boffin inventor with his bald pate, thin-rimmed spectacles, tidy ginger beard and his determination to retain freedom of action and choice. He built his company and reputation in the 1960s, by reverse engineering the latest, most expensive consumer electronics and releasing his own versions at a fraction of the cost of the originals.By the early 1980s he’d enjoyed a rich mixture of successes and failures: while his pocket calculators had turned an exclusive technology into a ubiquitous one, his digital Black Watch had almost brought about bankruptcy through defective returns. Sinclair’s approach to business was that of the purebred inventor, with his ambition for each invention straining no further than hoping to fund the next.It was from the ashes of another of Sinclair’s failures that his greatest success was born, one that kick-started the British video game industry and inspired the first generation of so-called bedroom coders. By the early 1980s Sinclair was no stranger to home computing. His ZX80 machine, with its extraordinarily low price point of £99.95 (£79.99 if the consumer optedfor the kit version, which they could solder together themselves), had brought computing to the masses, fast becoming the UK’s biggest-selling home computer. While the Commodore PET and Apple II were still prohibitively expensive, the ZX80 and its more powerful successor the ZX81 were affordable to most households, and the first British-developed games began to appear.