In a show that proves the ZX Spectrum community is alive and well, an attempt to build the most legitimate successorto the ZX Spectrum computer – in spirit and in physical form – has met with great success on Kickstarter after being completely funded just 48 hours on-line. The project dubbed ZX Spectrum Next, beat its £250,000 (approx. $320,000) goal and is on the way to becoming a reality.
The team behind the new project – which includes latecomer Rick Dickinson, the designer of the original Speccy – are a collective of ZX Spectrum enthusiasts, and got the go-ahead from Amstrad and Sinclair to use the IP in exchange for dedicating part of all the revenue to the Royal National Institute of the Blind.
The Spectrum Next goes a step further than merely emulating the device over modern hardware. It uses an FPGA to work exactly like the original Z80 processor – speed et al – although the RAM has been expanded to 512 KB, and the device is compatible with the ZX Spectrum’s original hardware accessories. The system also includes onboard Wi-Fi and 256 (gasp!) colour mode. Video output can be RGB, VGA or HDMI, instead of the old RF connector.
To spice things up a bit, the team has also developed a casing which will allow you to slot in a Raspberry Pi Zero which will act as a co-processor (albeit a very powerful one) to the on-board hardware. Although, if you want a feel for the real thing, the PCB was designed to fit the ZX Spectrum’s original casing (with ‘minor’ changes).
The ZX Spectrum Next Kickstarter promises delivery of the goods in January 2018.
KitGuru Says: For an entire generation that grew up spoon-fed on ZX Spectrum home computers, it’s been hard to recapture the spirit. We’ve already gone through emulators (so many), spiritual successors (RPi) and new incarnations (Vega) that – while endorsed by his Lordship, Sir Clive – have fallen short of the real thing. This new project promises to deliver on the original experience and still leave the door open for modern computing.