If you remember playing with an original ZX Spectrum video console, you’re in luck: It’s coming back. And if you don’t, chances are you’ll want to try out one of the 1,000 retro games it features to see how your parents witnessed the birth of gaming.
Production of a remodelled version of the 1982 classic, now called the Sinclair Spectrum Vega, is underway in Nottinghamshire, the BBC says. The last Spectrum video console was released in 1992.
The new one is being manufactured by SMS Electronics. The machine was developed by Luton’s Retro Computers and will hit the shelves sometime in April.
Check it out:
The new product is centred on a “Joy Pad” rather than a full keyboard. But the games are the same: Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, Flying Shark, Sir Fred, Dynamite Dan, and Moon Alert are joined by 1,000 others pre-installed. It has the capacity to run all 14,000 games from the original stable.
It all looks very exciting:
It’s also exciting because it’s going to cost just £100. The developers had early funding on crowdsourcing site Indiegogo and is being branded as a “budget” device — unlike the first batch, which had a much higher price point as was more of a luxury item. It cost between £125 and £175 in the ’80s and operating it was a touch more difficult. Apparently 5 million were sold.
Here it is back in the day:
Manic Miner was one of the best games (I’m told):
Despite the change in costs, those behind the new Spectrum say the 2015 release is true to Sir Clive Sinclair’s original design. It’s just been tweaked for the modern age and can be plugged into any TV and there are no software rights issues.
The team writes:
TheSinclair Spectrum Vega&takes advantage of major advances in technology to achieve big cost savings by replacing most of the electronics in the earlier computer products. Instead the Vegauses allow cost micro-controller and a clever piece of software that combine to enable the Vega to run all of the games, 14,000 or more of them, which were developed during the years when some 5 million of the original Sinclair Spectrum were being sold.
The console is being marketed by Luton startup Retro Computers, of which Sir Sinclair’s company, Sinclair Research Ltd., is an investor. The developers say the Sinclair Spectrum Vega is as “simple to use as any of the popular games consoles, but far less expensive.”
Some of the revenue earned through the sale of the product will be donated to the Great Ormand Street Children’s Hospital.
Here’s a Retro Computers info video: