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View Full Version : Spectrum Vega coming out



barythrin
December 9th, 2014, 11:33 AM
Anyone else see this? I can't remember if it was just popular on youtube or perhaps it guided me to it. Spectrum Vega (http://www.i-programmer.info/news/144-graphics-and-games/8054-spectrum-vega-a-blast-from-the-past.html). Sort of a joystick version of the ZX.

Not that many are going to be made so it will be curious how sales end up. I believe the 1000 they're making are selling for 100.

Ah .. lol ok so if I actually read the article I'm posting .. the first 1000 are already claimed. BUT they'll start making them in batches of 10,000 after this and perhaps lower the price. The first 1000 were a limited edition release.

So.. still, anyone here getting one?

SiriusHardware
January 15th, 2015, 01:34 PM
No.

Reasons?

(1) Price. If you don't have one, you can still buy a real Spectrum in working order for a hell of a lot less than 100 pounds. The Vega comes with hundreds (more than a thousand?) games which undoubtedly contribute to the price but how many of them do you really want? There are perhaps 30 really outstanding Spectrum games.

(2) No physical keyboard. Apparently it will have an on-screen keyboard. Since it doesn't have a screen itself, therefore no touch-screen, presumably that means you have to pick the letters you type by stepping the cursor around the on-screen keyboard with the joypad until you get the letter you want. Try playing ANY game which uses lots of keys or has intensive keyboard input, such as Flight Simulator (Digital Integration) , Lords Of Midnight (Beyond) or ANY text adventures (eg, any by Level 9) using this system. Impossible? I think so.

simplex
January 25th, 2015, 09:29 AM
I am hoping this thing has some mod-a-bility, like the C64 DTV. At least then we can add a proper keyboard, joysticks etc.

The idea of having a speccy that can play any game, with modern TV connectors / good vid quality, reliability and extremely low power is quite appealing. But as Siriushardware says, the price is silly at the current level.

mjnurney
May 29th, 2015, 11:41 AM
This a missed opportunity I think , if a full keyboard had been added then yes , maybe

Is it 128k version too?

SiriusHardware
November 16th, 2015, 06:13 AM
Well, it came out. Did anyone actually buy one?

I've read a few reviews of both the Vega and the tortuously named 'Recreated ZX Spectrum' and have come to the conclusion that your best buy would be a real Spectrum, plus some modern fast-loading mass storage solution which would enable you to have all the games on World Of Spectrum (and a few that aren't there but can doubtlessly be found elsewhere) on it.

The Vega's unforgivable downfall is that it does not have a full original Spectrum keyboard, so games which need near-instant access to any one of nearly all of the keys (Fighter Pilot) or the ability to type a word in the same time as it takes to say it (Any text adventure) are effectively unplayable on it. Nor does it have a port for a proper switch-joystick which means that diagonal moves could be very hard to nail with those buttons.

This is a shame because it comes -so- close otherwise, particularly with its very large included library of games and the ability to use standard (presumably .sna or .tzx) files on a memory card. The Vega with a full original Spectrum case and keyboard would be a formidable temptation indeed for, say, 60-70 pounds. But definitely not in its current form or at its current price.

Unfortunately, since neither the Vega nor the Spectrum-lookalike bluetooth keyboard that is the 'Recreated Spectrum' will do well, it is unlikely that either of the companies involved will want to take any more risks, which is a pity because a unit combining the best parts of both designs, realistically priced, could be a genuine winner.

vwestlife
November 16th, 2015, 02:35 PM
Those who are in it for the nostalgia will demand a full keyboard, and those who are in it for the retro gaming experience would rather have controls that are actually tactile and responsive, instead of mashing their fingers on the same rubber "dead flesh" keys that they hated as a kid. :p

KC9UDX
November 16th, 2015, 02:55 PM
Another fine example of someone getting it just wrong.

How do the people that design these things not get it?

krebizfan
November 16th, 2015, 03:35 PM
They got the money from Indiegogo so enough people were seduced by the concept to spend money on it.

KC9UDX
November 16th, 2015, 05:45 PM
Right, but someone must have designed it first, or at least something similar.

It just seems there's a big disconnect these days between people who design things and people who use them.

I've got a new car stereo. I have to hold down the power button for 5 seconds to turn it off. Are you kidding me?

SiriusHardware
November 18th, 2015, 10:34 AM
Those who are in it for the nostalgia will demand a full keyboard, and those who are in it for the retro gaming experience would rather have controls that are actually tactile and responsive, instead of mashing their fingers on the same rubber "dead flesh" keys that they hated as a kid. :p

Actually, the nostalgics AND the retro gamers would both like a Kempston or Sinclair Joystick port, thank you.

The full keyboard is absolutely necessary for the all the good games which use more than just up, down, left, right, fire. I wouldn't care if the keyswitches on a reproduction were real switches which clicked like an old-school cherry keyboard, as long as they looked exactly like the originals.

krebizfan
November 18th, 2015, 10:45 AM
Actually, the nostalgics AND the retro gamers would both like a Kempston or Sinclair Joystick port, thank you.

The full keyboard is absolutely necessary for the all the good games which use more than just up, down, left, right, fire. I wouldn't care if the keyswitches on a reproduction were real switches which clicked like an old-school cherry keyboard, as long as they looked exactly like the originals.

I think most of the prospective users don't want it to look exactly like the original. Older hands are bigger hands which benefit from bigger keys.

SiriusHardware
November 18th, 2015, 10:47 AM
It just seems there's a big disconnect these days between people who design things and people who use them.



Like the latest inexplicably bad replacement graphical user interfaces for previously well-liked, well established PC operating systems for example?

It's not just Windows 8 that I'm thinking of, although the Windows Modern UI certainly kicks all other bad interfaces into the long grass - Gnome 3 and Unity (Linux desktops) spring to mind as well. In every case, I was thinking... 'Why didn't they show this to somebody first?' It seems to happen more and more with products these days... designers / developers are so sure they are right that they just don't ask what people want or do any research.

SiriusHardware
November 18th, 2015, 10:49 AM
Krebizfan - We need a Sinclair Spectrum scaled up to roughly the size of an Atari ST? ;-)

vwestlife
November 18th, 2015, 02:28 PM
Like the latest inexplicably bad replacement graphical user interfaces for previously well-liked, well established PC operating systems for example?

It's not just Windows 8 that I'm thinking of, although the Windows Modern UI certainly kicks all other bad interfaces into the long grass - Gnome 3 and Unity (Linux desktops) spring to mind as well. In every case, I was thinking... 'Why didn't they show this to somebody first?' It seems to happen more and more with products these days... designers / developers are so sure they are right that they just don't ask what people want or do any research.

Obviously you don't get it. All modern operating systems, web sites, and applications must be "touch optimized" and dumbed down to the point where they can be used on an iPhone... while wearing mittens.

Case in point: what they've done to www.archive.org. :mad:

SiriusHardware
November 19th, 2015, 12:20 PM
I see what you mean.

Even the long established and previously well respected BBC website has, to my horror, just had a similar facelift. Now even there, the headlines are in 'Reduced English'.

-'Man sees car hit speed limit: Residents worried'.

-'Woman shocked by gum on shoe incident: Sues Council'

...in other words, it's now impossible to tell the difference between legitimate BBC news website thumbnails and those insanely drivelly web adverts which make you want to tear your eyeballs out every time you see them.

(Another case, to stay vaguely on topic, of designers just going ahead and doing what they think is right. Not what -is- right).

I don't own a smartphone or tablet and virtually all of my internet access is through a desktop PC with a landscape format, high resolution screen. Is it too much to ask for, to have mobile and PC modes for websites? Too often now, PC users get what mobile users want.

Eudimorphodon
November 19th, 2015, 02:10 PM
Case in point: what they've done to www.archive.org. :mad:

I'm glad I'm not the only one that hates that. Granted their old interface wasn't the best thing ever (Indexing and search have always been a weak point) but the new look is just so... Pinterest-meets-DeviantArt. Feh.

Great Hierophant
November 19th, 2015, 02:13 PM
The Spectrum Vega is some kind of ARM processor and android-ish like emulation device. I took one look and did not need to take a second. Since I did not grow up in Europe, I had no particular ability to appreciate it.

KC9UDX
November 19th, 2015, 02:50 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one that hates that. Granted their old interface wasn't the best thing ever (Indexing and search have always been a weak point) but the new look is just so... Pinterest-meets-DeviantArt. Feh.

It looks like a scam. I kept looking for that stupid deceptive "Download Now" button, or one of those left- or right-pointing arrows.

KC9UDX
November 19th, 2015, 02:51 PM
The Spectrum Vega is some kind of ARM processor and android-ish like emulation device. I took one look and did not need to take a second. Since I did not grow up in Europe, I had no particular ability to appreciate it.
Target sold them here, IIRC. Maybe it was Kohl's.

I didn't think too much of them at the time.

Eudimorphodon
November 19th, 2015, 03:48 PM
Maybe I'd be slightly more impressed with this "Spectrum Vega" if it were an actual FPGA/ASIC re-creation of the original (Ala those C64s-in-a-joystick things). Honestly I'm not sure the world needs another "ARM CPU running an emulator stuffed in a pretty box" widget like this. If you want a cheap and cheerful dingus to specifically dedicate to hanging off your TV and running one-or-more 8/16 bit computer emulators a Raspberry Pi with a USB keyboard and cheap game pad gives you a lot more bang for the buck.

(And is almost certainly sporting a more powerful ARM core; granted the Spectrum shouldn't be a particularly challenging emulation target but it seems to be a recurring problem that those emulate-a-box toys don't have quite enough horsepower to pull off a convincing fake.)

The one reason I could see to buy this would be if some of the purchase price were actually going to the original software authors in the form of royalties. In any case I'm sure for the most parts Americans need not apply. ;) (So far as I'm aware the only form in which the original ZX made it to the US was as the Timex Sinclair 2068 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Sinclair_2068), and they sold, like, dozens of them before shutting down.)

KC9UDX
November 19th, 2015, 08:27 PM
I don't remember seeing the 2068 here (maybe I did, don't remember), but I do remember these: Timex Sinclair 1000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Sinclair_1000) I'm pretty sure I saw them at Target or Kohl's. Again, though, my memory isn't that good.

And, I do know quite a few people round here had ZX-80 and ZX-81, no idea where they got them. I assumed they bought them locally, too, but I have no idea.

vwestlife
November 19th, 2015, 10:21 PM
And, I do know quite a few people round here had ZX-80 and ZX-81, no idea where they got them. I assumed they bought them locally, too, but I have no idea.

In the USA you could buy a ZX-80 or ZX-81 via mail-order from Sinclair Research in Nashua, NH. This continued even after Timex stopped selling their versions of the Sinclair computers on the retail market; at least briefly, you could buy a U.S. version of the Sinclair QL via mail-order: http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v10n12/63_Sinclair_QL_Sir_Clive_en.php

The original ZX Spectrum was going to be sold here was the Timex Sinclair 2000, but the reaction to it at CES was so underwhelming that they decided to significantly upgrade and redesign it into what became the TS2068. In the meantime until the TS2068 was ready for release, as a stopgap Timex took the TS1000 (a.k.a. ZX-81), gave it an internal 16K RAM upgrade, put it in the case of the unreleased TS2000 prototype (very close to the ZX Spectrum, but slightly different), and released it as the TS1500:

http://www.oldcomputers.net/pics/ts1500.jpg

Eudimorphodon
November 20th, 2015, 10:29 AM
It seems like TS1000's and ZX-81s were dirt common in the US; I'm curious what the sales figures for them actually were. The last 8-bit computer I saw at a garage sale was actually a ZX-81. I wonder of course if anyone actually got much *use* out of them. They were pretty much the poster boy for the disposable home computer that sits in front of the TV for a month and then ends up in the closet.

krebizfan
November 20th, 2015, 11:02 AM
At CES 1983, Timex reported more then 600,000 TS1000s sold. No idea how many sold in the remaining year of production. For comparison, Sinclair only sold 500,000 ZX-81 by August, 1982. One of the Timex related newsletters claimed that 150,000 TS2068s were sold during its short release period. They were everywhere for a while accounting for 25% of all computers sold at the time. Supporting peripherals were quite scarce. Some only had prototype production released by the contracted manufacturer after Timex dropped the line.

Schools made out great. When Timex unloaded excess inventory to schools in CT, Timex also supplied TVs. The computers got tossed aside quickly but all those TVs soon got company in the form of cheap VCRs.

Unfortunately, Timex was suffering heavy losses (120 million in 1982) in the rest of the company and couldn't absorb the costs of the short term decline in computer sales.

Eudimorphodon
November 20th, 2015, 11:28 AM
I vaguely remember seeing those TS2068s on sale when they were new but I've never seen one since. (I think it was at a Sears?) I can totally believe the 600,000 figure for TS1000s but 150,000 2068s is sort of hard to swallow. (Maybe they shipped that many that were subsequently sold for *steep* discounts. Was late '83 too late for Commodore's $100 trade in for a C64 offer? It's fairly legendary how people were buying TS1000s for $50 or less and immediately cashing them in for C64s, maybe that's where all the TS2068s went.) ;)

Now this makes me wonder how many BBC Micros were sold during the brief attempt there was to sell them in the US. (I remember the ads in Scientific American magazine at the time.) From what I remember the US version was grossly incompatible with the UK variant on top of being pretty dearly priced so it bombed quite spectacularly.

vwestlife
November 20th, 2015, 12:18 PM
Unfortunately by the time the TS2068 came out, the bottom dropped out of the 8-bit home computer market due to the Commodore/TI price war (which Atari also got dragged into). And due to upgrades that Timex made breaking compatibility with ZX Spectrum software, the TS2068 had to start from scratch with a very limited software catalog (about 30 titles from Timex itself, I don't know of any third-party software for it!?). Plus, Americans just didn't like chiclet keyboards, as IBM also found out. :p

krebizfan
November 20th, 2015, 01:34 PM
Now this makes me wonder how many BBC Micros were sold during the brief attempt there was to sell them in the US. (I remember the ads in Scientific American magazine at the time.) From what I remember the US version was grossly incompatible with the UK variant on top of being pretty dearly priced so it bombed quite spectacularly.

Acorn decided to market the BBC Micro to the US educational market using resellers cast off by Apple. At $995, it faced a tough road against the US manufacturers and their discounts. Great news for buyers in the UK though. All the unsold inventory went back and was modified to work with the different electrical and video standards. A slightly incompatible BBC Micro at Spectrum prices probably did quite well. 150 without floppy drive; 200 with floppy drive.

SiriusHardware
March 1st, 2016, 10:11 AM
"Oh NO, not AGAIN..." (Anyone know which book that quote is from?)

They're now going to have a go with a Lynx/PSP - like fully portable version of the Spectrum Vega (to be called the Vega +).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/what-to-play/sir-clive-sinclair-announces-handheld-zx-spectrum-for-retro-gami/

Once again, the absolute necessity for any retro Spectrum to have a full keyboard is completely lost on Sinclair.

There are SO many games which can't realistically be played without instant access to a large number of keys.

Text adventures are the most obvious, but games like FLIGHT SIMULATOR and LORDS OF MIDNIGHT would be tortuous to play with a pick-the-letters-out on-screen keyboard.

If they get past this, survive financially and propose a proper retro-Spectrum with a full keyboard, then I might finally take an interest.

Until then, a real Spectrum in modest condition and working order represents a much better value for money retro-Spectrum experience.

That, or one of the many decent PC emulators.

Great Hierophant
March 2nd, 2016, 05:57 PM
Couldn't they add support for a keyboard add on via a USB port? Would that be so hard?

SiriusHardware
March 5th, 2016, 03:30 AM
Couldn't they add support for a keyboard add on via a USB port? Would that be so hard?

Looking through the questions and answers FAQ on their site, they say rather vaguely that they are 'considering input options'. If these options ever exist (as add ons) then they will add even more to the total purchase price.

In my opinion even supporting the use of a USB PC keyboard would not really be ideal because any such keyboard would not be legended as per the original Spectrum keyboard so it would be pretty hard to, for example, write a 48K Spectrum BASIC program using a PC keyboard without the BASIC keywords printed on/ above / below the keys as on the original. (I concede that users of Spectrum emulators on PCs face the same problem and somehow, they manage).

However, I still think a hardware retro-Spectrum without a proper replica Spectrum keyboard is no Spectrum at all.

kyodai
March 5th, 2016, 04:19 AM
The concept is soooo old, like 10 years ago i got a C-64 joystick which was basically just a C-64 emulator with a bunch of built-in games. At least i got that joystick from a workmate for free and he paid like 20 bucks for it. Why people would shell out a hundred pounds for that is beyond my understanding. The handheld spectrum is even worse. I'd rather buy one of these 17 bucks handheld consoles which come with like a hundred pirated Sega Geness games. At least these games were all meant to be played without a keyboard.

http://www.ebay.de/itm/PXP-MD-2700-Beweglicher-Handheld-16-Bit-Fast-Videospiel-Game-Console-Konsole-Neu-/121898295165?var=&hash=item1c61b45f7d:m:mT_kfzeG4wq0zBsGQQqz5LQ