The Oric 1 was a British computer that gained reasonable popularity in Europe during the early eighties. It could be described as a direct competitor to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, but never did it gain the intense rivalry that ensued between Sir Clive's baby and Commodore's prime 8-Bit machine.
However, the Oric 1 was a notable addition to eight-bit ranks that were being manufactured at that time.
Like the ZX Spectrum, the machine came in both a 16K and 48K version. A small plotter-printer was also available, as well as a micro drive. The sound chip incorporated in the machine was the same one that was installed within Amstrad CPC, MSX Computers and the Atari ST.
The chicklet keyboard had a total of fifty seven keys, including stand alone cursor keys and a large spacebar, which did give it a further advantage over the ZX Spectrum (mind you, the calculator style keys only offered a marginal increase in typing speedcompared to the Sinclair and it's soft rubber buttons). Having said all of that, every other computer at that time had a better keyboard than the Spectrum, so it never really gained any wow factor on that front.
The machine was powered by the 6502a processor running at a g-force inducing 1Mhz, although it did have a co-processor to help things along. It could display text at 40X28 and graphics at 240X200 which was a high resolution mode. Again in matching the Spectrum eight colours were available to the user. As mentioned above it was blessed with a decent sound generator, which was the AY-3-8912 chip which gave commendable service to many other machines (and games consoles)during the 1980's.
The Oric 1 was a rather cool looking machine back in 1983, but this cool exterior masked a less than cool ROM, which was more buggy than Mr buggy from planet bug. This certainly hastened the Oric 1's demise. Many users had problems when loading programs in from cassette too, the process could be very unreliable. Not to mention annoying.
Due to these issues the machine never became a machine known for classic arcade games. The amount of computer games available for it was paltry when compared to the ZX Spectrum or the Commodore 64.
The Oric 1 came and went without much of a fanfare, and gave way to the increasing popularity of the Sinclair and Commodore machines. It did however pave the way for the improved (but not as cool looking) Oric Atmos.
Give the machine a wave anyway. A decent retro computer
We recommend trying to pick up one of these machines.
Look at computers for sale online or even locally.
If you don't want to get hold of the real hardware then try and download an emulator and
download those classic games. Alternatively you could try and play them online.
COMPUTER NAME: ORIC 1
MANUFACTURER: Oric / Tangerine
MACHINE TYPE: 8-bit Home Micro
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK
RELEASE YEAR: 1983
END OF PRODUCTION: January 16th 1984
BUILT IN LANGUAGE(S): Retro Computers - v1.0
KEYBOARD: Chicklet keyboard (57 keys) - similar to calculator keys
SPEED: 1 MHz
CO-PROCESSOR: Custom gate array chip
RAM: 16 KB or 48 KB
ROM: 16 KB
TEXT MODES: 40 x 28
GRAPHIC MODES: 240 x 200 (high resolution)
SOUND: Programmable Sound Generator AY-3-8912 (from General Instruments) 3 voices, 8 octaves + white noise
SIZE / WEIGHT: 28 (W) x 17.8 (D) x 1.5 (H) cm / 848 g
I/O PORTS: Bus, Printer, Tape, RGB
POWER SUPPLY: External power supply unit
PERIPHERALS: 4-pen plotter printer, 3'' floppy disk drive unit
PRICE: £129.95 for 16K model with starter pack (UK 1983)
Retro Computers and classic games