I was a proud owner of the ZX Specturm 48K, now for those of you who do not know what 48K is, it has nothing to do with the resolution output that will damn the PS5's 8K resolution capability.
48K is the memory.
Yes, you heard right. It is a paltry 48K and not 48MB or 48GB.
So when I came across this kickstarter attempt to charge you US$500 bucks as a pledge to get one of these new ZX Spectrum Next computers, I almost threw up.
Here are the specs from the Kickstarter campaign.
- Processor: Z80 3.5Mhz and 7Mhz modes
Memory: 512Kb RAM (expandable to 1.5Mb internally and 2.5Mb externally)
Video: Hardware sprites, 256 colours mode, Timex 8x1 mode etc.
Video Output: RGB, VGA, HDMI
Storage: SD Card slot, with DivMMC-compatible protocol
Audio: 3x AY-3-8912 audio chips with stereo output + FM sound
Joystick: DB9 compatible with Cursor, Kempston and Interface 2 protocols (selectable)
PS/2 port: Mouse with Kempston mode emulation and an external keyboard
Special: Multiface functionality for memory access, savegames, cheats etc.
Tape support: Mic and Ear ports for tape loading and saving
Expansion: Original external bus expansion port and accelerator expansion port
Accelerator board (optional): GPU / 1Ghz CPU / 512Mb RAM
Network (optional): Wi Fi module
Extras: Real Time Clock (optional), internal speaker (optional)
The first thing that comes to mind is what does the ZX did so well that it became such a thing with the retro scene?
It was a gaming computer console back in its day.
For computer this backward, you should plonk your money down on a PS4 than to buy something like this and let me tell you why.
First, if you haven't played a single 8 bit game in your life, you will not know how ingenious and ridiculous it is compared to what you can do on a gaming console today.
In its day, the ZX spectrum even had a port of the arcade game R-Type and Pacman. So if you are wondering how the programmers did this when they only had 48K of memory to do this is the ingenious part.
The ridiclous part is how these folks want to rip you off with a updated ZX computer for 500 bucks when you can download an emulator for this same computer on Retroarch or PC for next to nothing.
ZX game ROMs are free for you to download.
To reverse engineer this tiny computer is just incredibly stupid when you can get a Rasberry Pi Zero to emulate this baby. Why the hell would you want to continue using a Zilog processor is beyond me.
So I am NOT with stupid like the rest of them.
As much as I love the computer and games from that era, I don't see myself paying more than 100 bucks for something similar to this.
The C64 had a reboot as a mini that cost less than US$100 and there will be a new one with a full sized keyboard coming this year. But this is a story for another day.