back to article Sinclair is back with the Spectrum Vega ... just as rubbish as the ZX

The Spectrum fanbois at Retro Computers have enlisted the help of Sir Clive to launch a new crowd-funded Spectrum clone. The Sinclair Spectrum Vega is a console that plays games from the '80s – complete with piezo speaker-generated sound and attribute clash. The Vega is being marketed by Retro Computers Ltd, a Luton-based …

  1. phil dude

    calendar check....

    No, still not April 1st...


    1. Steve Evans

      Re: calendar check....

      If it's a true clone, it'll start shipping in July at the earliest.

      1. Jason Hindle Silver badge

        Re: calendar check....

        Of course, it will have problems that can only be fixed with the addition of a dongle.

        1. Marcus Aurelius

          Re: calendar check....

          ..held on by BluTac

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: calendar check....

            Blu tac/velcro/cable ties or any leading brand of two-part, industrial strength adhesive. Oh wait, that was the ZX81 ram pack. :D

            1. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: calendar check....

              "Blu tac/velcro/cable ties or any leading brand of two-part, industrial strength adhesive"

              None of which ever worked, as I remember only too clearly!

              Although the firmware that decreed that the RAM pack would only wobble just before your 10 minute save to tape had completed was pretty impressive for the time.

          2. Lamont Cranston

            Re: "held on by BluTac"

            A loose internal connection meant that my +3 (I know, and I'm sorry) was fixed by jamming a Rubik's Snake between the Multiface and (I think) the video cable.

            After I sold it to my more technically-minded friend, he popped the case off and soldered the connection back together. I still think that folding the Snake to exactly the right shape was the more satisfying solution.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: calendar check....

          "Of course, it will have problems that can only be fixed with the addition of a dongle."

          And slightly more seriously - a proper keyboard and Basic interpreter. Just wheeling out a spectrum clone as nothing more than a games machine completely misses the point of 80s 8 bit machines.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: calendar check....

        If it's a true clone, it'll start shipping in July at the earliest.

        Which year would that be?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: calendar check....

          Although Sir Clive's definition of "28 days" in "allow 28 days for delivery" was more flexible than his customers', even he never managed to stretch it to a year.

          Also, I take exception to the article's tone (I'm cancelling my subscription, etc...). He's not making it himself. It's easy money, he gives it his blessing and if it sells he gets a cut, if it doesn't sell or the project folds then he's not really any worse off. If he decided to make life difficult for the project then that would generate bad publicity and people might not forgive him when he comes out with his portable jetpac(k) or whatever's next.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        f it's a true clone, it'll start shipping in July at the earliest

        And supply will be severely restricted due to unanticipated excessive demand. The opportunity will be taken by someone selling a clone of the old BBC micro to push a few units.

        This will also educate a generation of kids whose idea of a low level language means assembly and copy protection schemes are not thwarted by the always online internet DRM.

        Now we only need a flamewar between Spectrum, BBC and C64 owners to complete the trip back to those golden times.

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: f it's a true clone, it'll start shipping in July at the earliest

          "And supply will be severely restricted due to unanticipated excessive demand. The opportunity will be taken by someone selling a clone of the old BBC micro to push a few units."

          Why would I need a clone? The original one still works!

      4. psychonaut

        Re: calendar check....

        if it is a clone - wouldnt the shipping date be may the 4th?

        1. xperroni

          Re: calendar check....

          if it is a clone - wouldnt the shipping date be may the 4th?

          The 4th what? The 4th millennium?!

          Sorry, had to try that out.

        2. Kiwi

          Re: calendar check....

          if it is a clone - wouldnt the shipping date be may the 4th?

          Very well done :)

          (Surprised no one else has picked up... )

  2. Matthew Smith


    The vid clearly shows Scrabble being played. Not sure how far you will get with just R,F and S.

    1. Aqua Marina

      Re: Pfffttt

      As I recall QAOP SPACE were the most common keys used in speccy games. Surely it needs those!

      1. Wize

        Re: Pfffttt

        There were some that used the cursor keys for moving around. Some even used lots of keys, eg Academy (Tau Ceti 2).

        Is that keypad emulating a Kemston interface?

        Didn't vote as I'd only say Yes if it was a full keyboard.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pfffttt

      No scrabble!

    3. S_88

      Re: Pfffttt

      Are you sure you didn't mean chess? I didn't see Scrabble

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Pfffttt

        It's all about the chess 'bout the chess no scrabble

    4. Crisp

      Re: Pfffttt

      You're going to need a J key to LOAD games as well.

    5. Captain Boing

      Re: Pfffttt

      you couldn't spell "pfffttt" for starters

  3. James 51

    It is anything more than a Pi in a big case?

    1. JassMan Silver badge

      @james 51

      They should have done that 'cos there is already a Raspbian remix which allows you to emulate loads of old hardware. Then you could actually run all that old already paid for software.

      In fact they would have gained a lot more credibilty by just selling the spectrum lookalike case with a decent keyboard. The 2 things which really let down the the ZX were the crap keys which only responded to 1 in 3 keypresses and as noted above, the crap video. Ignoring of course the overall reliability, the data storage systems and almost everything else about them.

  4. Psyx

    So... no actual content, yet?

    Let me get this right:

    They're making a thing, but they have absolutely nothing to put on it.

    and they're hoping a few suckers will hand over rights to old game gratis on the promise that *some* of the profits will go to charity.

    hey: If you give me a tenner, I'll give a quid to charity! Aren't I nice?

    1. Squander Two

      Less than £100?

      Bit of a rip-off, if you ask me, when you consider that they could have cut costs even further by stealing all the physical components as well.

  5. Andrew Oakley

    RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

    The original Speccy used an RF modulator (analogue TV signal), not RCA. You had to tune your telly in to the signal, just like any of the other 3-4 terrestrial analogue channels. If you were *really* lucky, it wouldn't clash with the channel already used by your video cassette recorder.

    Not that I care, because I was a Commodore 64 lad, and we all know that the C=64 was better than everything. Also, only brats owned a BBC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      > "Also, only brats owned a BBC."

      That's just racist.

      1. John 156

        Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

        ...and Sexist.

      2. Daniel von Asmuth


        Do you know if the BBC trademark is still being used, so maybe we can revive the Acorn BBC micro?

        1. VinceH

          Re: Kewl!

          "Do you know if the BBC trademark is still being used, so maybe we can revive the Acorn BBC micro?"

          Yes, I believe there's a broadcasting company around here somewhere that owns the BBC trademark (Acorn were using it under licence).

          The Acorn trademark is also not available - that's still owned by a French geezer who's name I've forgotten, and used here. (I have a recollection that they were punting PCs and laptops branded as Acorn, but it doesn't look like it now - but my disabled Javascript might be preventing me seeing the full site.)

        2. Chika

          Re: Kewl!

          Ah yes. No doubt you are referring to that business with the Brown Boveri Company who took umbrage at the use of the term "BBC" to describe Acorn's beast back in the day, hence the hasty redesign of the logo on the Beeb. I think that company were taken over a couple of times since then so their use of "BBC" is likely to have lapsed by now.

          As somebody else pointed out, however, there's still Auntie.

          HEY!!! Who's been taking all my umbrage?

    2. Wilseus

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      That's fighting talk, Oakley!

      1. Andrew Oakley

        Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

        Also, my Atari ST was better than your CBM Amiga.

        Who am I kidding...

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

          "Also, my Atari ST was better than your CBM Amiga.

          Who am I kidding..."

          it was when it came to PRO music (not shitty trackers).....

          See fanbouys, we've been at it a LOT longer than thou.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

            All hail the VIC-20 RAM Expander pack!

            1. Dr_N Silver badge

              Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

              "All hail the VIC-20 RAM Expander pack!"

              Nah, the 3K Super Expander was were it was at.

              1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

                Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

                And the Archimedes let you program real 16bit sound. There was nothing else on the horizon that could touch it!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

            "it was when it came to PRO music (not shitty trackers)....."

            That was only because the Atari ST came with built in midi ports, which are nothing more than serial ports with an opto coupler built in. A $15 box or $1 worth of parts and a soldering iron would fix that as well. It made it slightly easier to develop a midi sequencer on the ST and sell it knowing it would run out of the box.

            As far as rock solid timing is concerend the amiga beat the ST hands down with it's two built in hardware timers. Add 4 hardware sound channels, 4096 original colours, 8 hardware sprites, hardware scrolling and a handful of custom chips to drive all that and more, and you leave the ST in a crackly squeeking pityful mess, calling for its mommy.

            Oh I forgot to mention the pre-emptive multi tasking OS.

            Just sayin' O:-)

            (Just sucks the amiga crowd, or what's left of it, is such an insane bunch of freaks no one in their right mind would want to be associated with them...)

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

              MSX machines from Yamaha stepped up for the music, I think there are still one chip versions being made.

              1. Michael Strorm

                MIDI keyboards costing thousands sounded great... Atari ST itself sounded *dire*!

                ST owners are always rather keen to argue that their machine had better "sound" because its built-in MIDI ports allowed one to *control* a keyboard costing hundreds- if not thousands- of pounds that may have sounded better than the Amiga's *internal* sound chip!

                Let's disregard that one could do the same with a dirt-cheap serial-to-MIDI adaptor on the Amiga (*) and point out how odd it is that they never compare like with like (i.e. the machines' own sound capabilities).

                Okay, so I lied about it being odd- the reason is quite obvious! :-) The ST's internal sound chip- ironically- was utterly primitive by 16-bit standards. It was a barely-improved version of the square-wave AY-3-8910 more commonly found 8-bit machines such as the Oric 1, Amstrad CPC and 128K versions of the Spectrum... and sounded like it too. Sample playback was only possible with processor-intensive "bit bashing" which wasn't practical in games, or indeed most apps (**).

                Nope, it couldn't even play the much-derided sample "tracker" modules while rubbing its stomach at the same time.

                (*) Credit to Atari; it was a clever move by them to include a MIDI port. The ST's poor internal sound didn't matter in that case, and the fact that the Amiga was expensive in its early days (and didn't have MIDI as standard, even though it was a cheap add-on) meant the ST gained traction as the first computer both *affordable* and *powerful* enough for GUI-based sequencer use off the shelf. But that was as much right-place-right-time as anything inherently good about the ST.

                (**) The improved Atari STE supposedly had improved 2-channel Stereo sample support, but apparently didn't do it well. (Jez San, writer of Starglider wrote at the time:- "Stereo sound has been extremely lousily implemented. Only a few fixed sample rates are possible. Maths-intensive software routines will have to be applied to sample data if other frequencies are wanted.") The already-established Amiga didn't have this major limitation. Atari botched any chance the STE of gaining support by selling it at extra cost instead of making it the new base model anyway.

          3. AbelSoul

            Re: PRO music (not shitty trackers).....

            I lost years of my life to trackers, or rather a tracker: the wonderful OctaMED

            8 bit sampler connected via the Parallel port, MIDI gear sequenced via the serial port and external MIDI i/f that you lucky Atari folks already had built in.

            I still have all that gear. Nostalgic silliness preventing me from getting rid.

          4. Psyx

            Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

            Yeah, that old playground argument of 'My Atari is better for music!'

            Except nobody actually made music on the ST - we all just played games...

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

          Also, my Atari ST was better than your CBM Amiga.

          Tell this to me in the back of the bus and see what happens!!

        3. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

          ... and my A3000 BBC Archimedes burned both :-)

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

            Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

            And from the left field comes the Elan Enterprise 128. I still have fond memories of the little joy-sticky thing with the at least half-decent full size keyboard, and a WHOPPING 128 kB of RAM. Even managed to program a discrete Fourier transform on it. It worked, ...., if you were very patient. Won't claim it was better than any other out there, but it shared several features with the Spectrum: Z80 processor, and only appeared WAY after the promised date. What was very nice is that like the Acorn Atom and Electron (we used many of those in the labs) you got the entire schematic, and many ports were properly buffered, so you could add your own external devices without risk of frying the computer.

            Regarding this project: More keys might of course be added if they exceed their target by a sufficient margin

        4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

          Also, my Atari ST was better than your CBM Amiga.

          Who am I kidding...

          I wouldn't give a TOS (1.04)

          IMHO, as an owner of a 520ST, the Amiga was the better machine.

          Joust and Sublogic FS II on the ST - happy days

    3. garden-snail

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      Commode 64 better than a Speccy? Don't make me swear!

    4. goldcd


      BBC owners had parents who'd been sold on it being 'educational' (and were minted).

      Brats all seemed to get a CPC with a colour screen.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Nah


        Oi! I resemble that remark! I had a CPC464 with colour screen and tape deck.

        10 PRINT "goldcd SMELLS OF POO!"

        20 GOTO 10


        1. Nick Woodruffe

          Re: Nah

          line 10, add a space after the exclamation mark otherwise the last and first word will run into each other.

        2. MrCreasy

          Re: Nah

          Back in the 80s, I was rocking a CPC6128 with 3inch internal floppy. It had a dedicated monitor, but we owned an add-on unit to convert it into a tuneable telly. And it actually came with a proper manual. I learned BASIC on that bad-boy, typing out 6+ pages of solid code by hand, to play something resembling arkanoid... Halcyon days.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nah

        Brats were playing Star Raiders in 1979 on an 8-bit Amiga. 3 whole years before the Spectrum and C64, 2 years before the BBC micro.

      3. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Nah

        Elite is the only answer to this tosh.

      4. Amorous Cowherder

        Re: Nah

        "Brats all seemed to get a CPC with a colour screen."

        Oh yeah? We got one 'cos my Dad was fed up with me taking over the TV with the Dragon32 and moaning about having to use the shitty BW portable in the kitchen when the match was on! Xmas came around and my old man had worked his nuts off to afford an upgrade to shiny a CPC464 with a colour screen, on condition it was available for anyone to use with the MiniOffice suite when letters and such like needed doing. Of course then there was lots of whinging about lack of games during the first 9 months until it started getting a decent set of titles and some other kids in my school also got 464's. I then had someone to copy and swa...ahem, discuss gaming strategies with by way of sharing the software!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      Yes, but no.

      The Spectrum used an RF modulator, not composite, but its output was an RCA ("phono") connector.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      If the Spectrum clashed with your VCR, there was a plastic screw RF channel adjuster on the VCR to alter the output frequency between 30-39. And then you tuned the Spectrum to Ch 5 and labelled it ZX :)

    7. Conor Turton

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      ORIC-1 FTW. I had one of them and then the Atmos but after finding half the stuff for the Oric-1 didn't work on the Atmos I gutted the Atmos and stuck the Oric-1 board in it as the keyboard dug grooves in your fingers whereas the Atmos keyboard was a standard type and far better. IMO it was better than the other three however its problem was it was French so didn't do so well in Blighty.

      1. Peter Gordon

        Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

        wrong on two counts:

        1) it was not better than the speccy or c64. It had only 8 colours, low resolution, odd colour attribute system and no vsync. The sound was better than the pre-128k speccy, but that's about it. It also had far fewer games, and a lot of the games it did have were poor.

        2) it wasn't french. It was english, but sold better in france and was eventually bought by a french company.

        I still have a soft spot for the oric, though. So much so that I wrote an emulator for it (oricutron).

      2. Psyx

        Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

        But could you play elite, Manic Miner, et al?

    8. El_Fev

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      "Not that I care, because I was a Commodore 64 lad, and we all know that the C=64 was better than everything."

      You of course know , that this means war...

    9. Kiwi

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      The original Speccy used an RF modulator (analogue TV signal), not RCA.

      As someone below pointed out, the connected for the modulator was RCA..


      The feed into the modulator was composite. You could tap into that quite easily (especially if you had the "Saga 1" (IIRC) top case and keyboard - much nicer keyboard than the original!) and no more having to tune the TV into the damned thing.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

      I didn't have a Spectrum, but didn't machines of that era tend to use whatever frequency channel 6 was set to, the same as most VCRs?

      I don't know if Channel 6 was a defined standard - I assume it was, but I've no idea.

  6. Jedit

    Indiegogo Warning

    It comes as no surprise to me that this project is using Indiegogo for the flexible funding option. This means the project runners will get your cash regardless of whether they meet their goal, making it a popular choice for scammers. Fake retro tech is one of the most common kinds of scam, so I strongly doubt this is on the level.

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: Indiegogo Warning

      I don't think there is any doubt it will reach the target. It's done 10% of that in the last hour.

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: Indiegogo Warning @Simon Rockman

        Currently up to 27% as of 4pm.

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: Indiegogo Warning

      I thought that initially, then I looked at the people running the company and I recognised them from back in the day, so I have a reasonable degree of confidence that they will do what they say they will. It does seem to be a software emulation on a 3 chip ARM board, but it looks practical in both cost and technogy.

      1. Chika

        Re: Indiegogo Warning

        It does seem to be a software emulation on a 3 chip ARM board, but it looks practical in both cost and technogy.

        Heh. An ARM board. Given Acorn's link there, this seems somewhat ironic.

        The point is that given the number of Speccy emulators out there on so many different platforms, is there really a need for this?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Indiegogo Warning

      With several news articles and interviews I very much doubt it's a scam

      1. Psyx

        Re: Indiegogo Warning

        "With several news articles and interviews I very much doubt it's a scam"

        Huh? What would that have to do with it?

        Scammers have no moral issues with lying to reporters. It's even more publicity.

  7. Otto is a bear.


    And from the home of the Vivaro Van. Shoot me now.

  8. lansalot


    who on earth still has a telly handy that will work on then?

    1. Wilseus

      Re: ...

      who on earth still has a telly handy that will work on then?

      I haven't seen a TV for long time that doesn't have a composite video input!

    2. fruitoftheloon

      @lansalot Re: ...

      Have a look at the back of the gogglebox in question...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ...

      Most TVs still have scart sockets which is where it will plug into.

    4. John 110

      Re: ...

      "...who on earth still has a telly handy that will work on then?..."

      It has to plug into the telly so you can fight with your mum over whether she gets to watch Corrie or you get to play Elite...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: ...

        Maybe one can connect it to a mobe somehow? Special USB cables and all that.

  9. Frankee Llonnygog

    Keyboard ideal for typing:

    R FFS

    Still, Kudos for naming it after the singer from Suicide.

  10. x 7

    only one possible question / comment


  11. Yugguy

    Who wants this?

    Given that anyone who just wants the games can obtain an emulator and ROMs from any number of sources and that vintage computing fans would want an original Spectrum who exactly is going to want this?

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Who wants this?

      agreed. I have the CRTs etc, but that's because i also have the original consoles. Otherwise i'd happily use an emulator on the PC.

      Isn't this like that last speccy clone box which failed for precisely the same reasons, RE getting original coders' permission?

  12. Spoonsinger

    Wow! - I mean WOW!

    Why all the hate from various posters and in fact the article writer? I mean Sir Clive isn't going to come around to your house and shoot you in the face for not buying into it. Just move on if you don't have an interest.

    1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      Re: Wow! - I mean WOW!

      What's next? A C5 unicycle?

      1. Squander Two

        Re: Wow! - I mean WOW!

        Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... the C5 unicycle.

        Near enough, anyway.

  13. itzman

    "echo the ethos of the original rather wondefully."

    Woefully? Wonderfully?Whatever?

  14. Steve 114

    Hopefully hopping

    Are they saying it will do The Hobbit? Never cracked Torremolinos either. But what would have me and the wife pay up (in old age) is another crack at Hareraiser. The Speccy still works, but the tape players won't load.

    1. BonerNose

      Re: Hopefully hopping

      You can play a TZX file into the ear (or was it the mic....) socket of your speccy, you don't need the original tape :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hopefully hopping

        Probably the "ear" socket, they had an odd "ear→ear, mic→mic" convention. (Least I thought it odd, I normally think of Line Out → Line In)

        I have a Timex Sinclair 2068 which is basically a ZX Spectrum with some other bits, and a NTSC video encoder (since it was for the US market), and I recall this being mentioned in the handbook (which I also have somewhere).

  15. Adolph Clickbait

    The real question is...

    (assuming it takes off)

    How much is LordSir Alan Sugar gonna charge?


    Never mind, I see that Sky (Amstrad's owners, are on board)

  16. ForthIsNotDead


    Where's the bloody keys?

    We need Q, A, O, P and SPACE for a start.

    Also, we need J (for LOAD) and Symbol Shift, and P (for "") and of course ENTER!

    LOAD ""

    (cyan/red alternating border... ahhh... sigh...)

  17. Dave Fox


    If this had been a handheld console, with its own screen and battery pack, it might have been of some casual interest, even though you can get Spectrum emulators for a variety of phones and tablets. However, it isn't and therefore is a total waste of time and effort in my opinion.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like the idea - as a nice simple semi-mass market clone... but would have rather seen a fuller version of the original keyboard. Also a little lower price as well perhaps. The C64-on-a-joystick managed to go for around £30 but perhaps the overall cost came less due to volume of production.

  19. Death_Ninja

    1000 copyright violations

    Thats going to be a fun one to face in court...

    There is no way they will get permission to make a commercial product like that using all that (not so old) code, especially as you will probably find most of the titles people desire have been handed down from owner to owner and are probably all owned by Ubisoft/Activision/EA by now by acquisition.

    I can't imagine those blood suckers being happy that their IP is being handed out commercially.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: 1000 copyright violations

      if its EA then the games been recycled as jet set miner 2K14 anyway and demands an on-line drm server too

      Boris... lost in the memories of Z80 assembly before ditching the pile of crap and buying a memotech MTX512.....

    2. cheveron

      Re: 1000 copyright violations

      At least read the Indiegogo page before making assumptions like that. No copyrights are being violated. Having said that I think they'll struggle to get licenses for 1,000 titles.

    3. Chika

      Re: 1000 copyright violations

      I really hope they have done their homework on this one. The whole business smacks of the Hyperkin Retron 5, a console that could play games from many of the old consoles of the 80s and 90s using emulation and control software that, so it seems, they should have asked about first.

      1. Death_Ninja

        Re: 1000 copyright violations

        Exactly.... I suppose the retort will be that "users can load whatever software images they legally own onto the system themselves".... in which case, why not run a bloody emulator in the first place if you're going to pirate the stuff.

        At 100 quid this only makes sense if it comes with the software titles!

  20. yowl00

    At least you wont be able to break the P key with Penetrator

  21. RodHull

    Meh... But how about a portable Commodore 64?

    But I would say that! ;D

  22. Ole Juul

    Where are all the keys?

    You only need one - the ANY key.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Where are all the keys?

      It needs a keyboard.

      1. BonerNose

        Re: Where are all the keys?

        You mean you have to use your hands?

        That's like a baby's toy!

        1. Chika

          Re: Where are all the keys?

          Complete with rubber keys?


  23. king of foo

    now I know

    ...what I'm getting for Xmas next year...

    Last year someone got me a rather crappy looking sonic the hedgehog "plug it in the telly thing".

    We got absolutely hammered and completed sonic 1, 2 and 3 in a single sitting. It was epic. Then it broke.

    Wow, I'm now imagining an epic chuckie egg session...




    1. Alien8n

      Re: now I know

      We had a kid at our school who could play that with his eyes closed (iirc it blanked the screen on the 3rd or 4th go round the levels, and he would still continue playing it).

      One of the other kids even got a game he wrote reviewed in Crash magazine. I still remember the maps for Sabre Wulf and Atic Atac in there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: now I know

      If they used that controller design for a "Daley Thompson's Decathlon" all-in-one, it'd probably break the first time you ran the 100m.

  24. Nya


    I really want to like it, but the need for RCA is a pain in the behind. HDMI should of been the output on it, yes more hassle but really for the modern environment the best way. Or even due to the size of it make it a handheld!

    Also while whining, FS 12?! Come on, QA OP were always the big control keys back in the day! (Yes I do see why they did it as it's written on the keys).

    So yeah, I want to like it but wallet is staying in the pocket for now.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Popping down to the Post Office right now to send them a money order.

  26. RainbowTrout

    With the lack of keys how will we type in the Lenslok code to get Elite to work?????????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Use a "saved game" created by a Multiface 1?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Donating to GOSH would seem to indicate that they're not Private Eye readers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The UK does have other hospitals for children: Bristol, Sheffield, etc.

  28. jason 7

    I don't think my Dad...

    will be popping into Boots to put his name down for one on the order list before Xmas and then having to sneak out of work at lunchtime to collect it when his name came up four days before Xmas.

    Ahhhh Xmas 1983!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the advantage of this over a Raspberry Pi? And will it have a Kempston joystick interface?

  30. Adrian 4 Silver badge


    If it's late, will there be the compensation of a free RS232 interface lead ?

    1. Chika

      Re: RS-232

      And are they going to develop a new version of the microfloppy to go with it?

  31. DrXym Silver badge

    That's a really useful controller

    You are in a comfortable tunnel like hole. To the east there is the round green door.

    You see:

    the wooden chest.

    Gandalf. Gandalf is carrying a curious map.


    Gandalf gives the curious map to you.

    Thorin says "Hurry Up".


    1. alexmcm

      Re: That's a really useful controller

      Only 4 responses allowed in The Hobbit now




      >FFSR (eally?)

      None of this 'climb in the barrel and close the lid' crap.

  32. john devoy

    The idea of a new zx speccy isnt bad, the problem is SOOOO many games are going to be unplayable on this since its missing all the keys; you're gonna sit at Press F1 screens forever unless it utilises some lame onscreen keyboard overlay.

    1. andy gibson

      "you're gonna sit at Press F1 screens forever"

      You would on a real Speccy too, it didn't have an F1 key.

  33. Stabbybob

    People interested in this might want to watch the Ben Heck show on YT

    He recently did a 3 part series where he built a hand-held zx-speccy. 3d printed the keyboard, switchable ROMs, can load from tape or a phone etc. He most recently also built an Apple 1 laptop! Really interested stuff (I think) as he does everything from physical build, circuit boards, schematics, and programming, himself, and explains a bit about his plans as he goes along.

    Part 1:

    1. Ru'

      Re: People interested in this might want to watch the Ben Heck show on YT

      A good show, but painful to put up with Ben himself imho.

  34. ChrisJC

    We used to call the Spectrum the 'spakky', but I suppose we can't do that nowadays in this brave new PC world.

    Beebs rocked. I have 28 of them still!


    P.S. I visited the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge the other day. They have Speccys and Beebs you can play with for real. If you have the skillz still.

    1. Wisteela

      28? Awesome! That's a lot of Beebs.

  35. Merlinski

    I've seen that kind of keyboard before ....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      So how are you supposed to work that thing with a hook?

  36. ForthIsNotDead

    No keyboard

    I think they're really missing the point of the speccy with the exclusion of a keyboard. It's true that as kids we all played millions of games on the rubber-keyed wonder, but, a lot of us also *programmed* the bloody thing, both in Sinclair BASIC and Z80 machine code. It's actually the reason why a good chunk of us are employed in IT today, and the reason why we're here on this website reading the article. The inclusion of a keyboard would be an excellent opportunity to use it for programming, and, more specifically, would make an excellent computer to sit our children in front of to teach *them* programming. The problem with PCs and the like is that it's difficult to capture a child's imagination with respect to actual programming, since the things are so complicated. A kid in front of a speccy could pick it up in minutes. Show them how a FOR/NEXT loop works and then show them moving an asterisk across the screen. Show them INKEY$ and how to read the keyboard and move the asterisk around. Show them UDGs, PAPER colours, INK colours and they'd be totally hooked. Since it has an SD card slot, they wouldn't have to slum it with cassette players like we did as kids. I'm sure they'd be hooked.

    This *could* have been a Pi beater (in terms of engaging the young in programming), but they aimed low and went for nothing more than a nostalgia games machine that will only have limited appeal to those that owned one as kids.

    They missed it IMO.

  37. Dan 55 Silver badge

    The Bluetooth keyboard from Elite is perhaps a better idea

    But where is it?

    Or has he just done a runner with the money again. Allegedly.

  38. Chunky Munky
    Thumb Up

    Chunky Munky

    Just checked the indiegogo page and they're at £105k of their £100k target - after 3 days!

  39. mrscott1337

    Greater Potential

    I have to say this seems quite underwhelming due to the lack of keys. I doubt this will succeed if it turns out to be nothing more than an 80s video games console as opposed to an actual home computer like the original ZX Spectrum was.

    Half of the fun with old computers like these was being able to get source code from magazines and the likes, entering it in yourself and seeing exactly what goes into writing software.

    If Retro continue with what they've got for their prototype, I think they're missing out on an opportunity to succeed where the Raspberry Pi failed; getting kids interested in programming.

  40. Neil 8

    Raspberry Pi

    You can get a Raspberry Pi and an SD Card for about £30 and run all of your Spectrum games on the TV via the Fuse emulator. You can make it auto-boot the emulator if you like.

    I know this because I do it and 3D-printed a case (or two) for mine -

    But you obviously don't need the printed case to play the games...

    1. Wisteela

      Re: Raspberry Pi

      Those look superb! I'd seen the grey +2 on eBay via Spectrum 4 Ever on Facebook.

  41. Rob 44


    If it doesn't screech horribly for at least ten minutes before a game fails to load, then I don't want one.

    Also it needs cassettes so I can remove them and bend them a little to see if that increases the chance of them loading.

  42. adam 40 Silver badge

    Will the buck convertor give up like the old ones?

    It won't be the same either, unless it works for a month and then one of the internal power supplies goes pop and you lose a rail to the CPU.

  43. Cynicalmark

    Ahhh those were the days

    ....drifting off back to the time I assembled my own Atom and loved every moment of the 'BYOD' (build your own device) era. Then along came Cambridge Wars - Sinclair and his ex parners/employees fighting over ready made silicon wonders for every home and created generations of hardware blind fools.....pass the ear trumpet.....

  44. JulieM


    You could just run FUSE on a suitably-cased Raspberry Pi. With a USB audio capture dongle, or one of those USB Walkman deeleys of the sort advertised in catalogues that fall out of cheap TV listings papers, you can even load your old Spectrum tapes into it.

    But of course there is never just one right answer. And I do think this is cool, just because I grew up with 8-bit micros.

  45. MrCreasy

    Good Idea

    I think it's a good idea, IDEA being the operative word. Execution is everything, and the missing keys might be a bit problematic.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nostalgic bollocks... leave this bullshit in the past where it belongs!

  47. Wisteela
    Thumb Up


    As soon as I found out about this, I knew I wanted one. I'm a big Spectrum fan, and this will go nicely with my original ones, and the emulators.

  48. Zad

    I hope they have other funding from venture capital or similar. 100K is a tight budget for production, injection moulding tools cost £5-10k *each*. The lack of a full Speccy keyboard seems foolish, and would probably be no cheaper anyway, the same number of tools and processes still have to be constructed.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crowdfunding is finished

    Unfortunately the whole process is being spoiled by developers with no protection. 10 months late for another device i wanted is totally unacceptable and to add insult to injury they are offering retail at the indegogo price discusting. Insurance is now being offered to weed out the cowboys but why should you pay more. Ill be waiting for the retail vega if it happens. Crowdfunding will be finished in a few years time.

  50. henhouseharry

    The problem with the Vega is the licencing of the games to run on it.

    The game shown is an Exolon "style" game, not the original game by Hewson. It is fair and right that the developers should be paid for their work.

    The Vega has been made by brilliant engineers, but the cost of a full size keyboard would be much more expensive and some games will need to be modified to use the limited keyboard unless a Bluetooth Keyboard can be attached.

    Another problem is the TV connection. Presumably it will be a composite (yellow) cable which is fine but a piezo speaker is horrid. For 128k compatibility it should at least be a mono cable to the TV so you can adjust the volume or even ACB stereo from the AY chip with the beep mixed if they're really fancy. But in this day and age shouldn't it use an HDMI cable? How much would that alter the design and add to the unit cost?

    I would personally prefer a 48k+\128k or +2 style keyboard.

    At £100 a second hand laptop with a bunch of emulators may be better.

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