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Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 13:04 UK

Midweek quiz: Old computers

Vintage computers quiz

Fans of computers past were delighted when Jeremy Paxman asked contestants on the BBC's University Challenge to identify some from their pictures. So with a respectful nod to that quiz institution, we've dug out some archive pictures of iconic models, to test your knowledge.

An old RCA computer

1.) Multiple Choice Question

It came out in 1960 and one of the first computer games, Spacewar!, was developed for it. Enough clues. What is it?

An old computer
  1. VAX
  2. IBM System/360
  3. PDP-1

2.) Multiple Choice Question

In the late 70s there was a boom in home computers. While this one never gripped the imagination of the public, it was influential in what was to follow. What is it?

An old computer
  1. DEC Rainbow 100
  2. Commodore PET
  3. Atari 400

3.) Multiple Choice Question

Here is a landmark model for the Apple corporation, one which helped the computer start its entry into the homes of ordinary people. But which is it?

An Apple
  1. Apple I
  2. Apple II
  3. Lisa
  4. Macintosh 128k

4.) Multiple Choice Question

You may recognise the style of this keyboard. It's very Sinclair. But which model?

Part of a computer keyboard
  1. ZX80
  2. ZX81
  3. ZX Spectrum


The original Spectrum (bottom) is fondly remembered for its rubber keyboard and its rainbow logo. It battled with the Commodore 64 for supremacy in the British market in the early 1980s.

ZX80 and ZX Spectrum

5.) Multiple Choice Question

The early 80s will inspire in many adults some happy memories of loading computer games by cassette tape. Which of these two was made by Acorn for the BBC?

  1. A
    An old keyboard
  2. B
    An old keyboard

6.) Multiple Choice Question

This was a precursor to the laptop, marketed as a portable PC with built-in monitor and drives. It had a handle to carry it but there were no batteries and it still required plugging in. Its name?

Portable PC
  1. IBM Portable
  2. Compaq Portable

7.) Multiple Choice Question

The home computing market in the 1980s was very competitive and this was a major player by Amstrad. Which model?

Old computer
  1. PC-1512
  2. CPC 464
  3. PCW8256


This is the Acorn Archimedes A310 which was released in 1987 and was hugely successful in schools. The red function keys were a nod to its predecessor, the BBC Micro.

Old computer

8.) Multiple Choice Question

This console, released in 1990, was never a monster seller but quickly became a cult classic with its distinctive arcade-style games. Can you identify it, with its logo removed?

Old console
  1. NEC PC Engine
  2. Atari Jaguar
  3. SNK Neo Geo

9.) Multiple Choice Question

Here, with its logos blurred, is a console that promised much, including a 32-bit processor, but failed to conquer its competitors in the market. Which is it?

Old console
  1. Sega Saturn
  2. Atari Jaguar
  3. Panasonic 3DO

10.) Multiple Choice Question

Obviously it's an Apple, but name the exact model.

An Apple
  1. iMac G3
  2. iMac G4
  3. eMac


  1. It's the PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor-1), made by Digital Equipment Corporation. Its standard memory was the equivalent of 9Kb. There are only three still in existence, all in the Computer History Museum in California.
  2. It's the PET (Personal Electronic Transactor), introduced by Commodore in 1977 and regarded as the first all-in-one home computer. Very successful in the schools market.
  3. It's the Apple II, released in 1977. The model was totally revamped several times and sales only ceased in 1993.
  4. It's the ZX80, which entered the market in 1980 and was the first computer in the UK available for less than £100. Click NEXT to compare it to the iconic ZX Spectrum, which came out two years later.
  5. It's the original BBC Micro by Acorn, which was commonly used as a learning aid in schools and as a home computer. It later earned cult status, partly helped by its use in the production of Dr Who and by synth bands like Yazoo. The other picture is the Atari ST.
  6. It's the IBM Portable PC 5155, which came out in 1984.
  7. It's the Amstrad CPC 464. The CPC series was first introduced by Amstrad in 1984 and lasted into the the early 90s. The 464 was the first, brought in as a direct challenge to the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum. Click NEXT to see another 80s icon.
  8. It's the Neo Geo. Its last official cartridge was released in 2004, making it one of history's longest serving consoles.
  9. It was the Sega Saturn, released in 1994. The machine is reputed to have suffered from the Osborne effect, where sales were destroyed by the early announcement of its replacement, the Dreamcast.
  10. It's an eMac - short for education Mac. The computer, unveiled in 2002 and sold until 2006, was aimed primarily at schools and educational institutions. Some of the pictures in this quiz were courtesy of The Ilex Press.

Your Score

0 - 3 : Pong

4 - 7 : Outrun

8 - 10 : Super Mario

For a complete archive of past quizzes and our weekly news quiz, 7 days 7 questions, visit the Magazine page and scroll down.

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