Sir Clive Sinclair died today, aged 81. For pretty much everyone aged 40-55 in Great Britain, he was a massively influential pop culture figure, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk rolled into one but without the megalomania. Known as "Uncle Clive", he invented the pocket calculator in the seventies, but in the eighties brought us the home computing revolution with the affordable ZX80, ZX81, and ZX Spectrum. It is the reason that Britain managed to get an early toe in the door of computer game creation, and why we still bat above our weight even today. The homebrew nature of the ZX Spectrum in Britain also created an entire genre of computer and gaming-related magazines, which fostered even more talents such as Marcus Berkmann, Charlie Brooker, and a certain Kieron Gillen too. Sir Clive Sinclair earned millions, and spent those millions inventing a variety of doomed electric-powered home vehicles, which would have been great if he was doing it today. Oh yes, and he hung around with Lalla Ward, which fuelled even greater geek dreams. Here's what a few comic book and comic book-adjacent people had to say about his passing.
- Edgar Wright: For someone whose first glimpses of a brave new world were the terrifying graphics of 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81, I'd like to salute tech pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair. He made 21st Century dreams feel possible. Will bash away on the rubber keys of a Spectrum in your honour. RIP.
- Gary Whitta: Sir Clive Sinclair has died. One of the 20th century's great genius inventors and a true father of the modern computing age. I'm not sure I'd be where I am today were it not for his ZX Spectrum igniting my love of computers and games. RIP.
- Tom Watson: Very sad to hear that Clive Sinclair has died. This man changed the course of my life. And arguably, the digital age for us in the UK started with the Sinclair ZX80, when thousands of kids learnt to code using 1k of RAM. For us, the Spectrum was like a Rolls Royce with 48k.
- PJ Holden: Britain's Elon Musk (for people too young to understand who he was). Though I wouldn't take a hundred Musks for one Sir Clive.
- Dominik Diamond: Wouldn't have had a career without this guy. Horace Goes Skiing on the ZX Spectrum. The rest is history. Sadder news than getting an R Tape Loading Error after ten minutes. Rest In Peace, genius man. #CliveSinclair. All your UK videogame companies today were built on the shoulders of giants who made games for the ZX Spectrum. You cannot exaggerate Sir Clive Sinclair's influence on the world. And if we'd all stopped laughing long enough to buy a C5 he'd probably have saved the environment
- Jay Gunn: News has reached me that Clive Sinclair has died. If it was not for his affordable micro computer I might not have survived the implosion of my family life as a teen. Thank you for providing me with a doorway to a new life in then pioneering burgeoning digital Creative Arts. RIP
- Gary Erskine: Clive Sinclair passes at 81. A generation of kids were introduced to computing through the ZX81 and the ZX Spectrum.
- Tony Lee: Gutted to learn that Sir Clive Sinclair has died – my first computer was a ZX81, and I can honestly say that without my first paid writing job as a 'Your Sinclair' games reviewer in 1987, I wouldn't be where I am today. Ride that C5 to the heavens, Clive. #RIPSirClive
- Jaz Rignall: Sad to hear that pioneering technologist Sir Clive Sinclair died today. His groundbreaking ZX Spectrum and ZX81 home micros helped kickstart the British computer industry and usher in a new era of interactive entertainment. His products inspired and delighted millions.
- Adrian Petford: RIP Sir Clive Sinclair, my hero. Thank you for setting me and millions of others on our first steps into computing. I am writing this at the same desk my ZX Spectrum sat on four decades ago. Many computers have come and gone in the years since, but none were ever like that one.
- Antony Johnston: Oh, this is very sad. A genuine icon. Middle-aged Brit Twitter is full of terrible Spectrum 48K puns about Sir Clive Sinclair's passing and it's kind of wonderful.
- Paul Parsons: I'm not sure any kid today will get a revolution quite so game-changing simply shoved in front of them #sinclair #rip
For the last were, we turn to MJ Hibbert's song, Hey Hey 16K, which features the Sir Clive Sinclair image from above.