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Nostalgic For the ZX Spectrum? Soon You Can Play With a New One 91

Posted by timothy
from the one-hand-tied-behind-your-back dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There is a very interesting project underway to recreate the ZX Spectrum and more. The Bluetooth ZX Spectrum has been successfully crowdfunded, and it is due to go on sale in September 2014. If you want to go back to the 1980s — to the wonderful era of 8-bit gaming, you can instead try one of the many ZX Spectrum emulators." I remember being excited at the new Sinclair when my dad brought it home, but my strongest memory now is of what might be the worst keyboard I've ever had the chance to use.
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Nostalgic For the ZX Spectrum? Soon You Can Play With a New One

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  • It's a keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 23, 2014 @04:09PM (#46317725) Homepage Journal
    The article doesn't even appear to mention the official page of the crowdfunding campaign, which is this Kickstarter campaign [kickstarter.com]. It turns out not to be a hardware recreation of the Spectrum's logic, just a rubber keyboard for use with emulators.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23, 2014 @04:10PM (#46317733)

    If you think the ZX Spectrum has the worst keyboard, then you've clearly never used a ZX81 ...

  • by Molt (116343) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @04:15PM (#46317773)
    The people behind the Kickstarter seem to be defaulting on agreements to pay royalties [polygon.com] to the developers of the games they're bundling, and not really responding well to questions asking them why [kickstarter.com], which isn't a great start.
  • Re:It's a keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

    by RDW (41497) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @04:24PM (#46317827)

    The article also doesn't mention the controversy about Elite Systems and their apparent failure to pay the developers they are making money off:

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/a... [gamesindustry.biz]

  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Sunday February 23, 2014 @04:29PM (#46317855) Journal

    If you want to build a modern recreation of the Speccy (absolutely timing perfect too) there's a clone called the Harlequin which was designed by a guy who recently reverse engineered the ZX Spectrum's Ferranti ULA and wrote a book about it. The book's great:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-ZX... [amazon.co.uk]

    There's a thread on World of Spectrum Forums - a German member has arranged to get the components and PCBs to make a kit. He may still have a few going if you jump in soon:

    http://www.worldofspectrum.org... [worldofspectrum.org] (go to near the end of the very long thread)

    Also there is a Verilog HDL description of the ZX ULA on OpenCores (based on Chris Smith's reverse engineering work) if you like to play with FPGAs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23, 2014 @05:46PM (#46318349)

    1. It's not a Bluetooth ZX Spectrum, but a Bluetooth ZX Spectrum *keyboard*;

    2. It's not even a generic keyboard, but a keyboard that is only guaranteed to work with "Elite official applications";

    3. Most of these "Elite official applications" have been removed from AppStore, some of them due to unpaid royalties, others for copyright infringment - thus there's a change owners of the keyboard may not have any applications to use after all;

    4. Unpaid game developers are currently trying to cancel this Kickstarter campaign, since the premise of a Spectrum-like keyboard to play licensed games is false - several games that Elite released on mobile were never licensed at all, others were licensed but never paid;

    5. This "news" is about 3 weeks old, as you can see from the following links:

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gamesblog/2014/feb/13/zx-spectrum-kickstarter-over-unpaid-developer-bills
    http://www.merseyremakes.co.uk/gibber/2014/01/the-elite-bluetooth-keyboard-breaking-down-the-problems/
    http://www.merseyremakes.co.uk/gibber/2014/02/bluetooth-zx-spectrum-elitewatch-update/
    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/447934/zx-spectrum-kickstarter-company-faces-allegations-of-non-payment/
    http://www.vg247.com/2014/01/31/zx-spectrum-game-developers-concerned-over-elite-systems-kickstarter/
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-02-03-controversy-over-bluetooth-zx-spectrum-keyboard
    http://torrentfreak.com/successful-kickstarter-campaign-hit-by-game-piracy-claims-140131/
    http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/31/5364436/emulator-keyboard-kickstarter-under-fire-for-using-licensed-material
    http://stevewetherill.com/2014/01/30/public-statement-on-elite-bluetooth-spectrum-kickstarter/

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23, 2014 @06:49PM (#46318863)

    No, on the Spectrum each keyword had its own key. Keywords, even operators like <= were stored as single bytes with codepoints above 0xA0. This made for more efficient storage of programs. In comparison, on the VIC-20 keywords were stored literally, but you could abbreviate them, e.g. ? for PRINT or pO for POKE. Of course this wasn't how it appeared on the screen. On the screen an abbreviated GOSUB would be GO[heart], and you had to RTFM [archive.org] to find out that GO-heart means GOSUB. I found the Spectrum's solution much more elegant. But of course I had to because I had a Spectrum and there was a religious war going on.

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