Tekniikan Maailma 16/1983 ORIC-1 review

Tekniikan Maailma, a high quality Finnish magazine that focuses on all kinds of technical things such as cars, boats, motorcycles, televisions, video tape recorders, blu-ray players, microwave ovens, home computers, and so on, published an article about the ORIC-1 microcomputer. Here is a shot of the page 124 of their 16/1983 issue:

tekniikan maailma 16 1983 page 124 oric 1

Tekniikan Maailma starts their article by stating that ORIC-1 belongs to the class of affordable home computers. They also go on to say that it is reminiscent of Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Then they mention that this computer was released too early in the UK, in a prototype stage, resulting in negative reviews in the British press. However, they assure that the bugs have been fixed and that ORIC-1 strives to achieve a notable market share in Finland.

The "notable market share", of course, never materialized in Finland, just like it did not in most countries. ORIC-1 was never that popular, after all.

Tekniikan Maailma says that the ORIC-1 keyboard is similar compared to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum's, but it is not possible to type BASIC language statements with one key press. They also wonder why this computer has no power button, exactly like Spectrum and New Brain.

According to their article, BASIC language is rather large, about 100 statements. This BASIC contains REPEAT and UNTIL commands that lead to "cleaner BASIC programs than those using GOTOs".

Sound programming features get some praise from the reviewer. He says ORIC-1 is much better than Spectrum in this respect, and of course he is quite right. Sinclair ZX Spectrum sounds are pretty terrible, in all honesty. We have to admit that.

With respect to the graphics features, Tekniikan Maailma says they are completely comparable with Spectrum.

The manual draws some criticism. This ORIC-1 has been shipped with a 164-page manual that is in English, but the Finnish translation is in progress at the time of the writing of the review. The reviewer goes on to say that the manual is a kind of a compromise that is not suitable for either beginners or more experienced users. Tekniikan Maailma would have preferred two separate manuals, one for the total beginners and another for the more advanced users.

Regarding available software, they say that there is a modest amount of utility programs and games for ORIC-1. They mention a database program and a word processing program. Of games, they think a chess program would be the most interesting. About the ORIC-1 tape recorder interface they say that it contains two speeds: slow and fast, and according to them the fast mode is very useful provided that the tape recorder is set up correctly and is in good shape.

Tekniikan Maailma concludes their review by stating that ORIC-1 is a hobbyist's computer that can be used for doing "something useful". By that they mean: you can do other things besides playing games. Back in the 1980s, Finland was much like Soviet Union: gray, sad and unhappy. In the negative Soviet spirit, it was simply not acceptable to buy a home computer just for gaming and general fun, but you had to do "something useful" to justify your purchase. Remember that happiness and playfulness were big sins in the Soviet Union, and being a neighbour, Finland was under a lot of pressure to mimick the Soviet way of life in every way possible.