1980s Vintage Computers

Practical Computing Magazine

This was my favourite magazine of the early 1980s, from it I typed in several of the Basic games into my UK101, and read the reviews on machines like the Nascom, Pet Series, Acorns, TRS80 series and so on, together with software reviews for word processors, operating systems and the occasional game. 

Comments are welcome via e-mail; I would be especially interested to hear from the copyright holder(s) and/or the original authors.

June 1979 cover

I have scanned in a series of covers and a few magazine extracts, starting with the 'Son of Hexadecimal Kid' stories, plus a few equipment reviews and adverts.

Full magazine PDFs can be downloaded from the World Radio History magazine archive.

Short Stories
Feature Articles


The early magazines had graphical front covers, later on they tended to be based on studio photographs, but with a twist!

Covers from October 1978 to December 1980
Covers from January 1981 to December 1983
Covers from January 1984 to July 1987

Note there was no issue published for August 1984. The following note was published in September "We apologise for the non-appearance of the August issue of Practical Computing, Volume 7 issue 8. This was due to an industrial dispute. Subscriptions will be extended by one month, so each subscriber will receive 12 issues of the magazine."

One of the artists who produced some of the most stunning images was Ian Craig, as featured in an article in Crash magazine.

Short Stories

The editors of Practical Computing realised that computers can be a dry subject, so to add a bit of variety they included a short story almost every month until 1985. These usually were part sci-fi fantasy part black comedy.

A long running series across 16 chapters was Son of Hexadecimal Kid by Richard Forsyth, which appeared from September 1980 to December 1981.


December 1978 - Research Machines 380Z
December 1979 - Transam Triton computer (449K ZIP file)
January 1982 - BBC Micro
April 1982 - Zork
September 1982 - Superbrain II (link to another web site, then scroll down)
October 1982 - Epson HX-20 feature  
October 1983 - Acorn Electron
December 1984 - BBC Micro second processors
July 1985 - Acorn BBC B+
October 1985 - Acorn 32016 second processor
December 1985 - Acorn BBC B+ 128K
January 1986 - Acorn Communicator
January 1987 - Acorn Master 512 & Compact


October 1978 - Galdor Computing, a company running an ICL 1900 mainframe, who also used to own an ICT 1301 called Flossie.
July 1982 - Clive Sinclair, founder of Sinclair computers (nb - link to another web site).
October 1982 - Chris Curry, founder of Acorn computers (nb - link to another web site).

Feature articles

Series of articles on robotics written by Mark Witkowski and were published on his web page. These are all scans in PDF format.
February 1980 - What rough beast, its hour come round at last
March 1980 - Man-machine clanks into step.
April 1980 - Robots: sense & sensibility.
May 1980 - Communication is problem in programmed control.
June 1980 - Planning techniques find optimal routes.
July 1980 - An eye to the future with computer vision

August 1980 - Adventure II (PDF scan), Adventure II (HTML on another site) - description of a role playing game

October 1986 - RISC Technology and the ARM processor


October 1979 - Superbrain (link to another site)

December 1983 - Sanyo computer advert (typical 1980s, hard to tell if the sexism or the fur coat is the more offensive!)

woman in fur coat


This page was last revised on: 9/11/14