There will always be a place in my heart for the ZX Spectrum. It was the pinnacle of my childhood until I swept it aside for my brand spanking new Commodore 64.
I always went back to it though. I always found myself digging it out, hooking it up and smashing it on the likes of Skool Daze and Chuckie Egg and everybody knows Dizzy right? The simple graphics and recognizable music and sound effects still ring in my ears today. It was a meaningful piece of hardware.
Now though, it’s just a relic gathering dust in attics but thanks to developer Steve Wilcox and his team at ELITE, it has been given a brand new lease of life with the Recreated ZX Spectrum, a near perfect revamp of the ever popular home computer from the 1980’s. At first I had to download the beta version of the app on my iPad Mini and tapping on it triggered my nostalgia taste buds. Its title screen came hand in hand with the legendary loading screech then I was set free on the games but only a few as I hadn’t received the unit yet. I didn’t have to wait long and unboxing it was like a second Christmas just for me.
It was just how I remembered it, a small simply designed QWERTY keyboard with grey rubber keys and the embossed Sinclair ZX Spectrum motif at the top with the rainbow stripe logo on the bottom right corner. It is ripped straight out of 1982, I didn’t know whether to play with it or place it in my display cabinet. Up top, you have what you would expect, a mini USB port for power, a switch for QWERTY mode or game mode, a Pair button and the on/off button with the battery compartment on the back for your AA’s. The Recreated ZX Spectrum links to your devices through Bluetooth and pairing it was a doddle. I was playing Frank Bruno’s Boxing in no time...I’m not very good.
Each game came with an intro screen where I could choose whether I wanted to use classic controls using the standard button setup which is way more confusing today than it was in the 80’s or a simpler setup which uses only a handful of keys. For the sake of nostalgia, I went with the former. I found that the key press sensitivity was not consistent. Sometimes id press a button to throw a nice left punch but sometimes it wouldn’t respond whereas other times it would. It didn’t happen often but often enough to cause defeat and with it, frustration. Saying that though, it beat having transparent yet distracting keys displayed on the screen and it felt way better pressing real buttons too.
There is a wealth of games to play with such as Chuckie Egg, Roller coaster, Manic Miner, Saboteur and so much more to start you off with more available upon further updates for the App. Some though you do have to purchase. I was disappointed to see that the infamous Dizzy games and my personal favourite Skool Daze and Back To Skool weren’t present but hopefully these will be added in due course.
Perfect recreation of the popular 1980’s medium.
Wealth of games with more to come.
Can be used as a QWERTY Keyboard or as a standard ZX Spectrum controller.
Beautifully manufactured, expensive feeling.
Bluetooth connection means it can connect to any device.
Inconsistent key responsiveness.
A lot of games need to be paid for to unlock.
The Recreated ZX Spectrum is a wonderful machine which transports me right back to my childhood. Although far from perfect, Mr Wilcox’ passion for the medium is felt throughout the entire device with its high end quality. I bet he and his team are extremely proud of his recreation of such a popular computer as they have done it justice tenfold, a must buy for any nostalgia fan.