back to article Ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm kicks crisis meeting into long grass

A key shareholders' meeting has been adjourned, prolonging the Retro Computers Ltd ZX Spectrum Vega+ saga for another fortnight. On Monday the company's four shareholders met to debate a motion brought by two of their number, Paul Andrews and Chris Smith, over whether to dismiss the company's current board of directors. The …

  1. Lee D Silver badge


    Your money's gone.

    Give it up.

    Claim it back.

    Initiate legal action.

    The shareholder's meeting was about the only thing left that could prompt any change.

    <-- so glad I never backed this, I was considering it for a while given the original success.

    1. ShelLuser


      At least the money got spent on things which really mattered. For example, I can't help but think that this meeting got covered by the last bits of their financial assets, time is money afterall, so now the company has probably legitimately ran out of cash. And all those caterers need to get paid too you know; a business meeting without a business lunch is of course not a good meeting so their hands were obviously tied there.

      Sometimes you wonder how some people still sleep at night. I mean, taking money from fans without delivering anything worth mentioning, sure way to up your reputation as being reliable. At least the underpants business strategy (UBS) paid off once again, and it's difficult to understand business model is pretty on-par with todays standards:

      • Start an IndoGoGo project which features an appealing idea.
      • ???
      • Profit!

      That's one heck of an UBS if I ever saw one. What an admirable effort, such hard work...

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: @Lee

        so now the company has probably legitimately ran out of cash.


  2. MiguelC Silver badge

    They need that 2-week adjournement

    While they're in talks with Theranos toward a possible merger... A match made in IT hell!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They need that 2-week adjournement

      Is it a problem their name rhymes with Thanos? The other (fictional) person responsible for half the universe dying?

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: They need that 2-week adjournement

        It's not that bad!

  3. defiler Silver badge

    To the barn!

    Honestly, the horse is sick. It only has two legs, and one of those has a wonky knee. Whilst I love to see (what appears to be) institutional corporate lying exposed to the light of day, this one really just needs to be taken away and put to sleep.

    Shame because it could have been really cool.

    I wonder if the designs will appear in the liquidation sale. Or better the tooling (ha!)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who do they think they are ?

    The government ?

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "no defence has yet been filed"

    Ah, the cupboard is bare.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: "no defence has yet been filed"

      No, no... they have one written. They can show you a picture of the front of it but they just need to print it out... yeah that's all.. just needs printing. Honest.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: "no defence has yet been filed"

        I hear they invited the court to visit their offices in Timbuktu and view the filing, but they refused, so it's not their fault, right?

  6. Blockchain commentard

    Makes the Trump/Chinese tariff saga pale into insignificance !!!

  7. rmason Silver badge

    I know it has been said, but there's zero point to continuing down this route. The money will be gone. It's the only explanation that neatly explains every issue they've had.

    It's gone, spent, in the pockets of the first lot. The only remaining question is what percentage of it went that way, and what percentage of it (if any!) went to china to get them to commence work, presumably on the promise of future cash from future orders.

  8. joewilliamsebs

    The poor contractor is going to find that winning the Small Claims Court action isn't actually going to help when the company has no assets and no intention of paying.

    It's going bankrupt and creditors will get pennies in the pound, if that. The only question is when.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps it stops future claims against the contractor? It at least is proof the contractor is not liable for future costs incurred by this ZX firm. Should they attempt to reverse charges or something.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And so the contractor may be hastening the "when" of the bankruptcy; an event which can trigger other events.

      I was once in the position of considering forcing my employer into bankruptcy so that I could get statutory redundancy payments.

      My employer couldn't pay me, but the government could - but only after I was made redundant which the employer was delaying.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      "The poor contractor is going to find that winning the Small Claims Court action isn't actually going to help when the company has no assets and no intention of paying."

      It might at least result in the Directors being forced to appear in court and explain where the money has gone. And also establish his rights over the source code in question.

      And if he wins before they are declared insolvent, it's of high enough value to go to the high court, appoint bailiffs and seize assets. First come first served in that case!

    4. Velv Silver badge

      However as the company is currently not in administration/liquidation (i.e. legally solvent) any CCJ issued has the highest chance of being enforced before any other claim against the company (not saying its great, its just greater than unCCJ'd claims). There's a good chance an £800 can be covered by some kind of asset if the High Court Enforcement officers are appointed (e.g. computers, cars, office furniture), although it's probably nearer £1,200 once the fees are added.

      Once the business enters administration the claim then joins the other creditors seeking a return.

    5. bobmajors

      The "poor contractor" pocketed a five figure sum for 18 months of lying about the progress of the device. This is merely an attempt to paint himself as an innocent party.

  9. Dave 126 Silver badge


    Is there any reason why the people who wanted a portable ZX Spectrum gaming experience didn't buy a PlayStation Portable and run an emulator?

    As a bonus, they can also play C64 games, and, gasp, PlayStation Portable games.

    I believe a similar emulator is available for PlayStation Vita machines.

    For all these Sony consoles, the method of enabling homebrew software, including emulators, depends upon the firmware version.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      This product is basically a GP2X with a Spectrum emulator.

      That was commodity hardware 13 years ago.

      Since superceded with a touchscreen version and no less than 3 successors-in-essence.

      I don't get why anyone backed it, especially as such a format is really poor for Spectrum games which often need more keyboard control even if just to navigate the settings.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      Simple, Nostalga and probably having a device where the hundreds of games were supposed to be properly licensed.

      Probably same reason people brought the Nes mini and Snes Mini and if they ever get a Mega Drive soc machine to sound correct I'll probably get that.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        It could be done entirely in software as a Switch download, without these shysters robbing everyone.

  10. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Everyone leave handhelds to Nintendo, please

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Hey! I'll beat you senseless with my Game Gear.

      And when I put batteries in it, it'll *really* hurt!

  11. Geoff Campbell


    First time I saw this, and regularly since, I have posted questions in various places as to how they were planning to obtain licences for all the bundled games.

    Never got an answer, at which point my interest in giving them any money at all evaporated.


    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Licences

      They still don't have an answer.

      They are supposed to be shipping, and they haven't released a list.

      They blame "a former director" for going around and somehow getting licensing "revoked" from thousands of independent rights-holders. That just reeks of cow manure, but also.. if you had everything properly licenced, how could someone else get it revoked? And from every rights-holder? I don't think so.

      They still refuse to even say what games they intended to use (for some super-secret reason that they won't explain) but I think it's because when they do, the rights-holders will stand up and say "Hold on, no you don't." I think they were hoping (at some stage) to ship, take the money and shut up shop before they could repeat the problems of the previous console where they did similar and ended up having to confess that they didn't hold the necessary rights for a lot of the games.

      Never judge a company by what they press-release, or insinuate. Judge them by how they respond to reasonable requests of customers (paying or potential) i.e. "I'd like a refund", "could you tell me what games I've paid for with it?" or even "when is it going to ship?"

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: Licences

        That sounds exactly like they made the assumption they could just use the games ("because they're old and nobody cares, right?"), until one of the Directors spoke up and pointed out this wasn't the case.

        Highly amusing to watch, if one doesn't have any money riding on the outcome.


  12. 0laf Silver badge

    I suppose you can do a lot of shredding in two weeks

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Shredding

      I managed a complete (and replete) four drawer filing cabinet in two fairly lazy days, including time to scan and file all the stuff I wanted to keep.

      It is a very therapeutic pastime, which I recommend for anyone.


  13. ZippyT

    A project killed by the backers...... as much as the directors (but in my opinion more the backers !)

    I wish the world could be more positive !

    1. Geoff Campbell

      <peers over glasses>

      Oh? How so?


    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Yeah bad thoughts, that's what sunk it.

      All that negative energy seeping into the wrong colour crystals.

      How dare they ask "Could you show us a photo of a finished unit, or tell us what games are supposed to be coming with this thing we bought that you said you were shipping 'this month' for the last 6 out of 8 months?".

      I blame their office feng shui, personally.

      1. AIBailey

        If a company says "we're going to photograph the coloured shells. They were out for shipping by Royal Mail today, but were sent back to the depot. We're paying extra to have them delivered Saturday, and will post photo's ASAP", and almost a year later hasn't done so, how is that the backers fault?

        If a company says "We're on track to deliver by the 12th of May", 7 months after saying "we'll have them out for October", and hasn't done so, how is that the backers fault?

        If a company can't show a single image of a working machine, 2 years after a working prototype was ready to go into production, how is that the backers fault?

        The actions of RCL over the past 2 years have been a complete embarrassment, ranging from pulling (one of) the release date(s) to redesign the hardware after a bunch of kids discovered a button problem just before launch, through to being asked for the dimensions of the unit, and when one backer produced an image with their best guess based just on the size of the USB port, RCL told them they were exactly right (and by the way, could they borrow that image for their own use?)

        Other than several renderings of the final product, RCL have shown noting beyond the original prototype, some 3D printed offerings of questionable quality, and a bag of buttons (not even chocolate ones).

  14. Gustavo Fring

    Theres only one real question

    And that is one short flush or a long one ....?

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Theres only one real question

      I suspect even a Mr Muscle drain unblocker wouldn't be able to remove the obstruction in this instance.

  15. Duffaboy

    move on there is nothing to see here

    Literally nothing to see

  16. mtp

    You win some and loose some

    Sounds just like the Noke U-Lock that I backed many years ago. Shipping was supposed to be Sept 2015. They post occasional updates but nothing happens, it seems very unlikely that the lock will ever appear.

    You win some and loose some with this kind of project.

    At least I got a LOHAN patch and pint glass from my most recent kickstart.

    1. Cardinal

      Re: You win some and loose some


      Oh no you don't!

      You win some and LOSE some!

  17. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  18. Pete4000uk

    Trains, Planes...

    And to think people funded a brand new Steam locomotive and got a Vulcan bomber back in the air. Yet a low powered games thing the a Pi could run...

  19. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    No money back, no guarantee.

    On the upside, send a quill written small claim form in, they don't even bother to read them anymore in the the outsourced workhouse, jobs a good 'un! #itsinthedefencebasket #lessthanamonthforaworkingprototypethoughsixweeksifyourecounting

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's dead Jim

    It's development, but not as we know it.

  21. Oflife


    I just do not understand the point of these dedicated retro gadgets? Why not simply develop an emulator for the Switch, PSP, 3DS and other gamepad equipped devices? And/or make a retro game collection for my phone and bundle a £25 snap on or Bluetooth gamepad and I may bite.

    Who is going to buy pricey turnkey hardware that runs games that will lose the "Hey old man, remember Spectrum Frogger? Grab this!" novelty value once the has worn off? Am an 80s gamer yet this has zero appeal. Idiotic business planning.

    1. J. Cook Bronze badge

      Re: Why?

      This. It's not terribly difficult.

      The Wii, for example, has a reasonably capable emulator for playing certain 8 and 16 bit NES and SuperNES games (I can name Super Mario 3 and Bobble Bobble off the top of my head); The switch can easily do it, and there are at least a handful of titles in their store for non-nintendo titles (a bunch of the NEOGEO games are in there, for example)

      There's also the RetroPi, and good ol MAME; although you have to go digging around for the ROMS for the latter platform, IIRC.

    2. SeanR

      Re: Why?

      because theyre /dedicated/?

      seriously though, this was going to be a Rick Dickinson design, housing a Chris Smith hardware creation.

      look them up.

      if Sinclair had made a handheld, back in the day, this is pretty close to what it might have looked like.

      and a thousand LICENCED games? with the ability to add more via SD card?

      a working prototype ready to go into production.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They just sent another indiegogo email out though...

    ...why did they bother?

  23. RobertsonCR7

    My first ever pc was a ZX Spectrum... long gone the old nice days...

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