ZX Spectrum gets new lease of life as Vega games console

Sir Clive Sinclair is backing a new crowdfunding campaign to relaunch the iconic ZX Spectrum as a new home gaming console, the Sinclair Spectrum Vega.

The Vega mimics the design of the Spectrum, but is a handheld games controller with five buttons and control pad, and includes 1,000 games from the 1980s. Gone is the tape and the full keyboard, but the tinny speaker and coloured stripes remain.

“The Sinclair 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,” said Retro Computers, backed by 74-year-old Sinclair as an investor, in the Indiegogo campaign.

“Instead the Vega uses a low cost micro-controller and a clever piece of software that combine to enable the Vega to [download and] 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 Luton-based startup Retro Computers rolled out the campaign 32 years after the first ZX Spectrum with a prototype ready, the name and computer intellectual property licensed from Sky, who bought it from Sir Alan Sugar’s Amstrad.

The console plugs straight into a TV and was designed and developed by Chris Smith, a former ZX Spectrum games developer and foremost expert on the aged system.

The company is currently in negotiations with thousands of Spectrum developers to ask permission to use their game on the Vega, which should be able run any game developed for the original ZX including Chuckie Egg, Manic Miner, Chequered Flag, Horace Goes Skiing and Jet Set Willy. Users will also be able to load their own games using an SD card.

The 10% software royalties owed to the Spectrum game developers will be paid to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

Retro Computers is looking for £100,000 in funding to start production, with the first 1,000 Vegas costing £100 each available in April. More than £33,000 has been pledged at the time of writing already with 60 days left to go.

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 17.42 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010