Free Usborne 1980s computer books

With the growth in computer science teaching in the UK since the introduction of the new Computing curriculum, many teachers have been reminded of their own youths sat in front of BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum and other ‘old school’ computers, writing programs from magazines and hoping that they would execute properly so they could play another home brew game.

To further indulge in this reminiscence, why not take a look back at the excellent Usborne computer science books, released in the 1980s. Usborne have released a number of these original texts as free PDFs on their website.

The free titles, which can be downloaded from here, include:

  • Programming Tricks and Skills
  • Machine Code for Beginners
  • Computer Programming – BASIC for Beginners
  • Practical Things to do with a Microcomputer
  • Computer Spy Games
  • Weird Computer Games
  • Creepy Computer Games
  • Computer Battlegames
  • Computer Spacegames
  • The Mystery of Silver Mountain (A computer adventure game)
  • Island of Secrets (A computer adventure game)
  • Write Your Own Fantasy Games for Your Microcomputer
  • Write Your Own Adventure Programs for Your Microcomputer
  • Computer Fun (First Computer Library)
  • Simple BASIC (First Computer Library

If nothing else, these are a really interesting look back at computing publications of yesteryear and for many will be a nice bit of nostalgia.

I also think that they would be great printed in high quality and put in a school library, or distributed to primary and secondary computer science students in digital form for those interested in finding out more about the history of computing, and especially for those who (perhaps via their parents or through school) have access to an older computing device.

All of the year groups I currently teach (Years 5-8) also cover a brief History of Computing Unit, and these publications could form a small part of that in the future.

How could you make use of these free publications?