back to article What's up with that ZX Spectrum reboot? Still no console

Flailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has, once again, failed to meet yet another promised delivery deadline. In a series of updates published to its Indiegogo backers over the past couple of weeks, RCL promised to start shipping its Vega+ device between 8 and 12 May. So far nobody appears to have received …

  1. DJV Silver badge

    Still no console

    Inconsolable then...

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

      Re: Still no console

      Indeed, and the promises of RCL just get vega and vega....

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Still no console

      Certainly no ROM-com.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Still no console

        When two ROMs bump into each other on a data bus, their seemingly-immutable values become intertwined. Has some all-seeing force chip selected them both for a reason? Find out this summer, as these two realise: random access isn't something that only happens to other memories!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Still no console

          They'll probably try and make the excuse that the director is on the spectrum.

        2. Alistair
          Windows

          Re: Still no console

          @ThomH:

          I rather doubt that one will come in at PG13.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Still no console

            I showed these comments to a friend of mine, she was quite amused but said no good would come from them, I said yes it's a sin Claire.

    3. SVV

      Re: Still no console

      I C5 thousand unhappy customers,

  2. I can't believe its not butter

    Really?

    Playground squabbles. "But he did this, waaaah, aaah", "But he shoved me first!"

    Absolutely astounding. People like this should never be allowed to run companies.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      People like this should never be allowed to run companies.

      People like this love to run companies. Where else can they be King Shit of Turd Mountain? (Other than the White House, I mean.)

      1. Milton

        Re: Really?

        "People like this should never be allowed to run companies."

        The tragedy of human nature was once summed up in one line:

        "Those who crave power are the least fit to wield it."

        Look at the kind of rubbish in Westminster. Look at the bunch of imbecile children squabbling in the Cabinet. Remind yourself that people like IDS, and more recently Angela Leadsom—two of the thickest human beings ever to become an MP, and that is saying something—actually, seriously believed that they were qualified to run the country.

        And yes, look at the putrid cretin infesting the White House: so stupid that it has no clue just how stupid it is.

        Another appropriate quote:

        "Talent can recgonise genius. Mediocrity recgonises nothing but itself."

        Which is why boardrooms and cabinets are routinely soiled by political mouth-on-a-stick types, whose bad character veers between cowardice and hypocrisy and whose ambition so frequently and easily exceeds their ability.

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: Really?

          ITYM:

          "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius."

          -- Arthur Conan Doyle

    2. Danny 14

      Re: Really?

      playground squabbles? I preferred bak 2 skool than skool daze.

  3. Sykowasp

    You would think they would ship it without any of the contentious games then, as these are easily updatable later on, I would hope.

    The truth would appear to be from the facts we have: there are no devices.

    Not even a photo recently of the stacks of boxes of devices ready to ship!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      A promised feature of the Vega+ is it accepts snapshot files on SD card.

      So there's nothing really stopping them sending those 5000 Vega+s out to their customers... if they wanted to... and they've made enough...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        They've delivered now, they have put names up on their website on their roll of honour, which is one of the things they promised to do and so they have complied with what IndieGogo were demanding by the end of May.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          I believe the demand is that working units have to be in punters' hands by the end of May, not a web page with a bunch of names on it.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            The demand from backers is working units. The wording from IndieGogo is not so specific.

            Roll of Honour is also a £10 perk so RCL can tell IndieGogo that they have started delivering perks.

            I was working near the place that was pro ducting the PCB and SMT for the 50 prototype run, I was very tempted to dig around in their skip.

  4. caffeine addict

    I get why this is annoying, and I assume that ElReg's constant exposure makes them squirm a little, but I'm always surprised to see this story reappear.

    It's a small company and a fairly small fraud. In general terms, not desperately newsworthy.

    I assume one of our beloved hacks bought a dozen of them... :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "It's a small company and a fairly small fraud. "

      1/2 a million quid is hardly small.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "1/2 a million quid is hardly small."

        Donald Trump reckons $1 million is a small loan in fairness.

        1. ThomH

          "Donald Trump reckons $1 million is a small loan in fairness."

          I suspect this is not the most substantial thing that most of us would disagree with Donald Trump about.

          The Register is right to track the story regardless; it's primarily about the practicalities of crowdfunding — that those who responded to particularly-worded invitations so as to create a contract of sale aside, contributors more or less just have to trust that the recipients will actually do the thing they sought the money for. No transparency, little obvious recourse.

          Indiegogo sending in receivers in order to protect their brand would be unprecedented. So that they're this close is newsworthy.

    2. MonkeyCee

      crowdfunding

      "It's a small company and a fairly small fraud. In general terms, not desperately newsworthy."

      If it where a "normal" company, then yes. I mean, there might be some interest in the speccy side of things and all that, but normally this would be dealt with through the courts. You purchase goods, goods are not delivered, company repays you your money. or goes bankrupt.

      Because it's crowdfunded, exactly how one goes about doing this is not clear.

      That it's become one of the more widely known crowdfunded scams* has resulted in Indiegogo threatening to send in the bailiffs, which is pretty bloody extreme.

      * there are plenty of crowdfunding fuckups, but a number of those are down to people being bad at business planning**. So good intentions, good product, but a problem in manufacturing means that you're making a net loss per sale.

      ** make detailed and accurate cost and sale predictions. Then triple your costs and halve your profit per item. If you plan still works, go for it.

    3. Kane
      Meh

      "It's a small company and a fairly small fraud. In general terms, not desperately newsworthy."

      If you'd just like to stand over here. Yes, that's right, just here.

      Ok, so I have this sharpened blade, it's only about 1 1/2 inches, quite short, and I'm just going to gently stab you with it if that's ok? Don't worry, I'll only be pushing the blade in about 1/2 an inch or so.

      It's a small blade and a fairly small stabbing. In general terms, not desperately criminal.

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      The other reason for the coverage is that elReg is a UK based IT site, and pretty much all UK based IT-types-of-a-certain-age (ie us oldies), have very fond memories of the Speccy.

      So, as soon as they announced what they were doing there was a natural interest from a big chunk of the elReg readership, and now we just keep watching the drama roll on and on.

      1. Just Enough

        "pretty much all UK based IT-types-of-a-certain-age (ie us oldies), have very fond memories of the Speccy."

        Indeed. Which is why it's tragic that this bunch of clowns are pissing all over those fond memories.

        The Spectrum and its day are long, long gone. It is always a mistake to try to bring these things back. Just let it go.

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Coat

    Of course, for us oldies, the deja vu is strong ...

    Controversy around shipping promises for a Sinclair product ?

    (Mines the coat with the pocket calculator ....) -->

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Of course, for us oldies, the deja vu is strong ...

      He did deliver in the end though and he didn't blame Commodore every time he was asked about the delay... and there was never a two-year delay. What about this lot?

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Of course, for us oldies, the deja vu is strong ...

      Shouldn't that be: "Mines the coat that ought to have a pocket calculator in it, if the damned thing had turned up within the promised 28 days!"

      I should add that back in the 1970s I did buy a pre-built Sinclair Cambridge Calculator - I think it lasted a couple of years before going "phut!" The replacement I bought, a Commodore SR-1800, does still work fine!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me or is this bloody saga going on and on and on...

    ...and Ariston and on and on and on and Ariston and on and on and on and Ariston and on and on and on and Ariston and on and on and on and Ariston and on and on and on...

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me or is this bloody saga going on and on and on...

      I was thinking more like Scotch video tape:

      Re-record, not fade away, re-record, not fade away, re-record, not fade away, re-record, not fade away, re-record, not fade away, re-record, not fade away, re-record, not fade away, re-record, not fade away,...

  7. llaryllama

    Remember to pack a rubber...

    ...keyboard

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Vaporware then.

  9. Spartacus Mills

    There are blatantly no devices. The games list situation is a pre-planned indefinite stalling tactic. The final Vega+ "V2" as they've called it - the device they claimed was just hours away from being sent out - is not a thing. They seemed to have some semi-functioning prototypes at one stage but a finished article has clearly never been manufactured.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social media content

    Dear Register,

    Please don't embed Facebook or similar external content in your articles - all I get at my end is a big fat panel full of -

    "Your request was denied because of its content categorization: "Social Networking""

    FAIL.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Social media content

      Ahem, cough, cough, uBlock Origin, cough...

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Social media content

      Work in a workplace that allows adults to control themselves when at work.

  11. WhoAmI?
    FAIL

    New definition for the Oxford English Dictionary

    On the 29th of April, RCL tweeted "So the second batch of Vega+ units are selling fast. They are on pre-sale over here <link>".

    I can't see how selling 15 units from a batch of 5000 is "fast". It's easy to find out how many they've sold - go to buy one, say you want 9000, and it comes back saying "We only have ---- in stock"

    There's also a book you can buy a book called "The Making Of the Vega+" about how the Vega+ came to be. You may be able to find it in your local library at some point, but whether it's in the fiction or reference section is unknown...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: New definition for the Oxford English Dictionary

      So if you go to the shop you can try to add 5000 Vega+s to the cart and you're told there are only (currently) 4985 left.

      So are these 5000-ish units for sale in the online shop the same 5000 units they're promising to their backers? They really shouldn't be, so that means there are another set of 5000 units just for the public, meaning they've made 10000 units in total.

      It also seems they have 4974 Vega and Vega+ bundles but if you ask for just a Vega there are only 1974.

      It's just a complete load of bollocks.

  12. Johnny Noodles

    £20K paid?

    According to their Facebook page 1 hour ago, they paid the £20,000, but I suspect they are just avoiding talking about the other small issue of not having the consoles to send out.

    1. bobmajors

      Re: £20K paid?

      If you read the linked Reg article, the initial £20K was paid - it's the extra payments totalling at least £17,000 which have not.

  13. martinusher Silver badge

    This is a trivial design...

    It should be possible to fit the entire ZX Spectrum into an inexpensive FPGA -- there just isn't enough logic in a design that old to justify bothering with a full design. (Come to think of it, you could probably emulate the entire thing using a Raspberry Pi Zero, the only issues would be finding a suitably naff chiclet keyboard and a yogurt carton case to complete the illusion.) So the problem isn't technical, its the people involved thinking they've got hold of some ultimately hot IP that's going to set them up financially for life.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: This is a trivial design...

      They've probably gone with ARM as the Vega was ARM.

      Which means the wait is all the more incomprehensible, firmware development should be quick as it would be practically the same as in the Vega.

    2. Ross 12

      Re: This is a trivial design...

      This is being done in a completely unrelated project - The ZX Spectrum Next https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835143999/zx-spectrum-next which, despite some delays with the case, has already sent out the completed bare boards batch, and the team, which *isn't* a company with shareholders and directors bleeding it dry, is pretty good at engaging with the backers and keeping everyone informed of what's going on. Was also the last device designed by the late Rick Dickonson.

    3. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: This is a trivial design...

      @martinusher; It wasn't *even* going to be an FPGA-based recreation anyway! (#) All that was ever intended was an emulator running on some arbitrary device- i.e. a long-solved problem. See here and here.

      But- as you correctly note- this is all irrelevant as the problems are blatantly the result of managerial, legal and interpersonal issues within the company, not technical.

      (#) If that's what you're after, the far more interesting-looking Spectrum Next- from a totally unrelated team/company- aims to do just that.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: This is a trivial design...

        The only problem with the Next I can see is they're still not sure if they're going to do a second run and at the moment there's no way to register your interest. A platform with 4000 or so owners won't have enough momentum long-term.

        1. Tom 64

          Re: This is a trivial design...

          Totally want a next!

          Hope they do another production run.

        2. conscience

          Re: This is a trivial design...

          The other problem with the Spectrum Next is the price. I'd have probably got one for under £100.

  14. Baldrickk

    By the time this comes out

    (If ever) it'll be a retro retro gaming console

  15. Wolfclaw

    Company should by wound up, board of directors force to refund those waiting for devices out of their pocket and ban them from ever running a company again.

    The way RCL has operate, puts people of investing in small startups !

  16. John70

    Role of Honour

    Wasn't the Role of Honour supposed to be put on the chip, not on a web site?

  17. Lotaresco

    I don't think I dreamed it

    But it is surreal enough to be a dream. I'm reasonably sure that earlier this month RCL were attempting to raise more cash from punters outside of Indiegogo, via Facebook. I looked at the offer, sniggered and promptly forgot about it. However a week later I saw people stating that they would be pledging cash support against the promise of receiving discounted Vega+ consoles.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Indiegogo doesn't give a toss normally.

    As long as they get there cut.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wedg-the-personal-cloud-you-ve-been-waiting-for/x/1720386#/comments

    This changed campaign owner to a made up person at a mailbox address with a different company.

    No trace of any of them.

    Indiegogo meh. Suckers. We got paid. Close all queries. No governance of change of campaign ownership - as long as a made up email, good to go.

    Don't touch Indiegogo with a bargepole is my lesson.

    https://twitter.com/wearewedg

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