Despite its initial launch as a system designed for the business market, some of the first programs released for the Sinclair QL were games software, which made the most of its screen with 4 colours in 512x256 resolution, or 8 colours in 256 x 256 resolution. Many of the early games were based on classic games produced for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, although enhanced ot make full use of the higher screen resolution, with later games software taking advantage of the higher speed, and graphics resolutions available on emulators and the Aurora replacement motherboard.

A wide range of programming utilities were also released, aimed fully at the reputation which the SInclair QL had for attracting tinkerers interested in learning to program on the QL and to use all of its facilities (indeed the QL user group - Quanta is actually short for QL Users and Tinkerers Association).

Business and programming software also blossomed on the QL, with Sage basing their later PC versions of accounts packages on the original Sinclair QL accounting packages, and Linus Torvalds (the author of the Linux operating system) also learned a lot of his art on the humble Sinclair QL, writing his own assembler program, text editor and games for the machine.

The following is intended to be a full list of all the software titles published for the Sinclair QL, with links to pages within this wiki.

Arcade Games

From platforms to shoot 'em ups, the Sinclair QL's original 4 colours in 512x256 resolution or 8 colours in 256x256 pixels (with the ability to add flash to each pixel) heralded a surprisingly wide range of Arcade Games. Later developments, such as the Aurora graphics motherboard and QL emulators enhanced the resolution, both in terms of pixels and colours, which has been further used to develop better arcade games.

This section forms a list of the most popular arcade games for the Sinclair QL

Board Games

A series of classic board games was produced for the Sinclair QL, including backgammon, othello and chess.

Card Games

Various games were released for the Sinclair QL based on popular card games.

Other Types of Games

Various other types of games were released for the Sinclair QL which do not fit into the standard Board Games or Arcade Games category.

Graphic Adventures

Although most adventure games written for the Sinclair QL were text only, as authors began to realise the full capability of the QL's graphic system, we started to see a shift towards graphic adventures, where everything was controlled by the joystick or cursor keys and people did not have to understand how to use the complicated parsers which tried to understand your commands.

Text Adventures

Soon after the Sinclair QL was launched in 1984, text adventures were offered by various software houses - Lost Kingdom of Zkul was the first one produced, which was a realtime adventure. Perhaps the most famous was QL Pawn by Magnetic Scrolls, which was (alas) the only Level-9 adventure to make it to the Sinclair QL. Later adventures incorporated a mixture of text and graphics, and tools which enabled the QL's screen to be split so that the top half was in Mode 8 (for graphics) and the bottom half in Mode 4 (for text) ensured that adventures really took off on the QL.

Educational Software

There does not appear to have been a great deal of educational software produced for the Sinclair QL - maybe it was thought that the kids were all too busy playing games on the ZX Spectrum (a foreboding of times to come!)

Business Software

Bearing in mind that the Sinclair QL was originally launched as a small business machine, it is no surprise that a wealth of programs were released which were aimed squarely at the Business market.


The Sinclair QL really took off as a programmers and hobbyists dream computer - as a result a wide range of utilities were produced for the computer, many of which built on the simple menu structure which was introduced through Psion's Quill word processor and then switching to the graphical icon interface, which was made popular on the Apple Macintosh.

QL Front Ends

The QL was born in an age which predated even DOS, everything was command line driven, and one program loaded in at a time. The Sinclair QL introduced the prospect of multitasking to the computer world, and with extra memory and better bigger storage mediums, front ends were introduced to make it easier to select which program you wished to launch and switch between running jobs (programs).


Various programming languages were produced for the Sinclair QL, including many ported from other computers.


Various emulators were produced for the Sinclair QL to enable it to emulate other computers, such as the Sinclair ZX81, ZX Spectrum, IBM PC and CP/M based computers.

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  • Last modified: 2017/09/04 09:53
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