I've been on a little bit of a Timex/Sinclair kick lately, snooping through the old Sync and Timex Sinclair User magazines online and such. I didn't realize there was such a large aftermarket industry for hardware addons, RAM expansions, sound interfaces, printers, video kits, disk systems (!), joystick interfaces, keyboards/enclosures, etc. And of course there were loads of software and games, even many British-produced ones that made their way over via licensees and importers, and even companies like Quicksilva, Melbourne House, and Sinclair themselves setting up offices in the U.S. I suppose it stands to reason since the ZX81 was a monster in the UK and in Europe, and even saw a flash of popularity in North America, along with the TS1000. Kinda cute, such a goofy little system being as expandable and customizable as "the big boys."
Getting to the point, it was possible, evidently, to become quite invested in a Timex/Sinclair system if one were so inclined. And that made me think of the followings and scenes that other systems and brands had garnered, and how often that devolves into fanboyism. It then occurred to me that while I have seen Atari 7800 fanboys, Jaguar fanboys, and fanboys of other platforms conventional wisdom would probably deem undeserving of such fanaticism, I've never, ever heard of a Timex/Sinclair or ZX81 fanboy. Which is as logical as it is puzzling; yes, it was an unbelievably underpowered and cheap piece of hardware in every sense, but it was also immensely popular for a time.
I mean, yeah, the TS1000/ZX81 has its proponents, people who use it and enjoy it for what it is, and even a flourishing homebrew scene. But I don't think any of them are going around saying it's a better system than an Atari 400 or VIC-20 or TRS-80 Color or what have you.
I would love to see a flamewar between a Timex guy and a C64 guy.
(Sidebar: As improbable as this probably seems, I once had a guy talk to me at MGC about my Channel F, like it was the pinnacle of videogames; he actually said videogames went to shit as soon as the Atari came out. He was dead serious. )