Amstrad PC 1512: my first PC

Do you know the Amstrad PC 1512? If you were born in the 21st century, there is no chances that you’ll answer yes ! For me, this is my first PC. The opportunity to take stock of this machine and take us back to the end of the 80s.

I was recently able to retest my very first computer, an Amstrad PC 1512. To my surprise, it was fully functional. I wasn’t too worried about the machine itself, but I was more worried about how well the floppy disks would hold up over time.

But in the end, it started on the first try, and I was able to find old memories.

Amstrad PC 1512

Amstrad PC 1512: the conf

Amstrad is best known for its range of CPCs, but with this computer they have met with great commercial success because of its quality/price ratio. Afterwards, not to be compared with our current standards ?

Hang on:

Processor: Intel 8086 at 8MHz
Hard drive: None
RAM: 512Ko
Graphics: CGA grayscale (there was a version with color monitor)
Floppy disks: 1 (or 2) 5 1/4 inch drive(s)


OS and office tools

Of course, don’t look for a Windows version here.
It was supplied with MS DOS 3.2 and GEM Desktop 2.0 in graphical interface. The latter made it possible to have a graphical interface, in order to navigate with the mouse (two ball keys of course) in folders or to launch software.
I invite you to consult the Gem Desktop WikiPedia file for more information.

In any case, for the time, and for a family PC, the list of software provided was already quite complete. Because there was already a word processor (GEM Write), a drawing software (GEM Paint), a spreadsheet (Calcomat) and a database management software (Superbase) among other things.

It was also possible to code in Basic, the opportunity for me at the time to make my first lines of code (but by simply copying an example, the first lines of code of my own having been entered on a TI92, I refers to the article on the subject on this blog ).


Of course, it was also possible to play. With my brother, we spent quite a few hours playing our first video games on this machine. Among the games that have marked us, we can mention among others:

  • Pop Corn , a game that left its mark, and launched Christophe Lacaze and Frédérick Raynal. The latter being known for having then created “Alone in the Dark” and “Little Big Adventure”
  • Hard Drivin, car racing, grayscale for us due to CGA
  • Pick ‘n Pile
  • Prince of Persia that we do not present I think
  • Welltris , a derivative of Tetris
  • Double Dragon II
  • License to Kill , the James Bond game of the same name
  • Snow Strike , which if I remember correctly was the very first game we played on the Amstrad PC 1512

I’m certainly forgetting some, we’re talking about reviving 30-year-old memories ?

In addition to being able to play it on the old PC when I was able to turn it back on, I was also able to install a good part of it on the arcade cabinet that I set up with a Raspberry Pi . Indeed, on distributions like Retropie, you can run DOS games. On a good arcade this is not necessarily the most practical because you have to do keyboard input from time to time. However, the problem can be solved with small bluetooth keyboards.

As a final bonus, here is an advertisement from the time for the Amstrad PC 1512 ?


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