A home computer is a computer which is used in the home rather than a place of work. In computing, the term "home computer" usually refers to the computers produced during the 1980s, the period when computers started to become cheap enough for the general public to start buying them.
The first home computers were primarily bought by computing hobbyists, but when game software became available they entered somewhat wider use for games. The early term microcomputer generally refers to home computers that pre-date the IBM PC (5150), which was released in 1981.
In a manner resembling the expansion of new animal forms in the Cambrian period, large numbers of new machines of all types, including such exotica as the Forth-based Jupiter Ace appeared on the market, and disappeared again. A few types remained for much longer, some, such as the BBC Micro still having a devoted following, but by the end of the decade most were squeezed out between the IBM PC-compatibles and the newer generations of video game consoles.
Many of these computers were superficially similar, having a usually very cheap-to-manufacture keyboard integrated into the processor unit and displaying output on a home television. Many used audio compact cassette as a (notoriously unreliable) storage mechanism, floppy disk drives were very expensive at the time. Cheapness was the order of the day for most of these machines.
Most computers employ an operating system which acts as an interface between the operator and the computer's internal hardware devices and central processing unit. Software is any additional application which sits above the operating system to perform a specific task, e.g. wordprocessor.
As many older computers have become obsolete it has become popular amongst enthusiasts to enable one type of computer to emulate another via the use of emulation software[?]. Thus, many of the operating environments for the computers listed below can be recreated on a modern PC.
See also Personal computer.
List (incomplete) of home computers: