I know I'm not alone in clutching it to my hairy bosom, but if I was forced to have my memory wiped of all but one games system, the Spectrum is the one I'd choose to keep. It was the point at which I properly understood the potential of games - the breadth of its catalogue displaying more imagination and creativity than that of any rival home computer.
I played a lot of diverse games back then - let's face it, we all did thanks to the ubiquity of illegal C90 cassettes being passed around among mates - but one of the system's most potent selling points were its arcade conversions.
A machine as objectively limited should not have been able to offer any half-decent conversions of games designed for hardware costing thousands of pounds... and yet, somehow, the Spectrum provided a ton of them. And here are 10 of my favourites.
Watch this Sunday's ep of Digitiser, where I make an impassioned defence of the Speccy.
Indeed, I loved it so much that I went on to buy it for my Atari ST, when I eventually manipulated my parents into buying me one for Christmas. Ha ha - yeah, I did loads of "homework" on it, idiots.
Somehow, the Speccy version was the more impressive of the two, purely because it managed to cram in everything from the arcades - with an obvious, primary-coloured downgrade to the visuals - onto a system that should, in theory, not have been able to handle it.
I'm saying it now: Chase HQ was arguably the best Speccy racer - and probably one of the top Spectrum games ever, regardless of genre. Admittedly, the frame rate would give most modern gamers an aneurysm, but they'd have been more than comfortable with the long loading times; one of the few iffy aspects of this near-flawless adaptation.
What really impressed is how smooth and fast it all was. Had it been an entirely original game, and not an arcade conversion available on all the home systems, it would probably be regarded as a Spectrum classic. Because, and yes I am about to commit heresy, it's a FAR better game than Jet Set Willy. I mean, at least you could actually complete it.
Another one I also got for my Atari ST, because - I'm realising now - that was a thing that I did.
Yes, it was a bit hard on the eyes, it flickered and twitched like a rabid tramp on detox day, and it lacked the original's sublime soundtrack... but it had the most important element; the 3D checkerboard ground.
Given the lack of saves, I confess that there weren't many Spectrum games I played to the end. Space Harrier was a rare exception. And I only had twelve epileptic fits along the way.
Nevertheless, I still shudder at the bits where the gates would open and a swarm of enemies would come flooding out. I don't want to underplay the experiences of anyone who has actually fought in a war, but I think Commando might've been more harrowing.
Plus, while it may have been official, it certainly wasn't the first interpretation of Star Wars on the Spectrum (Starstrike had ripped it off three years earlier, and arguably might've been the better game). Nonetheless, Star Wars was imbued with the whiff of an official license - and so long as you didn't actually play the thing, was as close to arcade-perfect as you could've hoped for.
It's pretty remarkable all told, succeeding in capturing that scrolling beat 'em up feel, with some gorgeous background art. It also serves as a demonstration of just how the Spectrum remains close to so many hearts, and that developers are still managing to squeeze the last drips of power out of it.
Whatever happened to Bomb Jack anyway? One of the great forgotten 80s gaming characters. He even had a funny hat!
Among one of Mikie's more questionable tactics is using his disgusting fat anus to bump his classmates from their seats, thus revealing the hearts concealed beneath. And also: throwing entire roast chickens at people. We've all done it.
The game did a fine job of consolidating the limitations of the Speccy with the arcade original - and stands alongside Skool Daze and Back to Skool as one of the system's finest, and most accurate, depictions of school life.
Do you remember when kids would play Kiss Chase? Dirty little perverts. Thanks a lot for never asking me to join in, 'cause I never wanted to play your disgusting sexual harassment game anyway, no matter how fun it looked.