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Does the ZX Spectrum still hold up today or is it an obsolete fad?

How does the Speccy hold up today?


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Afro Republican

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The ZX Spectrum is a controversial machine. One side of the argument claims that the ZX spectrum or Speccy was a fad. it took advantage of the market, primarily in Europe, and became a success mostly due to it being a very very cheap entry level product. It developed support fast enough to create an ecosystem during its time of relevance.

However, then they say once you remove it from when it was on store shelves and look it in a vacuum, you have a very outdated computer with zero programs standing out, and for gaming, the worst graphics of any major computer released around the same time by a long-shot, having the worst versions of any title that isn't exclusive. Some say it's an evolution or a more colorful version of PC's early pink and green CGA.

The other argument is that while the Speccy isn't really the best computer and doesn't have many stand out programs other computers had, it makes up for it with it's gaming library. Some say it has one of the best gaming libraries out there.

I'd like to hear from from both sides and why you stand by your opinion on the Spectrums status in 2019.







I've personally only played a spectrum a few times, but it always seemed to have weird graphics that were the result of many compromises to keep the hardware cheap. I don't know much about the original titles, but all the games I've played were released on other platforms, and in some cases consoles, where the games ran and looked much better.

But I'm interested in hearing from fans about how they feel about it, and how it compares to the other big names especially today. It's definitely a divisive brand..
 

phil_t98

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Oct 10, 2014
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The thing with the 8bit and 16bit era is the games aged well because they weren’t just about graphics.

gameplay usually was pretty solid, I played the isometric batman and head over heels recently and they were still good. 16bit games have aged better as the graphics had more colours or detail but 8bit still holds up
 

Neff

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Feb 6, 2012
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It was shit then and it's shit now

C64 4eva

Real talk, many friends of mine had Spectrums and I still get nostalgic seeing those hideous bleeding blocks of colour, seizure-inducing scrolling, and hearing the cacophony of farts it called sound effects.
 
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DiscoJer

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I think a big that thing separates older computer games from modern games, even PC, is that many were designed to use the keyboard. Maybe not action games, but there were a whole host of RPGs and strategy games and what not that were only played with the keyboard and it's difficult to play them today, since you don't have the same keyboard computers did have back then.
 
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My guess is that if there are slow paced games, non arcade or console ports, they could still have something of value on there.

That being said, I am truly sorry for you if you feel any kind of nostalgia for this thing, it probably has the worst "graphics" any system ever produced, it can't move the screen or objects on the screen at any good pace, and the sound coming out of this machine is horrible (if not criminally bad, the PC speaker was better!).

But I think it was cheap.
 

Lord Yellow

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When you had a Spectrum from the start you'd think of it much more fondly then if you tried it decades later. It's like if you had a drive of an old car - they generally seem lousy compared to today's cars, yet if grew up with it you'd still love it.





TL;DR I'm old :pie_thinking:
 
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Knightime_X

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I thought spectrum graphics were pretty bad when I was 6 years old BEFORE nes arrived.
I think I enjoyed the TRS 80 more.
 
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Afro Republican

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The thing with the 8bit and 16bit era is the games aged well because they weren’t just about graphics.

gameplay usually was pretty solid, I played the isometric batman and head over heels recently and they were still good. 16bit games have aged better as the graphics had more colours or detail but 8bit still holds up
I don't think there was any 8-bit computer that came close to looking as bad as the ZX spectrum outside the Dragon 32, and I only know about that because there was an American imported version on display at a computer store. This isn't really about 8-bit vs. 16-bit.
 
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phil_t98

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I don't think there was any 8-bit computer that came close to looking as bad as the ZX spectrum outside the Dragon 32, and I only know about that because there was an American imported version on display at a computer store. This isn't really about 8-bit vs. 16-bit.
The spectrum had its own charm though, yes limited colour palette but some games such as head over heals looks great still
 

Holammer

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I lived in C64 country so I seldom came across any in the wild back in the days; but I know enough to say It was a piece of shit, built with the cheapest off the shelf components possible and Clive had no intention to make it a games machine.
It was so bad it inspired Jack Tramiel's worst business decision ever, the +4 and C16.
 

Stefan.North

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Black backgrounds, one colored tiles that overlap (no transparent 'color'), bad scrolling and awful sound. And Famicom came out only 1 year after it with much better and more capable hardware.
It was only popular in it's homeland and only because it used the vacuum that was present so long there untill an alternative came with Sega.

Saying ZX was good because it was popular in UK is like saying same about Elektronika 60 computers since they were popular in USSR.
 
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Holammer

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Could you elaborate on this?
Spectrum was cheap to produce and Jack wanted to create competing products in the same price range. The result was the +4, C16 and C116, machines without the video and sound capabilities of the C64 using a 'TED' all-in-one chip instead. All of them sold poorly and saw little software support.
 

Birdo

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Very nostalgic to me because all my friends had one (Target Renegade was the Streets of Rage of the day).

However...... Younger people would get very little from playing one now. Really clunky games.
 

phil_t98

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the thing is to anybody looking back on the spectrum now without having played it back in the day wouldn't get how at the time it was simple to program and play games on. its like the currant gen of gamers looking at PS1 games, I say there is a charm to the spectrum games that isn't in the ps1 games. first gen 3d games do not hold up as well as sprites from the 8but and 16bit era
 
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Lord Yellow

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Black backgrounds, one colored tiles that overlap (no transparent 'color'), bad scrolling and awful sound. And Famicom came out only 1 year after it with much better and more capable hardware.
It was only popular in it's homeland and only because it used the vacuum that was present so long there untill an alternative came with Sega.

Saying ZX was good because it was popular in UK is like saying same about Elektronika 60 computers since they were popular in USSR.
What a load of nonsense. The Spectrum inspired thousands of people to learn how to code and got the games industry fired up. No video game crash over here. No one was sitting round waiting for Sega.
 
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64bitmodels

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Jul 25, 2019
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Nah, it sucked. Yeah graphics aren't everything, but even then the games weren't that good.
this post was made by the amiga is the best computer gang
 
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Collz69

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I never owned one, some of my friends did, I thought it was a bit shit compared to commodore but people that owned them seemed to love them, I don’t think it’s aged very well but I am biased towards commodore, I had a C16 & a C64.
I do remember 2 good speccy games, “Rik Mayall’s how to be a complete bastard” probably because it was rude, I guess that game didn’t age well & “Chaos: Battle of the Wizards” a turn based wizard game where you cast spells at each other on a single screen/map.
 
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Stefan.North

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What a load of nonsense. The Spectrum inspired thousands of people to learn how to code and got the games industry fired up. No video game crash over here. No one was sitting round waiting for Sega.
I never said otherwise. What I was saying was noting it's downsides compared to other hardware of the time. It did create a big wave of British developers and nurtured talent.

And in my opinion it wouldn't be no where near as popular if Nintendo got a grip of Europe in time, or if Sega came earlier. If you disagree, that's OK also.

And topic is if it's holding out today, and it's not. As I noted no transparet color, no scrolling ect.
 

HighFlyingBird

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Jun 21, 2018
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Robocop
Chase HQ
Dizzy / Treasure Island / Fantasy World Dizzy
Wild Bunch
Manic Miner
Jet Set Willy
Don't Buy This
The Hobbit
Bear Bovver
Transmuter
Head Over Heels

....I'm not saying it was great, but i have very fond memories and there were at least some games that hold up on their own terms
 
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m.i.s.

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Even though I was a C64 man, I have to doff my cap off to the ZX Spectrum. A mass market home computer that has a footprint the size of the PS2 slim...in 1982!! And a chiclet keyboard decades before we'd even heard of them.

If for nothing else, than Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy making their debut here.

And so did the forerunners to Rare, then known as Ultimate Play the Game. They really made the Spectrum sing. I'd go as far as to say that had the Spectrum not existed, we probably wouldn't have had all the Rare hits on SNES and N64 as we know them today.
 
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muteZX

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Jul 11, 2019
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- new speccy game with smooth multicolor vertical scrolling.


- work in progress mario for speccy, smooth 50Hz horizontal scroll.


- fresh new game - aliens wannabe.


- another new speccy game, SHMUP, smooth scroll + kempston mouse = arcade gaming quality.


- castlevania ZX.

etc. etc.
 
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EightBit Man

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Never played on one, but from what I understand it was a very important piece of hardware in Britain's gaming history. What became Rare had its roots in the ZX Spectrum. Must say that some games look enjoyable.
 
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Fuz

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I have a weird fascination about the low color ZX graphics. Never had the speccy, but I played some conversions on my C64 and there was something enthralling about it.
 
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Afro Republican

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And in my opinion it wouldn't be no where near as popular if Nintendo got a grip of Europe in time, or if Sega came earlier. If you disagree, that's OK also.
The Spectrum came out in 82, the NES/SMS didn't come out until 86-87 in Europe that's a 5 year difference, the Spectrum still would have been popular regardless who had a grip when we are talking 5 years after the Spectrums launch. As for Sega coming out earlier, it wouldn't be possible since Mark III was finished by 1986, and the only consoles before that were the SG-1000 and Mark 2 which would have been lost in the Atari Coleco console battle and then you had the Atari 8-bit line and the CVIC-20 taking up the other part of the market.

The Spectrum was able to take advantage of the time period because it was made dirt cheap at rock bottom prices while having cheap software. No console was going to beat that. It launched at $150 in 1982 when it LAUNCHED, who knows how cheap it was just a year later at some stores. 5 years? Fo getta bout it.
 

Dr.Morris79

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It was shit then and it's shit now

C64 4eva

Real talk, many friends of mine had Spectrums and I still get nostalgic seeing those hideous bleeding blocks of colour, seizure-inducing scrolling, and hearing the cacophony of farts it called sound effects.
*Salutes

A man after my own heart.
 

muteZX

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Jul 11, 2019
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I think the Spectrum was only popular in the UK, Ireland and Spain.
- Didaktik gama, M, Kompakat.

speccy is an absolutely behemoth in slavic countries /ex czechoslovakia, russia etc./


all these new games are coming from this part of the world.

- and btw this is not a speccy game but a PC one with spectrum esthetics.
 

Stefan.North

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The Spectrum came out in 82, the NES/SMS didn't come out until 86-87 in Europe that's a 5 year difference, the Spectrum still would have been popular regardless who had a grip when we are talking 5 years after the Spectrums launch. As for Sega coming out earlier, it wouldn't be possible since Mark III was finished by 1986, and the only consoles before that were the SG-1000 and Mark 2 which would have been lost in the Atari Coleco console battle and then you had the Atari 8-bit line and the CVIC-20 taking up the other part of the market.

The Spectrum was able to take advantage of the time period because it was made dirt cheap at rock bottom prices while having cheap software. No console was going to beat that. It launched at $150 in 1982 when it LAUNCHED, who knows how cheap it was just a year later at some stores. 5 years? Fo getta bout it.
I'm not talking about what happened but 'what-if'. And it wasn't realistic that alternatives come out earlier, but there was more appealing hardware at the time, just not in UK.
The speccy was all we had for a period of time, certainly wasn’t a fad.
Exactly.
 

TriSuit666

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Jul 2, 2018
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I think the Spectrum was only popular in the UK, Ireland and Spain.
Seems this is the 'Ok, Boomer' thread for shitting on what came before, but machines likes the Spectrum and C64 really pioneered the software industry and without it you wouldn't be sat on that Throne feeling entitled enough to throw your nose at your 8-bit ancestry. Without them you wouldn't have Rare, you certainly wouldn't have Psygnosis or Gremlin or any numbr of companies they became.. 'but waaaaahh, I wanna play Rare Replay on my PS4... waaaaaaaahh'.. Fuck. Off.

Instead of snootily dismissing them, why not take the time to learn from the vibrant and passionate communities STILL creating games right now, some of which you've been signposted to a few posts up, not to mention that prices of the hardware still hold up.

And although you C64 zealots don't admit it, you got a lot of Speccy ports on your machine, just with more colours.
 
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Aug 5, 2009
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The ZX Spectrum is a controversial machine. One side of the argument claims that the ZX spectrum or Speccy was a fad. it took advantage of the market, primarily in Europe, and became a success mostly due to it being a very very cheap entry level product. It developed support fast enough to create an ecosystem during its time of relevance.

However, then they say once you remove it from when it was on store shelves and look it in a vacuum, you have a very outdated computer with zero programs standing out, and for gaming, the worst graphics of any major computer released around the same time by a long-shot, having the worst versions of any title that isn't exclusive. Some say it's an evolution or a more colorful version of PC's early pink and green CGA.

The other argument is that while the Speccy isn't really the best computer and doesn't have many stand out programs other computers had, it makes up for it with it's gaming library. Some say it has one of the best gaming libraries out there.

I'd like to hear from from both sides and why you stand by your opinion on the Spectrums status in 2019.







I've personally only played a spectrum a few times, but it always seemed to have weird graphics that were the result of many compromises to keep the hardware cheap. I don't know much about the original titles, but all the games I've played were released on other platforms, and in some cases consoles, where the games ran and looked much better.

But I'm interested in hearing from fans about how they feel about it, and how it compares to the other big names especially today. It's definitely a divisive brand..
Hardly a fad at all. It was huge in the UK and was the best selling system here up until the Mega Drive, selling over 3 million units
It was a system that got many into gaming, quite a lot into programming and where it was affordable to many. It was a system that gave the world the worlds 1st Football management game, a truly decent football game with Match Day II and platform pixel perfection with Manic Minner.


I wouldn't expect anyone in the USA to give a toss about the system mind
 

TriSuit666

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Jul 2, 2018
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Nope. The BBC Micro was out in 1981 and the Atari 2600 was still around when the Spectrum released.
The BBC was at the time still seen as very much 'the expensive computer they have at school', and anyone who owned a 2600 was jumping ship onto the Speccy, because of the lower entry costs.

I do agree, don't expect Yanks to understand or have a fondness for the machine at all.
 
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scalman

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i started my gaming from it , from 48k model , then to 128k with sound chip , controller made from some Zhiliton snes clone joystick. all was made for comfy gaming on it. we had some motherboards here from russia and cases where custom made from something , first with cassetes , then to 5.25 floppy. it was one game per floppy and was buying them after school , some dude was recording them for me, means pirating anyway. and later i change that to ibm pc 386 dx 33mhz, and it was not impressed me so i got back to my 128k spectrum. it was much more games and just that feeling was different.

this sound its like time machine everytime it gets me back

and some games where so good for two players like conan barbarian

but to play those games today even on emulators with good controllers its not same , and i love emulate me some old nes games , but somehow zx spectrum games just not emulating so good .

sure original games where nice on cassettes but i never saw those here, all i had or friends had was games recorded to normal music cassettes with tons and tons games on one cassette, so to find them you would need to mark them all by counter numbers like this just it was many and many games there and list was long
 
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