We live in an age of hyperbole, where a couple of modest successes are enough to elevate someone to legendary status – at least in the eyes of a rapidly churning pop culture. This week we said goodbye to a genuine legend, Sir Clive Sinclair, whose vision virtually defined the British games industry – and by extension huge swathes of the modern gaming landscape. Ironic, given that gaming was perhaps the furthest thing from Sinclair's mind when he was creating his first home computers in the early 1980s.
Sinclair was an inventor first, a businessman second. Born in 1940, he was a precociously gifted child, particularly good at mathematics, and both his father and grandfather were accomplished engineers. A voracious reader and tinkerer, he spent his school holidays teaching himself the things that his secondary school could not, and by the age of 14 had reportedly already come up with a design for a submarine. History, sadly, does not recall if he ever attempted to build and sail it.
Fascinated by the new technology of electronics, the young Sinclair took holiday jobs at relevant companies and tried to pitch his managers with ideas for electric vehicles – an obsession that would run throughout his career, and one of many examples of how far ahead of his time he was.