dK'Tronics

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dk'tronics
Industry Video games and computer peripherals
Fate Dissolved
Founded 1981
Defunct 24 May 1993
Headquarters Hardware production: Great Yarmouth
Administration: Saffron Walden
Key people David Heelas (director), Roger Barnard (PR/Advertising), Neil Rawlingson (finance director)
Employees 50
Subsidiaries Currah

The company dk'tronics was software and hardware company during the 1980s. It primarily made peripherals for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC but also released video games for the Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore Vic 20, BBC Micro, Memotech, MSX and Amstrad platforms.[1]

History[edit]

The company's first product was a 16Kb expansion pack for the ZX80, released just prior to the launch of the ZX81. At this time the company consisted only of David Heelas, working part-time through his interest in electronics.[2] When the ZX81 was launched, he went full-time – manufacturing, packaging and posting from his home – and by the end of 1981 he had four employees. Hardware production expanded to include new keyboards for the ZX81 and for the newly released ZX Spectrum.

By 1984, dk'tronics had around 50 personnel, with Heelas as managing director. He was also looking into the possibility of becoming a computer manufacturer, specifically with a low-cost processor for the leisure market. It was planned to have an integrated screen and music keyboard.

Due to the company's success and good press coverage, in 1985 dk'tronics were approached by management from Currah (most noted for their Microspeech speech synthesis peripheral.[3]) After talks, dk'tronics acquired Currah for a "substantial five-figure sum". Technology acquired from Currah included the microSource, an Assembler/Forth 'on-board' ROM.

Software[edit]

David Heelas was known to be critical of the hype attempted by other software companies in the gaming press and took pride in the professional position adopted by dk'tronics.[4]

Software was published between 1982 and 1985, and included works from regular programmers such as Don Priestley.

Partial list of games[edit]

  • 3D Tanx (1982), Don Priestley (an early success, selling 140,000 copies[1])
  • Maziacs (1983), Don Priestley, supported the Currah MicroSpeech
  • Zig Zag[5] (1984), Ed Hickman, supported the Currah MicroSpeech
  • Popeye (1985), Don Priestley

External links[edit]

  • dk'tronics (miscapitalised "DK'Tronics") at World of Spectrum
  • "Currah vow of silence" news article from Sinclair User issue 36, March 1985, regarding dk'tronics' acquisition of Currah and subsequent trouble with Welwyn; retrieved from Sinclair User Magazine Online

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "dk'tronics Revisited" article from CRASH issue 9, October 1984; retrieved from CRASH The Online Edition
  2. ^ "Minding his own business" from Your Spectrum issue 13, April 1985
  3. ^ Currah Microspeech review from CRASH issue 2, March 1984; retrieved from CRASH The Online Edition
  4. ^ "Minder Tronics" news article from CRASH issue 10, November 1984; retrieved from CRASH The Online Edition
  5. ^ CRASH 15 - CRASH Back