Saturday , July 24 2021

My favorite children's gadget from the '80s, Speak & Spell, is back



I do not remember when in my life I first entered Speak & Spell – this was in the early 80's when I was four or five years old – but I remember that I was surprised that my parents allowed me to I touch and play with them. This wonderful technology, when other devices such as VCR and stereo were strictly prohibited.

Now there is a new Speak & Spell for kids that are not completely ready for this outdated phone or tablet that you still have.

After the introduction of the classical educational title, Oregon's way, the new generation of children with the first portable version of the Basic Fun! revives another classic electronic toy from my youth and my first real obsession.

According to today's standards, Speak & Spell is extremely primitive, but when introduced by Texas Instruments at CES in 1978, it was one of the first handheld devices that included an electronic screen, expansion cartridges and a speech synthesis mechanism that could speak and wrote more than 200 words.

He even functioned on one of the first microprocessors, the TMS1000, which was a powerful pig that would quickly empty four C-size batteries.

The most impressive was the computer music Speak & Spell, which was so fascinating to me as a child that I still can clearly hear her rough, slightly incomprehensible excuses in my head, although I am hard to remember, the voices of all my friends from childhood.

Even when I was at a university, we dug out a robotic voice for a radio show because, for any tragic reason, Speak & Spell, who grew up, died and was Marie Kondo's parents. RIP is my old friend.

Telephones, tablets, and even handheld video games have since filled the niche Speak & Spell that has been populated so well, but if you want your children to learn to spell the same way as you, or simply looking for a cheaper gadget, which is not. Since this is fragile as a glass and plastic panel, this new version can be appealing.

Basic Fun! worked hard to make his recreation as true to the original as possible; with some compromises. A child-friendly, dust-proof keypad (in alphabetical order) is still here, as are all the original game modes, while the simple segmented screen has been updated with a semi-modular LCD technology.

To make it more user-friendly, the new Speak & Spell now contains additional voice commands that provide brief instructions when switching between different modes of play, while the original only contains them in a printed instruction manual with limited memory for storing voice. commands.

Where the new Speak & Spell differs from the original – and this could be for some searchers of nostalgia – this might be appropriate for interruption, it is his voice. Instead of a synthesizer that creates spoken words from a set of coded instructions, Basic Fun! & # 39; S Speak & Spell uses voice recordings that have been processed sound as if they were generated by a computer.

Monotonous, compressed broadcast sounds very close to the original version, but it is definitely different.

This will probably deter some Speak & Spell fans to drop the US25 ($ 35) to the new version when it comes to the US in the spring. I remember that I occasionally frustrated my Speak & Spell when I could not understand it, so the new version might be a better learning tool because of minor upgrades.

The date of the Australian publication has not yet been published.

[Basic Fun!]

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