Every now and then, amid those ever-more-fleeting stints of good, old-fashioned patriotism, you’ll see feature articles on the greatest British inventions and innovations. A staple component of those round-ups is, and probably always will be, the ZX Spectrum computer.
First released in 1982, the Spectrum was the brainchild of inventor Clive Sinclair. This iconic block of plastic and its rubber keys was the first home computer for countless British families and the first gaming machine for many children who went on to buy Nintendos, Segas, Xboxes and PlayStations for themselves and now for their own families.
For those who enjoyed classic games like Chuckie Egg and Elite, little can compare to the nostalgia that Sir Clive Sinclair’s ZX Spectrum home computer invokes. The venerable “Speccy” made a big impact on the UK home computer scene back in the 1980s and an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign aims to launch a new console based on the original 8-bit PC that’s endorsed by Sir Clive himself.
Launched by Retro Gaming, a company which includes Sir Clive Sinclair in its ranks, the Sinclair Spectrum Vega retains the basic styling of its illustrious forbear, but instead of keys sports a joypad. It’s powered by an ARM processor and contains a memory chip and Flash storage which packs an impressive 1,000 pre-loaded Spectrum games. According to Retro Gaming, the Vega should also be compatible with the Spectrum’s remaining catalog of games.
Once the Vega is connected to a TV, the pre-loaded games are accessed by a menu-based system. New games can also be loaded via SD card, though since most Spectrum games were loaded on cassette, we’re not sure exactly how this would work – perhaps Retro Gaming intends to make them available for download somehow.
Retro Gaming says that development is complete, and the firm hopes to track down former Spectrum game developers and get permission to use their games on the Vega. An undisclosed software royalty will be donated in their honor to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
As of writing, the cheapest remaining pledge point for a Vega is £100 (US$156). If all goes well with production, delivery is estimated at April 2015.