Competition: Win Creative Labs ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Speakers and More

I was recently approached by Creative Labs, who offered me goodies to use in a competition here on That Canadian Girl. The part of their pitch that caught my attention (and made me laugh) was the mention of Sound Blaster sound cards. Do you remember them? Back in the 80’s? I do. This gave me an idea…

The 80’s was such a defining era with the birth of computer video games, Nintendo’s first NES, bad permed hairdos, leggings and shoulder pads… Ok, let’s forget the fashion of the 80’s, it wasn’t its best asset.

Which brought me to scheme this little competition. Want to win one of these two prizes?

Tell me about your best gaming memory from the 80’s

What’s your best gaming or technology-related memory from the 80’s (or early 90’s)? Leave a comment below – including pictures or videos of yourself in those days will not only make you more likely to get a prize (your entry will count twice), you will also be full of win! You have until end of day, Wednesday 21st July to enter, at which point I’ll announce the winners and share the best entries. :)

Win ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth speakers

Creative Labs ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Speakers

Win a Creative Zen 16GB in special edition red with EP-3NC earphones

Creative Zen 16GB MP3 player and EP-3NC headphones

Below are the terms of the competition if you’re new to it, otherwise you’ve got a week to give me your best 80’s stories. Good luck!

Terms of the competition

  1. The competition is open to anyone regardless of location, though I’m sure the PR agency hopes they don’t need to ship to Alaska!
  2. You can take part as many times as you like, so three comments will mean three entries. However, I reserve the right to scrap your entry if you’re obviously just trying to make up numbers.
  3. The competition runs until Wednesday 21st July, 11:59pm UK time, so as long as your comment is timestamped before then, your entry counts, even if it’s in the moderation queue until morning. I’ll announce the winner shortly thereafter.

Disclaimer: As you’ve guessed, this is a PR effort and these are freebies. The agency has also provided me with a set of really awesome speakers, which I’ll review soon. However, they haven’t bought my opinion – I’m a total geek and the Bluetooth speakers are swish enough that I really wanted a reader to win them and be able to broadcast music across the house with them.

22 responses to “Competition: Win Creative Labs ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Speakers and More

  1. I vividly remember being wowed by 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_Monster_Maze) once I’d got hold of my 16k RAM expansion pack ;-)

    Moving on later to the BBC Microcomputer, I never owned a Spectrum :-(, I seem to remember being more or less addicted to Daredevil Dennis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daredevil_Dennis) until Elite came along! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elite_(video_game)) . . . I remember it took 7.5 minutes to load from tape and I was gob-smacked when I finally got a 5.25 inch disc and discovered it loaded in under 30 seconds!!!

    There then followed a whole host of games from Superior Software (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_Software) including Thrust, the epic Citadel and Repton. The third in the Repton series included a preview of Speech which later allowed you to program very easily your BBC to talk.

    I actually ended up coding in my Latin vocab homework into the computer using Phonemes to get the pronunciation correct, having the computer read it out in a loop, recorded that onto tape and listened to it while going to sleep to help learn it…needless to say it didn’t help me one bit, I still failed the test ;-)

    ps. links to games provided for those too young ;-)

  2. Rod

    Ah, lucky devil, I was always stuck with loading games from tape. Elite was certain a good game, but my entertainment of choice was Gunship (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunship_%28video_game%29).
    Another one I like (outside the staples such as Manic Miner/Jet Set willy and Pacman) was Batman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_%281986_video_game%29). which I managed to make a complete map of. Ah, funtimes.

  3. Where do I start? In the 80s I switched between the arcades and a Amstrad CPC464. I guess using a rounded cigarette lighter to score heavily on Track and Field (swiping the lighter rapidly between both buttons was far better than using both hands to alternate press them) was a high point. As was bringing sandwiches and lots of coke to a mate who was on a 48hr Star Wars marathon (he made 36 hrs). All in Leeds Poly’s student union….! Those were the days I guess. Should I also say being caught by a lecturer playing Eight ball deluxe when I should have been in said lecturer’s talk!

  4. I was born in 1984 so I came late to the 80s gaming party, but growing up with a Big Box of BBC Disks introduced me to the joys of Elite. Another game I particularly enjoyed (even going so far as reaching level 3!) was The Last Ninja ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Ninja ). Looking back I can’t believe how primitive games were – no ‘save’ function, no ‘continue from last level’, no checkpoints – every game was a fresh start.

    Superior Software ( http://www.superiorinteractive.com/ )’s “Ravenskull” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravenskull_(computer_game) ) was probably the first game that really excited me, the graphics and sound were excellent and, although I never completed it, much graph paper was used mapping it out. I can’t even imagine doing that these days. I really enjoy the modern ports of these games (Ravenskull, Repton etc) – check them out!

  5. Daily Thompson’s Decathlon, it has to be, me and my brother broke several joysticks and Z and X keys on our ZX spectrum, I loved the sound of the screeching when it was it was loading up, you actually had to connect a tape player. You could never play it secretly either as the screeching of the tape would be heard by my mum and dad when my brother an I tried to play it after bedtime!

    I wish we had of kept it, I would love to see if it would still work, there’s an E-bay purchase waiting to happen! Will have a look now! :-)

  6. I distinctly remember being utterly amazed at Ghostbusters on the C=64 because it had sampled SPEECH. Once the game was loaded, it played the theme music on a loop, and if you pressed the space bar at exactly the right time, it would say “Ghostbusters” along with the music. This was pure sorcery.

    Before those heady days, I remember my sister and I being pretty obsessed with Jumpman on the C=64 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumpman) – gosh, reading those descriptions, I still remember the first dozen or so levels.

    There was a football game for the C=64 that I used to play a lot mostly because it came on a cartridge rather than a cassette, so it loaded almost instantaneously.

    I too was addicted to Elite for a while, but never made it as far as “Elite”, I think I got to the level below that. One of my friends totally failed his A-levels because he spent all his time playing the sequel “Frontier”.

  7. @Rod I can’t count the hours I spent on Elite and Gunship on my Commodore 64! To the point where my Mum once turned off the power to the whole house to stop me playing it and actually, y’know, do something! I’ve been looking for an Apache helicopter simulator for a PC for ages if anyone can recommend one?

    Ah, loading from tape – happy days, even if sometimes the graphics and gameplay on the Space Invaders you could play while the real game loaded were better than the game you’d actually bought…

  8. Come ooooon, someone has got to have old pics of themselves playing videogames or something equally humourous to contribute!

    Thanks everyone for the comments – you clearly had far cooler games than I did. I remember a C=64 game that had ghosts in a house where you had to do maths to progress, a Sesame Street “Learn English words” one. I loved Moon Patrol as the only non-educational game we had at the time.

    Keep on adding contributions, this is awesome :)

  9. not sure my parents wanted to waste the film on pics of me playing on the computer tbh…but I’m going to my Moms this weekend so I’ll take a looksee ;-)

  10. I don’t really have a lot of memories from back then…. just my brother and sister laughing at me when I would physically move the controller while playing any of our various side-scrolling games, as if that would actually help me jump higher.

    Well, now I’ve got a Wii and the joke’s on them!

  11. I think Super Mario Bros. 3 was the very first time I was really excited about a big video game release. I was only 4 years old at the time but had just recently gotten enthralled by the NES. I later went back and played some Atari and Intellivision, but the NES was the beginning of my lifelong video game obsession and SMB3 was the game that really set it off for me. I remember being a little kid and thinking the new Raccoon Mario was the coolest thing in the world. I would hold my breath every time I got to the end of a level and tried to do the trick where you always got the same icon on the level ending reward box. The ship towards the end with about a million Bullet Bills took forever to get through but I felt so accomplished once I had finally beat the game. I would always go back with my friends and play the 2 player level at the beginning and that was one of my first multiplayer experiences besides ExciteBike.

  12. Simon

    I remember my dad coming home with the ATI All-In-Wonder graphics card, which came bundled with MadOnion’s 3DMark benchmarking software.

    We set it up and ran the benchmark and were utterly amazed at the graphics – how could it get any better than this?! We’d quite often just sit there and watch this render of a lake with a pyramid in the middle for ages at a time.

    We went and watched it again a couple of years later. Ouch.

  13. Nigel

    back in the 70’s I remember going into work with my dad and helping him load punchcards into the mainframe. I was 5 years old, and being in a big room with these massive metal hulks that had blinking lights was something that I remember vividly.

    My reward for helping was to get to play star trek, very similar to the old battleships boardgame. There was no screen, the game was played by printing the map out at the start of every term, and then using a punchcard to plot your ships movements and torpedo solutions.

    Compared to todays HD 3D graphics and new style controllers, it doesn’t measure up. But to a 5 year old boy with an active imagination, this was the very essense of gaming, and the experiences and wonderment I felt then have been transferred over to every successive generation of gaming technology since. I can remember the thrill of beating the mainframe for the first time, it was like a drug, and one that I have been addicted to every since.

    Yup I still am, and always will be, a gamer.

  14. Tom

    My earliest memory of video gaming was on our Otrona Attaché. My dad had since moved on, and so it had become my personal computer. I’d start it up early in the morning to play a Pac-Man clone that came with the OS.

    Unfortunately, the computer defaulted EVERY TIME to having a keybeep noise at high volume. The first task upon booting was always to activate the key combinations that would drop that volume to zero. I had it down to a series of five keypresses, always worried that I’d wake my parents and get in trouble.

    I think my Dad was just happy I was taking up an interested in computers.

  15. Tom

    Then there was the time when the Intellivision arrived. One morning UPS dropped off a box and I brought it inside. My mom was still asleep, and I could somehow sense the promise that the box carried. I waited for a little while, but then couldn’t take it any longer and woke her up. She made me wait until Dad got home from work before we got things started though.

    Night Stalker was my favorite game. Running around a maze trying to kill the killer robots before they could kill me. At the time I didn’t have my crazy Nintendo-developed skills, so when the robots started to get cloaks and all of that, I was powerless to stop them.

    That made it all the more exciting.

  16. Tom

    The last memory I’ll share for now: Metroid. I loved the game, learning to sequence-break and stumbling across hidden bonus ammunition. Kraid? No problem. Ridley? Easy.

    But when it came time to finally face the eponymous Metroids in Tourian I couldn’t do it. I was too scared. My video game playing buddy would need to take over while I went to the other room.

    Sometimes I’d have dreams where I went to take out the trash, opened the garage door, and in would swoop a Metroid to drain me of my vital sparks.

    I got over it. Still love the series today.

  17. Max

    As the song goes, “We bought it to help with your homework!”

    It was the 80s, and home computing was taking off slowly. While people marvelled at the ability to do home accouting on their TV screen rather than the 100 times faster method of scribbling in a book, kids were getting into the likes of Jet Set Willy and The Lords of Midnight. Home taping was killing, not only music, but software too, no doubt, and my school had a huge illicit trade going on with ZX Spectrum games. Our cousin had the Spectrum 48k and the 128k had come out recently too. We’d relegated his cast-off ZX81 to a cupboard somewhere as gameplay was not really an option on it. We begged and pleaded and asked repeatedly for a Spectrum of our very own. We wouldn’t just play games on it, we insisted, we’d learn programming and everything! And on Christmas day Santa delivered a computer. Excitedly we threw back the table cloth covering the tea trolley it had been mounted on and found… an Atari 800xl.

    My parents, oblivous to the whys and wherefores of technology had gone into Dixons or whatever the mid 80s equivalent may have been, and been sold this machine as much better, more powerful, all around more suitable for kids. They encouraged me to type up one of the games from the old ZX81 computer magazines and see if it would load. The damn things never loaded on the machine they were meant for, I was pretty certain it was futile but they had me try anyway, “Some of the language must be the same,” they reasoned, “it might work”. Of course it didn’t.

    Later, we did get the 48k, after my cousin cast that off in his next upgrade, but the trading games thing at school had died down somewhat. And it was on there that I played the followup games to the one that really impressed me beyond description on the Atari 800xl. It was the following year, on my birthday, that I was presented with a game that cost a tenner and was a rubbishy platform clone and one that had been £1.99. That game was Spellbound, the second in the Magic Knight series, and the first to use “windimation” a fantastic drop down menu system that let you interact with the game world. We’d sit and wait for hours to load up the game from the tape recorder, and never quite mastered save games, so replayed it a lot to get back to the same position. It was a brilliant game, well ahead of its time and sadly underrated alongside most of the Spectrum world of gaming.

    I’m not sure how to attach a picture, but this shows me holding my little sister as we all croweded around the computer that Christmas, pretending to be a bit more impressed than we actually were.

  18. Julie

    Antarctic Adventure (1984) I wasn’t even born, but I played later. La la lalaaaaaa. La la lalaaaaaa.

    Good memory: Mom freaking out while playing Doctor Mario. Bahaha!

    Bad memory: My oldest sister always being the one with the controls, therefore getting better and better. I would just watch. Right, Véro?

  19. I remember playing Jet Set Willy on my Spectrum 128k most – the tape was a bit worn so sometimes it got stuck and we had to rewind and start again.

    Cyan/red cyan/red, will it get to the blue and yellow bits!?

    Will the title graphic load? Without glitch?

    We’re nearly there!
    YUSSS, the game!

    That and Rollercoaster were my two faves back then. Tried many times to write some code and get results but that took ages and the keyboard was so clunky. Games from tapes were so much acer.

    Young console users don’t appreciate the time we used to have to wait to play the game. Oh the anticipation!

  20. MrJaba

    Ahh so many to choose from!
    1) playing Wizball with my Dad. Amazing game but incredibly difficult! We got so close to completing it then died at the final boss.
    2) Dungeon master scaring the crap out of me for endless hours, god damn that game was scary with it’s freaky noises.

    Or probably be the best; playing Final Fight in the arcades with my late Grandad holding a handful of 10p’s ready for when I died and I needed to continue. You’ve never seen an old man move so fast when there’s a screaming 10 year old on the continue screen as it counts down 10….9…. “Change! Grandad! Change!” :) Ahh great days. I’ve still never beaten that damn game.

  21. Tom

    And then there was all the time that my little brother and I would spend at my grandparents’ house playing Super Mario 3. Even after we were supposed to have gone to bed.

    I’d play it with the volume at the lowest possible level on their really old console TV, and any time I heard anything that could possibly be someone walking around upstairs I would turn off the TV and sneak into bed. Surely they wouldn’t look hard enough to see the red LED that showed the NES was on.

    In any given night I probably had at least 2 false alarms, and I think I probably had around 10 nights where I stayed up to play. Never once was I caught. I don’t know why I thought it was such a big deal, but I felt like a ninja.

  22. Tom

    It’s just about time to walk to the theater for Inception, but I’ll go for one more.

    Ninja Gaiden for the NES. Really damn tough. I remember playing the last really long stage a few times; every time you ran out of lives you had to continue from the beginning of the entire stretch. I finally got to the end of it, where you face the first (Ryu’s father) of three increasingly difficult bosses. Fortunately, I’d read the novelization of the game, which revealed the secret to the first fight. Yup, it wasn’t enough to play video games… I had to read all about them, too.

    Anyway, I finished the first of the three bosses and was filled with pride at my incredible skill. I was so proud that I paused the game and went around to all the kids playing outside in the neighborhood to tell them how far I had made it in the game.

    Of course it didn’t mean as much to them as it did me. They hadn’t invested their thumbs into bringing down the forces of Jaquio the way that I had. Still, it felt good to share.

    I went back home, unpaused, and died right away on the next boss. Went back to the start of the long level again. I’m not sure if I kept playing long enough that day to beat it, but I know I eventually did. That was the day that I had finally felt it was within my grasp.

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Oh hello there!

I'm Véro - a crafty, knitty, spinny gal who enjoys making (and drinking) a cocktail or three. If you've stumbled here, you might enjoy browsing some of my older posts with the tags over to the right or finding out more about me.

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