So with the Spectrum hitting the ripe old age of 35 today, one can say looking back over the last year or so that the Spectrum ‘scene’ has been somewhat volatile. To be honest, even though I have been excited about the Next, I was not sure how the Kickstarter would be received for it. The Vega drama that has been played publicly over social media over the last year or so would surely dampen retro fans enthusiasm and trust for another piece of Spectrum hardware, surely?
Just a mere 15hrs into the campaign, and it is running at 76% of its massive £250k target – so thankfully my concerns have been proven wrong. I’ve just back at the £215 level – I want to re-create the magic I had back in 1983 of opening a brand new boxed ZX Spectrum. The ZX Spectrum Next feels right and this is the first Spectrum hardware I have backed on a crowdfunding platform and I am looking forwards to the early part of next year when the postman delivers me the finished thing.
So where does this leave the Vega+?
I had the pleasure of playing the Vega+ console at length at the ‘Dizzy Day’ celebrations a couple of weeks back. It exists, it feels good and I believe it will meet the pledgers expectation in terms of product. The buttons were a bit stiff, but I was told that these were pre-production units so fingers crossed they will be sorted. The console uses the Fuse Spectrum emulator, which I know some people are disappointed with and the games list is not finalised as of yet – there are a 1000 games promised. The problem is the delays and the continuing talk of legal activity that has put a somewhat cloud over the whole thing. The console now needs to be in the hands of everyone who put down money for it. It deserves to be out there.
Now with the Next on the horizon, promising a whole raft of enhancements on the base ZX Spectrum that are being lapped up by the Sinclair fan – will this machine bring the split ZX Spectrum ‘scene’ back together? I really do hope so – I have not felt this nostalgic buzz for hardware in a long time and the Spectrum fans have historically been the best in my opinion.
Is there room for the Next and the Vega+? I believe there is as both satisfy two different needs – I just hope that the ‘split’ now dissolves and every Spectrum fan enjoys the buzzing ZX Spectrum scene that we have at the moment.
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