back to article Sir Clive Sinclair in tech tin-rattle triumph

Sir Clive Sinclair has in just three days tin-rattled his way to over £160,000 towards production of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+, described breathlessly as "the world’s only hand-held LCD games console with 1,000 licensed games inside that can also connect to your TV!!". Following the success of the similarly crowdfunded …

  1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Ah, takes me back...

    The nostalgia... I'm especially looking forward to the 1980's style delivery date promises: this year; next year Q1; next year Q2, next year Q4 etc etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, takes me back...

      This just had to be first comment, have an upvote.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Ah, takes me back...

        Heh heh good point.

        My zx81 cost me 70 quid, then another 50 for the RAM pack, so a ton for a colour speccy is not so bad ;-)

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Ah, takes me back...

          £120 in 1982 is over £400 now, depending on how you measure (£400 relative to price of goods, £600 relative to average earnings).

          Still looks like a PSP though, they are about £200.

    2. itzman

      Re: Ah, takes me back...

      ...to the days of sending Uncle Clive your money and waiting 15 years for a product that didn't work to arrive by not exactly return post...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it have "head over heels"? If so I'm in.

    1. Oh Matron!

      Upvote because I loved head over heels!

    2. cheveron

      It doesn't have Head Over Heels. But apparently Jon Ritman owns the rights to it and permits non-profit distribution, so if you get a copy from an online source you can stick it on an SD card and play it.

    3. lybad

      Retro Spec

      http://retrospec.sgn.net/

      I've not looked at these for a while - but the builds of the Ultimate/Ocean isometric games on here were nice remakes. Some of them have been out for a while, but should play OK.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Retro Spec

        I remember getting the zx spectrum with 6 game pack. Testing my memory I remember "make a chip", "Horace goes skiing", a hunter game where you played a small animal, chess, a racing game (with 3 tracks!) and something else that I cant remember. Oh and a demo tape that had an arkanoid clone.

        1. 68K

          Re: Retro Spec

          The driving game was Chequered Flag I believe. I used to find that really difficult. And the Arkanoid clone was the EXCELLENT Batty!

          1. matthehoople

            Re: Retro Spec

            Thru the Wall. Batty - pah! That came years later as one of the first tapes stuck to a magazine...Your Sinclair.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not nostalgic for Spectrums because I had Amigas instead.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      isnt it your bedtime now youngster?

    2. splodge

      I have no desire to give any money to Murdoch for this

      1. Jan 0

        Me neither!

        What is the Murdoch connection?

        1. Mutton Jeff

          Re: Me neither!

          Isn't Alan (you're fired, you slaaag) Sugar who owns the spectrum stuff these days?

    3. ad47uk

      But the Amiga is from a different generation, the speccy would be compared to the Oric 1/atmos or Amstrad, . The Amiga was competing against the Atari ST, Sadly Sinclair was almost forgotten about by then.

      The ZX81 is what got me into computers, then the speccy after.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let meaningless battle commence!

      Vic-20.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hard to take seriously

    Downvote away, I don't care...

    It's hard to take anything this owl* comes up with seriously. Remember the C5 and how well that did? I'd be willing to bet any money the same will happen with this. Is there really that much demand for it?

    * He looks somewhat like an owl.

    1. tony72

      Re: Hard to take seriously

      That was visionary, but a little too far ahead of its time, that's all. In a few years, we'll all be rocking around big cities in autonomous electric C5-like pods. This console however - not so visionary.

      1. andy 103

        Re: Hard to take seriously

        I don't think the C5 - or indeed this console - are "visionary" at all. It's just an example of an item very few people actually want.

        Clive Sinclair seems good at coming up with ideas for "stuff" but unfortuantely it's not stuff that people (the market) actually wants to buy!

        The C5 was a vehicle which nobody wanted. This is a console, which very few people are likely to want enough to buy.

        So it might well appeal to geeks and Reg readers. But it begs the question, what's the business-case for producing them? It just seems like something that will be a massive loss! Which is a strange concept indeed for a man who's supposed to be quite clever. Lose money? Oh ok then sounds great(?!).

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          Clive Sinclair seems good at coming up with ideas for "stuff" but unfortuantely it's not stuff that people (the market) actually wants to buy!

          LOL.

          You're a young fellow aren't you?

          1. andy 103

            Re: Hard to take seriously

            @werdsmith

            "You're a young fellow aren't you?"

            Not at all. Look at the financial data for the company (or should I just say "massive losses"?) and have a good LOL then.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Hard to take seriously

              @andy 103

              You said that Sinclair didn't make stuff that the market wanted to buy.

              Regardless of financial data, Sinclair could barely make their ZX81 and Spectrum fast enough to satisfy the market.

              Before that the Cambridge Scientific was also in demand but took months to fulfil.

              But you'd need to go back 35+ years to remember it all.

              So LOL indeed.

        2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          The C5 wasn't a horrendous idea, but the execution was horrid. It was a pedal assisted transportation device that could be ridden without a license, so theoretically there was a market for it.

          Unfortunately it was completely impractical and frightening to drive in traffic. My uncle gave it a quick go and found it far too scary when cars were around.

          If Sir Clive had managed to make it closer to car sized (say sub Smart car size) with a riding position that meant you weren't dwarfed by other cars, who knows, it might have managed to get somewhere.

        3. goldcd

          Harsh - but I'm with you on the criticism

          Sinclair never 'invented', he had a knack of looking at a desirable product - and making a version that was an order of magnitude cheaper, for only a slight detrimental removal of functionality.

          The Spectrum was possibly the worst of the "home computers", but this was massively outweighed to me at least, by being the only one I could afford. Without Clive, I'd have had nothing.

          Why I'd want to but this thing, when practically *anything* I could buy today for less could do the same better is a mystery. Sole selling point is nostalgia.

        4. Jan 0

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          So you were that guy in the '60s who didn't want a matchbox radio or a digital amplifier!

        5. itzman

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          Well exactly. Whenever Clive came up with something people did want, it was technically infeasible, and whenever he came up with something that was technically feasible it was in general worse than someone else's product.

          We all dreamed of having a pocket TV, today, with 4G and smart phones 42 years later, we have it, but it says Samsung on it.

      2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Re: Hard to take seriously

        The C5 absolutely makes sense in any flat country in the world. He made a mistake selling anywhere but Belgium and parts of Holland. and maybe Docklands, oh and some mega-malls.

        1. x 7 Silver badge

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          the C5 made no sense in any country where it had to share roads with other vehicles

          to be honest it made little sense anyway - the battery charge was insignificant, while the seating position was such that pedaling was uncomfortable, inefficient and very very slow - and gave you a crick in the back.

          If the design had been any use, the modern generation of electric cycles would have copied it. As they've not, then the C5 design was clearly a botched dead end.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Hard to take seriously

      Laughable though it was, the C5 has since been eclipsed by a plethora of electrically-powered scooters taking the elderly and infirm to and from the shops.

      Perhaps Sir Clive's problem was targeting the young and aspirational? They don't have money anymore.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Hard to take seriously

        MyffyW :"C5 has since been eclipsed by a plethora of electrically-powered scooters taking the elderly and infirm to and from the shops"

        And they drive on pavements. The C5 was a road vehicle Well, supposed to be, only the suicidal would actual take one on the road and few of them did it twice. Most of us checked the flimsy plastic construction, noticed your head is below window level in surrounding cars and refused.

        An absolutely idiotic, dangerous product.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          People forget that Sinclair worked with ROSPA when they were designing the C5. It was bad publicity that killed it rather than a lack of safety.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          The C5 was a road vehicle Well, supposed to be, only the suicidal would actual take one on the road and few of them did it twice.

          Remember the Spitting Image scene with the lorry driver, a "crunch" noise, then he slaps another C5 sticker on the side of his cab?

          1. Paul Shirley

            Re: Hard to take seriously

            "Remember the Spitting Image scene"

            I remember the frightened, blanched with fear face of the shop assistant forced to test his new delivery vehicle in Reading traffic ;)

        3. Toastan Buttar
          Joke

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          "Only the suicidal would actual take one on the road and few of them did it twice."

          Sounds like a lucrative (if niche) market.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Hard to take seriously

      There's a fine line between success and failure. Sinclair spent a long time slackwiring that line before he fell. A bit of luck with one box of components bought on the cheap and he too could be miss-advising apprentices and pretending to be some kind of guru, or if Gates hadn't sold someone else's software to IBM he could have been selling overpriced mosquito nets to Africans.

      1. goldcd

        I think it's more that the British companies were Small at the time

        Maybe the modern paradigm is a kickstarter campaign.

        Sinclair never invented anything, he got smart people to assemble stuff into a package he could sell quickly and cheaply.

        Large companies were flaying around trying to do the same, and adding massive markups that their overheads necessitated - and rocked up the the market with a price driven by their overheads, rather than building something to a price from the outset.

        To me the modern Sinclair is a company like Xiaomi. Not "the best" - but packaging up good-enough to a price that's hard to compete against.

    4. iranu

      Re: Hard to take seriously

      You can add the Zike to that failure. It was an electric bike launched in 1992. I rode it at Alexandra Palace bicycle show that year where a mate was exhibiting. On dismounting Clive Sinclair asked me what I thought. I said it was the worst handling bike I'd ever ridden and that it was a flawed design due to the fork and stem geometry, which would mean the sort of people that the bike was aimed at would find it hard to ride.

      He didn't look happy! They only sold 2000 at £500 a pop and the Zike was discontinued 6 months later. Then again you've got to actually try in order to fail.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Hard to take seriously

        Another forgotten 'miss' was his earpiece FM radio, advertised alongside a picture of an old 10p for scale.

        On the one hand, visionary, auto scan, long predating Bluetooth headsets, on the other premature, the technology hadn't caught up with the idea, so it was uncomfortable and kept falling out.

        The point is he's had a few goes at bringing madcap shit to market, and sometimes caught a tailwind and bit of luck. I like that he isn't giving up.

        If he'd invested in property like Sugar (where he made the bulk of his net worth, fortunate timing) he'd probably be in a similar space. I mean, Amstrad made a load of old bollocks too, and that e-Mailer phone thing was just awful. Hilariously, they used them as props on the faceless lobby assistant's desk set 'Lord Sugar will see you now' for a while.

        1. akeane

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          UK economy in a nutshell, why bother inventing stuff and producing goods or services of real value when you can just (over) leverage into the property market?

          At least the UK can still build it's own rail links and nuclear power stations!

          1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

            Re: Hard to take seriously

            At least the UK can still build it's own rail links and nuclear power stations.

            Because they get away with repainting and renaming the repainted messes you mean?

            What did they call Calder haul? Overhaul? Long haul? Haul too far?

            Hang on... that was a joke wasn't it?

            LOL <bit slow this morni bloody hell is that the time. Oh shit another day wasted. Fucking register wasting my bloody life. bastards!

            Fuck off!!!!

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          > Another forgotten 'miss' was his earpiece FM radio,

          I had one of those (for use during my paper round). The performance was.. variable.

          After a couple of weeks I replaced it with a proper radio with an earpiece, Which worked.

      2. Pookietoo

        Re: I rode it at Alexandra Palace bicycle show

        I rode a Zike at the Ally Pally show, but it was before 1992 - the people I was there with, I was no longer working with by mid 1990.

    5. Patrician

      Re: Hard to take seriously

      I also remember the ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum all of which were hugely successful and, arguably, single-handedly kick-started the UK's home PC market.

      1. msknight Silver badge

        Re: Hard to take seriously

        *cough* *cough* Acorn *cough* *cough*

        1. Chika

          Re: Hard to take seriously

          *cough* *cough* Acorn *cough* *cough*

          Nasty cough you have there!

          Mind you, considering that the ARM came from Acorn (and Acorn was started in part by people from the original Sinclair) I suppose it's worth noting.

          The only thing that bugs me with this design is the atrocious "D-Pad". It looks like it will be four buttons rather than a proper d-pad and I've never really liked that. Mind you, most Speccy games were played from a joystick if you had one and the keyboard if you didn't. I certainly like this idea better than the original Vega idea.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: Hard to take seriously

            I'm concerned about that crappy four-buttons-for-one-thumb direction controller too. If one can't quickly and accurately toggle between pressing a single key and that key with an adjacent direction, without releasing the common key, a great tranche of those GAZEEELION titles will be abjectly unplayable. Including many of the better ones. The mere loss of precision alone, compared to operating with a dedicated digit always poised over Q, A, O, P and M/[SPACE], was enough to make many of the best designed-for-keyboard-control games unplayable with a joystick.

            I'm afraid I can smell another nice idea marred by poor attention to detail :(

            If anyone associated with the project is reading: Get a cunningly-thought-out precision eight-direction pad into the design or it WILL be useless. The direction controller is pivotal. ;o) If we can't get the mad duck out on the first day of playing Chuckie Egg, you have failed.

            And NO... making it unplayable does NOT make it more fun.

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: Hard to take seriously

        I also remember the ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum all of which were hugely successful and, arguably, single-handedly kick-started the UK's home PC market.

        They were also the reason that the console crash wasn't nearly as big a deal in the UK. Between the Speccy, the Commodore, etc, we still had plenty to play.

  5. Sir Barry

    Does the price include the cassette player?

    1. tony72

      No, but you can enable a special mode where the console makes modem noises and flashes the screen border for five minutes before starting the game, with a randomised 30% chance of failure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        30% chance of failure?

        You didn't know how to copy tape cassettes. It was an art form back in the day using some cruddy Hi-Fi equalizer and a library that supplied games.

        1. 0laf Silver badge

          Re: 30% chance of failure?

          Screwdriver at the ready to tune the heads for each cassette since they all appeared to be a bit different.

          1. Ian Bush

            Re: 30% chance of failure?

            I found that, at least with my hi-fi, if you whacked the volume up to 11 until everything was clipped into nice square waves it very rarely failed to load. The speccy speaker didn't like it very much though

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 30% chance of failure?

              @Ian Bush

              Nice Spinal Tap ref or not...

              Out of interest did anyone else (I did) find those boots tapes better for data?

        2. Colin Bull 1
          Facepalm

          Re: 30% chance of failure?

          The spectrum cassette interface was a major technological advance. The black and yellow stripes gave an indication of data transfer. On the acorn atom it sometimes took several attemps and a half hour later to realise you had not plugged the audio cable in.

          1. Chika

            Re: 30% chance of failure?

            The spectrum cassette interface was a major technological advance. The black and yellow stripes gave an indication of data transfer.

            Not really. It was just a slight improvement over what came before on the ZX81 where the whole screen did that when you were loading a tape. It's just that the Speccy kept its text area clear when loading so you could have something displayed. And don't get me started on the ZX80!

            On the acorn atom it sometimes took several attemps and a half hour later to realise you had not plugged the audio cable in.

            A little unfair to compare the Atom with the Spectrum given the difference in age. The Spectrum's actual rivals were systems such as the BBC Micro and the various colour Commodore machines of the 8 bit era and each did its bit to overcome the problems of the older machines such as the Atom, the ZX8x series and the Pet.

            They had that sorted by the time we moved onto the BBC Micro though. That was an elegant design for a tape interface for the time.

          2. Phil Dalbeck

            Re: 30% chance of failure?

            CHAIN ""

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: 30% chance of failure?

              some games had multiloaders though (like renegade) so you had to make good copies of the tapes. We used to go to John Menzies on a Friday, buy a game each (4 of us) and a blank C90 at the same time. Go to each others houses and play/copy, my tape to tape was a bit cheap and wasn't as good as my mate with a proper hifi.

        3. Mephistro Silver badge

          Re: 30% chance of failure?(@AC)

          You didn't know how to copy tape cassettes. It was an art form back in the day using some cruddy Hi-Fi equalizer...

          I did that with my ghetto-blaster, wich sported a double tape deck and a graphic equaliser. This simple setup allowed me to pirate copy dozens of games without an issue*.

          An exception was a game called 'Star Paws', which I finally deduced was using the length of unused tape at the end and the beginning of the tape as a proof of being an original. I wasted many hours of my life cracking that nut, and enjoyed every minute! :-)

          My iron was a C128, but I copied for friends program tapes from most major systems.

          1. Terry Barnes

            Re: 30% chance of failure?(@AC) @mephistro

            The graphic equalizer would have had zero effect on tape to tape recordings on a ghetto blaster. Equalizers sit in the signal chain just before the power amp. Even if there was an effect it's unlikely to have improved things - the signal isn't supposed to sound pleasing to your ears, there are discrete tones in use to convey data - all that matters is that they are discernible above the noise floor of the medium.

            1. Mephistro Silver badge

              Re: 30% chance of failure?(@AC) @mephistro

              "...graphic equalizer would have had zero effect on tape to tape recording......"

              Probably, but "just in case" I used to set all the equalizer controls to zero. As I said, zero problems when copying, so it must have worked! ;-)

        4. Peter X

          Re: 30% chance of failure?

          I seem to recall some games were terrible because they used "turbo loaders" (increased baud rate) and entirely didn't bother with error correction, so even the original cassette was hard to load.

          Using a Multiface One to deal with - (ahem) - creating backup copies, worked much more reliably because it just dumped the RAM image out.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: 30% chance of failure?

            and entirely didn't bother with error correction, so even the original cassette was hard to load.

            Nor did the original Speccy format. It just recorded an additional byte (or maybe just a bit) at the end of the data stream which when you counted the number of set bits made the total odd or even or somesuch. That's why you never found out about a bad load until right at the very end. At least the beeb format split the data into blocks and checked each block.

            The original speccy format was 'reet crude'. When recording it toggles the output signal on/off. The interval between each transition indicates if it's a 1 or a 0. After eight transitions you've got a byte. After 8192 transitions you have 1kB. No blocking, no error correction. Just a stream of bits.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Boffin

        You want the border to flash?

        randomize user 1331

        (Should be 'T' then <some shift combo to change the cursor into 'E'> 'U' '1331') on an emulator of your choice.

        The colour is wrong but the sound is there :)

        1. Boothy

          I was 13 when the Spectrum 48k came out.

          I was a bit of an electronics tinker back then.

          At 14, I worked out what frequencies were used on the tapes, and built an in-line multi frequency band pass filter to try and remove background noise between the tape player and recorder.

          Took a while to sort it out, but once done, made perfect 'backup' copies of games :-)

          Happy days, although Manic Miner background music still haunts me to this day!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Poke 23613, peek23730-5

          That'll disable the break keys!!

          Fkin amazing what I remember from my pre-pubescent youth. these days I can barely remember what effin day it is...

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Terminator

            poke 23609, 6 gives you a nice beep as you type. Oh and I was wrong about the key for 'USR'. It's actually 'L'.

            On this emulator it's:

            * Select 48 BASIC.

            * 'T'

            * [Ctrl][Shift]

            * 'L'

            * 1331

            * [Enter]

            Oh and does anyone else think how weird it is that you can write a Spectrum emulator in an interpreted language like Javascript? Lordy how technology has moved on!

        3. bowdie

          At the risk of showing my age, it's "Randomize usr 1302" for the correct colours.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Randomize usr 1302

            Well I never knew that! I knew about 1331 and the format because I spent a happy week writing my own turbo loader for laughs but never discovered 1302.

            On a related note I've always credited The Sinclar Spectrum ROM Dissasembly (PDF) as one of my landmark reads. I will always remember the moment that I realised why you could use the most significant bit of a mantissa to hold the sign flag. A little light bulb glowed bright in my little head back then :)

            That and the eponymous Zacks bible Programming the Z80 (also PDF) between them kindled my interest in programming. Not so much 'doing something clever' as that involved a lot of work. More the idea of 'being the perfect servant in the back room'.

  6. tony72

    Oh, how the mighty are fallen

    From changing the world by helping to put computers in every home, and ahead-of-its-time projects like the C5, to an overpriced, me-too portable emulator console.

    I guess the draw here is the "1000 licensed games" (which don't seem to be listed, so hard to say if they're worth it), otherwise you can buy a portable android games console for less money, and install one of the spectrum emulators from the Play store (and have many more options besides the speccy games).

    I wish Sir Clive all the best, though.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Oh, how the mighty are fallen

      I've read more than once that he didn't particularly like the Spectrum either, but he realised it made him money, if only to spend it on things like developing the C5.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wish Sir Clive all the best, though.

      I dont, but then I used to work for him.

  7. earlyjester

    ahhh Skool Daze, i loved that game

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Always one shield I couldn't quite reach. I knew you had to knock another pupil to the ground, jump on him, then hit the shield, but couldn't do it.

      Then I got Elite on a Beeb and it didn't seem to matter any more!

      1. Gary Moore's Plectrum

        For the high up shields (which were on the ground floor if I remember correctly) you had to catapult one of the teachers and then shoot again at his head ... the pellet would ricochet up to hit the shield.

  8. caffeine addict Silver badge

    ElReg seems like the place people will know about this...

    YEars ago I remember reading about the Sinclair Black Watch, which had lots of problems with the plastic of the case refusing to bond to the plastic of the strap. So Sinclair sent it off to an adhesives specialist to find a solution. The replied (some time later) by sending Sinclair a watch and strap held together with a bolt.

    Annoyingly, I can't find anything about it on the internet. Does anyone know anything else about it?

    1. /dev/null

      Planet Sinclair: The Black Watch

      The casing was impossible to keep in one piece. It was made from a plastic which turned out to be unglueable, so the parts were designed to clip together. The clips didn't work either and the problem was turned over to a subcontractor. Sinclair later (much later) received a small box on which was written, "We've solved the problem of the Black Watch!". Inside was a Black Watch with a half-inch bolt driven though it.

    2. simonpearse

      black watch

      I still have my black watch,and what's more it works as well now as it did when it was new. (sadly).

      In 1974 Prof Eric Laithwaite gave the RI christmas lectures attended by clive sinclair (and by me!). Laithwaite had a bee in his bonet about gyroscopic anti-gravity. In the new year CS set up two guys in a room at the st Ives rivermill playing with gyroscopes until some wag pinned a fake letter on the company notice board.

      Dear Sirs, I recently purchaced a Sinclair Anti-gravity belt from Dixones for 39.99. All was going well until, at a height of 50 fee, one of the two hearing-aid battery clips (enclosed) flew out of the case....

      The project was quietly cancelled.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: black watch

        My dad's mate had a Black Watch. I think he got the Build It Yourself option from the pages of ETI: he was an electronics boffin in the MoD so was a dab hand with the soldering iron.

        Biggest problem then was that in the 1970s shirts were often mafe of nylon. Which caused static and would fry the watch.

        I remember the reviews of the Scientific Calculator in another electronic magazine of the time where the errors on the trig functions were reported to be 33%.

        Great days.

  9. Richard Wharram

    Fuck it

    Ordered a white one.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Fuck it

      Fuck it! £100.

      Just give me an emulator for my tablet thanks.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Fuck it

        I'd totally buy one, but for a 100 quid I can buy five or six bluetooth keychain-sized game controllers which enable me to do the exact same thing on the Android phone I already have. So yeah...

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Ordered a white one

      No, I think you'll find you backed a develoment project that should it pan out may result in you being "rewarded" with a white model - assuming they are able to make it in more than one color.

      The places where one can drive a tractor-trailer rig through your expectations with this capital raising model are many.

  10. Valerion

    Wake me up

    When a C64 equivalent arrives. :)

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Wake me up

      well just get yourself a cheap android tab and put a c64 emu on. I presume theres a few available in android flavour.

      you'll be playing Turrican & wizball in no time!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wake me up

      Do you have an iPhone? Logical progression.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Wake me up

        ".Do you have an iPhone? Logical progression."

        Actually an interesting point, I wonder how 40-somethings map from computer platform to phone platform?

        For instance, is there a correlation between Sinclair owners and Android users? BBC Micro/Acorn and Blackberry? Commodore and Apple?

        El Reg, this is a genuine request to set up a poll to see if there are correlations! It's not 'big data', it's barely 'modest data', but could be a bit of fun.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Wake me up

          I had a VIC 20 and my favourite smart phone ran Symbian

        2. theOtherJT

          Re: Wake me up

          El Reg, this is a genuine request to set up a poll to see if there are correlations! It's not 'big data', it's barely 'modest data', but could be a bit of fun.

          I would most definitely fill such a poll in, because I too would find the result interesting!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wake me up

          1981, I was 12.

          ZX81, then 16k ram pack, then thermal printer.

          48k zx spec

          c64, with commodore printer / plotter

          Amiga 500 1.3

          Amiga 1200, blizzard 1220 and 68030 co-pro

          then amd k5 pr166 (first & last amd ownage)

          Intel p1 233

          Intel p2 300

          Intel p3 450

          several p4's

          2 voodoo 3 cards SLI (24 meg of gfx ram!!!!!)

          Numerous Nvidia cards.

          Wont touch AMD

          Current I7 720qm (5 year old laptop with a win score of 5.9 and that's 'cos its a crappy sata HD, the CPU scores 7)

          1st phone was an alcatel OT View, then a modded bosch 508 with coconut case and blue leds (that WAS a stonking phone), then all nokias including the bomb proof 6250, now own nokia n70, n8, n95, lumia 820 lumia 930. one android tablet I was given as a present. Used to play boom beach.

          Never owned anything apple, never owned an android phone...

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Wake me up

          > between Sinclair owners and Android users? BBC Micro/Acorn and Blackberry?

          Well, I had (in succession) a:

          Nascom 1

          BBC Micro

          Spectrum (at the same time, and for much less time than, the BBC)

          Atari ST

          Archimedes

          Then got my first PC - a blazing fast 386sx-25 with 4MB RAM and an 80Mb HD..

          I've had iPhones and Android phones. I've never had (and will never have) a Crackberry.

        5. alun phillips

          Re: Wake me up

          Wash your mouth out, committed BBC (model b) owner and I wouldn't touch a blackberry, Android via Palm for me.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Wake me up

      Try and get yourself a raspberrypi zero then. £4.20 and a few cables from your "box of junk" and run a C64 emulator. You'll have to source the 1000 games though.

      1. gotes

        Re: Wake me up

        You'll have to source the 1000 games though.

        Probably easier than sourcing a Pi Zero.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wake me up

      C64 DTV

  11. Whitter
    Meh

    1000 installed

    The other 13000?

    And what ratio hits/misses in these two groups?

    1. MrT

      Re: 1000 installed

      Can't play The Hobbit, or any other text-based game that needs a keyboard for commands. Still, there's always emulators like Marvin and the World of Spectrum archive to wade through for that sort of thing ;-)

  12. M man

    theres a hand held you can buy in version from £30 to £500 connect to a TV remotely(think its called casting.)

    Comes with as many games want(size restictions apply)

    Apparently you can make phone calls with it too.

  13. wolfetone Silver badge

    What's The Point?

    There is a long running argument regarding emulation and whether it's better than the real thing. Sometimes it is if the hardware or game is stupidly expensive/rare/too big to put in your house, sometimes it isn't. And the times where it isn't better is when the original hardware is still stupidly cheap, the games are cheap and bountiful, and it doesn't take a lot to make them run or store.

    The Spectrum falls in to the latter camp. It's still relatively cheap when compared to other micros of the time. The BBC Micro commands upwards of £80 for a good one. I bought a Spectrum 48k last week for £30. In it's original box. It may even be an Issue 1 although I haven't opened it up yet to find out. It's actually tiny, taking up no more space than a book, and it isn't too hard to download a game for it and stick it on your phone and play it through the Speccy. It'll also work on modern LCD/LED TV's although you need to tune it in via the analogue port - standard behaviour.

    The problem this device has, for me, is that it offers absolutely nothing of value to the end user. Yes you can play it on the go, yes it looks nice, but that's it. Most of the people who like these things have a smart phone, and there are PLENTY of emulators around that can do the job this can. And there are several add ons that give you a joystick and buttons to play not just Speccy games but C64, Mega Drive, N64 games etc. And for those who don't like mobile games, you can pick your emulator of choice for your OS of choice.

    If you want the proper experience, just go on eBay and pick up an old Speccy and do it properly. You can replace the membranes for £10(ish) and various other easy modifications like using composite AV out instead of the RF unit. Do it properly if you do it at all.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: What's The Point?

      A lengthy and elegant post, well done sir.

      But no , I'll use an emulator thanks . And on a PC, not some gimmicky tab thing. A proper PC thats at a desk with a box on the floor and screen up top.

      nostalgia will still be 97% intact

      .

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: What's The Point?

      The point is that it raised £169,000 of backing from ordinary folks in 3 days without too much publicity. I had no idea about it until today.

      Still not backing it though.

    3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: What's The Point?

      Convenience, and accuracy. I dug out my old MSX and soldered up a cable to connect a proper tape player (lost the data recorder). First problem : 'mono' is supposed to be the left channel, but one game tape had recorded it on the right.. Then, Manic Miner loaded It looks as I remembered it, it played as I remembered it, the sound - the sound was appalling. The load time, five minutes of waiting. Probably easier to run in an emulator.

      Likewise, I have a retro gaming PC - it has an S3 Savage 4 (accurate DOS scrolling), a Soundblaster AWE32, and two different Roland music modules. Running games with the proper Roland music and responsiveness of the original system is better than running it in DOSBox, but a lot more difficult. In that case it's worth making the effort, at least for me.

      Take Commander Keen 4, though, and I can't tell the difference between the real thing, and DOSBox emulation. Eventually it won't be worth using the original hardware, plus emulators can save state, useful with difficult games.

    4. The Dude

      Re: What's The Point?

      I still have a Torch.... basically a BBC Micro + CP/M computer in a case with colour monitor.

      heavy beast. Anyone know what it might be worth?

      Also have boxes of un-opened ZX-81 stuff, software, bit and pieces.

      and an Altair 8800 that worked the last time I powered it up, 20 years ago. ;-)

      And all the C64 repair parts anyone could ever want.

      What...? This isn't Craigslist? Who knew?

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: What's The Point?

      You still need a device with buttons though if you want to be able to play Spectrum games. An emulator on an iPhone or an Android device doesn't really cut it unless you use a game controller too.

    6. Havin_it
      WTF?

      Re: What's The Point?

      >download a game for it and stick it on your phone and play it through the Speccy.

      Eh? How's that work then? Genuinely curious (still have my Speccy in storage).

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    C'mon, Clive, build a new Sinclair Scientific with a reliable keypad and clear last entry infrastructure and you'll get my money.

    This is just noodling.

  15. Pangasinan

    What Games though?

    Ahhh,

    Manic Miner and Attic Attack

    Gave me many late nights in the 80s.

    Also had a DAI (Dutch make) with mini tape drives.

    1. Boothy
      Mushroom

      Re: What Games though?

      "Hall of the Mountain King" : Over and over and over and over again.

      Icon --> As that was my head after a few hours on Manic Miner!

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: What Games though?

        That and 'Blue Danube' from Elite and whatever the music was from Gauntlet. All of which I played for many, many, many hours. Gauntlet was the only tragedy though, given a tape load error when I'd got to level 92.

        The other game I played which burned a soundtrack into my head was TIE Fighter.

        I've not played a PC game in years, although if a new version of TIE Fighter came out, I think I'd be forced to buy a nice graphics card and a joystick.

        1. 68K

          Re: What Games though?

          Why not check out the new Elite: Dangerous? Even has the Blue Danube playing when you use the docking computer!

  16. cd / && rm -rf *

    I thought...

    ... Uncle Sir Clive sold the Speccy rights to that bloke from Amsturd?

  17. 0laf Silver badge

    Needs to have Barbarian complete with a HiRes poster of norktastic linda lusardi

    1. Jedit
      Headmaster

      "Barbarian complete with a HiRes poster of norktastic linda lusardi"

      It was Maria Whittaker on the Barbarian poster. And the barbarian himself was Wolf from Gladiators.

    2. Snarf Junky

      Wasn't it Maria Whitaker?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No,

      Kokotoni Wilf!!!!

  18. calagan

    MEH! Yet another retro handheld

    Why so many buttons? It looks like you're just slapping a Sinclair logo onto yet another one of those cheap-ass chinese retro handheld, while removing the ability to emulate the dozen of other 8- and 16-bit platforms.

    You really need to provide other incentive than just a big bunch of games which you could download of WoS anyway.

    Also, with the recent release of the Recreated ZX Spectrum Bluetooth keayboard, it's a sorely missed opportunity not to support Bluetooth, which would have allowed to do a bit more than playing games on this gadget.

    Lastly, what I would really expect on such a device is an Atari joystick port, so you could plug an authentic joystick (my two favourites were the Competition Pro and the Konix) and retrieve those lost sensations.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: MEH! Yet another retro handheld

      Ah, Daley Thompson's Decathlon Joystick Destroyer. Happy memories.

  19. Snarf Junky

    Dust gatherer

    £100 to realise that most of the games are fairly rubbish. We played them to death because we had nothing better. I'll bet most people play about 1% of them briefly before it goes into a drawer never to be seen again.

  20. Halfmad

    I got something similar from a high street shop recently with about 20 Megadrive games on it, my 5 year old loves it and it's pretty much fool proof as she turns it on and there are the games, no internet connectivity, no worry about her dropping it (this thing is bomb proof) and it's got nice simple controls.

    Yeah I could be skeptical about Sir Clive doing this but honestly I think he's onto something, I'd be far happier with my kid playing old speccy games than half the trash on the kindle store.

  21. Triggerfish

    Elite

    Just showed a younger colleague, a Vid of Elite on the spectrum, they were slightly gobsamcked it was running on a computer thats has a memory much smaller than the average word docs file size.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Elite

      Wait until you tell them how the system names where stored :)

  22. David1000

    Anyone remember the Atari Lynx?

    The design of this is almost identical.

    Except the lynx had better graphics...

    Still - a very cool thing to see happening.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: Anyone remember the Atari Lynx?

      It looks closer to a Playstation, or the Tapwave Zodiac (still have one of those, such lovely hardware). The Lynx (which I also have, specifically the smaller, later revision) only has one set of direction buttons and is a lot more bulky, not least because it can run on six AAs.

      The Lynx was a lot better, full stop. Possibly the Z80 in the speccy was faster than the 6502 in the Lynx for some operations, but the plethora of custom support chips led to some excellent games for the Lynx. It's still the only handheld which runs Chips Challenge; there was a speccy version of that too, but I bet it wasn't much cop. Gates of Zendocon, California Games, Slime World, Awesome Golf. Great console.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: Anyone remember the Atari Lynx?

        The 6502 in an Atari Lynx is a 65SC02 and, being clocked at 4Mhz, is probably roughly twice as fast the Z80 in the Spectrum. But it doesn't need to be because the unlike pre-+2A Spectrums the Lynx has a double buffer, and unlike all of its contemporaries it has a scaling hardware blitter with some basic vector drawing capabilities and a maths coprocessor for multiply and divide. It has to surrender the bus for the former but can run in parallel with the latter.

        These are some of the benefits a machine can accrue by being launched seven years later.

        But the Spectrum games are better.

    2. Haku

      Re: Anyone remember the Atari Lynx?

      I have a few Atari Lynxs, the first gen is big enough and heavy enough to have sat on your bedside table to be used as a bludgeoning weapon in the case of a break-in, and it wouldn't get the attention of the police in the same way a baseball bat by your bed would.

      I also have a pile of Sega Gamegears and a mountain of cartridges for them, occasionally I'll scour up 6 charged AA's and give them a whirl. Fun for a while but the biggest letdown of the handhelds of that era is the LCD screen quality, very poor viewing angles and low resolution. The phones/tablets of today have in comparison astonishingly good screens, but what they lack are the physical control buttons needed for 'proper' gaming.

      I'd pitch in for one of these new fangled Spectrum handhelds but after spending lots of time on the Android emulator Marvin with a bunch of games and a bluetooth games controller I realised nostalgia isn't what it used to be. Plus I still have a working ZX Spectrum +2 :)

  23. jurrabi

    OMG I so need one!!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should have bought a Plus D snapshot with 3.5" floppy drive. Game load time in seconds and everything in memory was restored. No more wait time or restart from the beginning in games.

    Epic.

    http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=1000246

    1. Boothy

      Forgotten what it was called now, but I had a snapshot type device that dumped the Spectrum memory to the Sinclair microdrive.

      As this could work at any point in time, it meant you could also save your game progress, as you just hit a button, and it froze the system. You could then dump the memory state to the microdrive at that point in time, mid game, and reload again later.

      Hmm, it's going to bug me what the thing was called now!! Anyone any ideas?

      It was a small box, plugged into the rear expansion, and had a single red button on the top. Hit that and the speccy froze, and you got an on-screen menu that let you peek and poke memory, save/load to/from the microdrive, and various other bits.

      1. Boothy

        Found it, it was a Multiface

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiface

        Mine was the Multiface One, as it had the Kempston joystick port on the side.

  25. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    I think I'll pass

    I had a Speccy back in the day, and generally I like a bit of old school tech nostalgia....but, sorry, this just looks a bit shit

  26. Wyrdness

    Delivery Dates

    Order a Spectrum by March for delivery by September. It's like 1982 all over again. At least this time Sinclair isn't claiming that this is '28 days'.

  27. Stoke the atom furnaces

    It would be awesome if you can write your own programs for the device. Spectum or Z80 BBC Basic anyone?

    Is it known know what CPU / microcontroller the device is build around (irony of ironies if it is Acorn/ARM based 8-) ) ?

    1. Stoke the atom furnaces

      The original Spectrum Vega has a Freescale i.MX23 SoC, so I guess it is safe to assume that the Vega+ will have the same hardware. And it does have an ARM9 core.

  28. Breen Whitman

    Nostalgia intensifies....

  29. Jess

    They have achieved something amazing as far as I can tell

    A worse typing experience than the original.

  30. x 7 Silver badge

    So what other pieces of antiquated crap could crowdsourcing put back into production?

    So what other bits of junk should we try to get manufactured again?

    425-line television?

    the Ford Anglia?

    78rpm turntables and records?

    all are as relevant and useful as this scam

  31. Yugguy

    100 quid though?

    It's a lot when I can run an emulator on my laptop...

  32. TechGeezer

    now all we need..

    ...are the C64 and Amstrad CPC variants.

  33. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Joke

    Where do you put the cassette tape?

    Or should I did out my micro-drives?

  34. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    But can you play Doomdark's Revenge on it?

  35. Diziet Sma
    Facepalm

    How would you play F-16 Combat Pilot?

    As much as I love the idea, my problem with both the vega original and this, aside from issues of quality and price is the promise that you can play all 14,000 spectrum games

    How would you play a game that uses the full keyboard?

    E.g.

    http://www.worldofspectrum.org/pub/sinclair/games-info/f/F-16CombatPilot.pdf

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 million sold and people say he is a failure

    Hindsight police who never make anything wrong in their world..

    He as achieved more than any poster here.

  37. Sandy Ritchie
    WTF?

    Atari must be spinning in their tech grave at that Lynx-alike.

    Retrograde step, 16bit back to 8bit too.

  38. Flywheel Silver badge

    Some assembly required?

    Anyone remember the infamous "Black Watch"? "No unprofessional buttons",etc.

    It'll no doubt be "available ready-assembled", or "why not save money and assemble it yourself".

    No thanks.

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