Just when it looked like it couldn’t get any better for gamers hankering after a refreshed take on their childhood, Sir Clive Sinclair has stepped in to ramp up excitement further.
The home computing pioneer has revealed that the planned handheld version of his beloved ZX Spectrum should be on the virtual shelves by Christmas.
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ is a mobile device with a built-in screen that allows fans of the original 1980s ZX Spectrum to play 1,000 classic games on the move. It can also be connected to a television to give nostalgic gamers their retro fix while at home.
Sir Clive has announced that the device, which was crowdfunded through an IndieGoGo campaign will ship to initial investors on 20 October and is expected to go on general sale at online retailers before Christmas.
No price has been confirmed but the Vega+ is expected to sell for around £100.
Explaining his thinking behind the Vega+ Sir Clive said: “The present surge of interest in retro products inspired me to plan the Vega+ as a handy games console which can be played anywhere.”
The fundraising campaign secured £366,655, more than three times its original target, in just 40 days, with nearly 4,000 backers pledging money.
Those who got on board early were able to opt for a limited edition model in red, white or blue, but anyone ordering one now will get the standard black device.
The Vega+ comes preloaded with 1,000 licensed games but its makers say it will be able to run any of the 14,000 games developed for the original Spectrum, many of which are available as ROMs online.
Gaming columnist Damien Lucas commented: “So old Speccy - as the founding father of home video gaming was known to fans and detractors alike back in the 80s - is back as a handheld.
“The news will be exciting for 80s kids and that is testament to the everlasting appeal of Sir Clive Sinclair’s groundbreaking bit of kit which really and truly marked the beginning of a golden age of computing.
“The Spectrum ended up with something like 15,000 games. To put that into perspective, if you played one title each day, it would keep you occupied for more than 40 years.
“Who can forget Deathchase, Chuckie Egg, Manic Miner and my personal favourite Rainbow Islands? They laid the foundation for what we have today. I certainly know what I’ll be putting on my Christmas list.”