Spectrum Vega – A Blast From The Past
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Saturday, 06 December 2014

A new games console is being launched based on the 80s classic, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Within days of the start of its Indiegogo campaign all of the 1000 Limited Edition Spectrum Vegas had been claimed but there is still the chance to get your hands on one of the second batch.

spectrumvega 

Clive Sinclair's original ZX Spectrum microcomputer was a runaway success in the UK where it introduced a generation of kids to gaming and to programming, see Clive Sinclair And The Small Home Computer Revolution. It also made an impact in the US where it was marketed by Timex. 

spectrum

Photo Bill Bertram

 

The new low cost games computer, the Sinclair Vega, comes from UK-based Retro Computers, a start-up in which Sinclair Research Ltd is a shareholder. It uses a low cost micro-controller and an emulator to enable the Vega to play the 14,000 or so games that were developed during the years when 5 million Sinclair Spectrums were sold.

The Sinclair Spectrum Vega is really retro in the sense that it plugs into a TV, so avoiding the need for a monitor, and comes complete with around 1,000 games built-in.

The announcement says the Vega

“has sufficient memory to allow the user to download the many additional games we will be making available from time to time free of charge”.

The console has stereo audio and USB power. Currently there’s no way to connect a keyboard though the team is “reviewing our expansion options”.

However, the Vega provides an on-screen keyboard, which can be activated when required.

 

 

Games on the Vega are accessed through a menu based system, and once selected load automatically taking the player directly into the game play mode. When you wish to play another game, simply press the centrally placed reset button and this takes you back to the main menu. This is very different from the original Spectrum with its rubber-topped keyboard and BASIC interface.

The Vega is currently at the fully working prototype stage, awaiting production, and the team is contacting the thousands of the original Spectrum game developers in order to secure their permission to use their games on the Vega. It’s time to dust off those ancient cassette tapes and see whether your masterpiece looks as good as it used to. If you have existing Spectrum games you’d like to play yourself rather than see in wider use, you can use an SD card to load more games onto the Vega, though the current publicity material doesn’t give much clue as to how you go from ancient cassette tape to SD card. As for programming new games, there are ZX Spectrum emulators for Windows that are free and ready to use – but this raises the question of why we need retro hardware at all.

Only a thousand Limited edition Vegas are being manufactured in the first batch and all of these have been claimed with with £100 pledges on Indiegogo, as has all the Concept Art signed by Sir Clive Singlair and the only 3D model. A printed book “Creating the Sinclair Vega” has proved unpopular at £50 although 11 of 100 copies signed by Sir Clive for £100 have been sold.

Now there is a new £50 perk which buys you the ebook, your name on the “Roll of Honour” of the Limited Edition Vega and the chance to buy of of the next batch of 3,000 Vegas at the pre-launch price of £100 when they are available around June 2015,

Once the first two batches of Vegas have been manufactured and shipped, subsequent one will be in batches of 10,000 and price is expected to be reduced.   

 spectrumvega

More Information

Sinclair Spectrum Vega on Indiegogo

Related Articles

Clive Sinclair And The Small Home Computer Revolution 

UK Micros of the 1980s

 

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 06 December 2014 )