Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dragon 32

You can keep your sleek Apple, Sony, Toshiba, Dell and HP computers - I want a Dragon 32 microcomputer with a chunky keyboard and futuristic red dragon motif. Launched in August 1982 the Dragon has come to be regarded as Wales's only ever genuine home computer. The company behind the project - Dragon Data Ltd of Port Talbot - was hoping to cash in on the domestic computer boom of the era. Costing £175 the Dragon was aimed at adults and kids alike. Initial sales were promising with over 40,000 units sold within its first year mainly through Dixons and Boots the Chemist. Other outlets included Merthyr Micros and Cwmbran Computer Centre. Punters were kept up-to-date with product developments via house magazine Dragon User. The Dragon's main plus point was that it had more raw computational power than many of its rivals. Its multi-port functionality also made it popular with hobbyists, as did its spacious motherboard which proved ideal for home modification. In addition it was great for playing games such as Donkey King. But the Dragon also had fatal weaknesses. Its graphical capabilities were inferior to those of its competitors; even worse it struggled to display lower-case letters. These limitations excluded it from the increasingly lucrative office and educational markets. Although a Dragon 64 model was launched it was quickly outstripped by the likes of Commodore, Spectrum, Acorn and Atari and in June '84 Dragon Data Ltd went bankrupt and collapsed. Dragon was eventually taken over by GEC and thereafter ceased to be a Welsh company.