The ZX Spectrum Vega
Surely, hardcore Speccy fans should have been praising the lord (other religions are available) that something new and exciting was heading our way, brandishing the Sinclair logo but more importantly, the Spectrum name? I, for one, was excited at the prospect of seeing something new, something Spectrum that was accessible to the masses. Something new and fresh. Something that would show younger gamers what they missed out on in the 80's and early 90's.
Despite pointing out the negativity in previous paragraphs, this is not something I want to dwell on. Let's get positive, shall we? It's Sinclair, it's Spectrum and let's celebrate this fact by enjoying that this could well be an important piece of the Spectrums' history (and future, hopefully). I have owned the Vega for a couple of months now so it's had a good workout, and I have had time to fully test different aspects of the machine and to see what it's capable of, including positives and negatives.
This is my own personal hands-on review of the Vega so I hope you find it of use, or just entertaining would do for me in all honesty. Ha! On with the review!
|Hmmm...that box looks kinda familiar....|
|....ah, I see!|
|Flowers and Sky+ Box not included.|
There is a lot of cable sticking out of the Vega which at first glance does look a little excessive against the delicate look if the unit, and does seem to swamp it ever so slightly. The positive side of it though means that you have a lot of freedom to slouch back into your sofa as far as you want whilst you play. Win!
|What happens in Vega - stays in Vega. Unless it's on an SD card.|
That said, the guys at Retro Computers did manage to attain the rights to the Ultimate Play The Game catalogue for inclusion on the Vega library so you will have the likes of Jetpac, Underwurlde, Sabre Wulf and Atic Atac at your fingertips - bonus! Other genuine classics include Skool Daze, Fred, The Magic Knight series of games, Horace Goes Skiing.... I could go on. But I won't. That would take far too long!
|Choose your game! #purplefilter|
Now, I'm not one easily upset but imagine my face and heart dropping when I loaded up RoboCop (legally downloaded, of course!) from my SD card only to find it was the 48K version! No way! No music? No speech? I might as well throw it in the bin straught away! Of course, I didn't do this (the wife would kill me). But instead, I took to asking about this in the ZX Vega Facebook page and glory be! You can indeed have the 128K version of RoboCop! If for any reason your TAP version of a game doesn't load in 128K mode, a quick download of the Z80 version should solve the problem. So, there's a little tip for any worriers out there who may indeed already have a Vega and are at their wits' end as to why oh why won't this work!! Or words to that effect.
|Give me guns, give me fire, give me the 128K that I desire!|
You will, of course, notice the lack of keyboard on the Vega (if you haven't - where have you been looking?!) but there is an on-screen keyboard for you to use in it's absence. Simply press the 'M' button on the Vega and you are presented with a menu, which neatly pushes up the game screen to accomodate it. You then have the option to select the keyboard option, but before I go there, there are a few more options also. From this menu, you can pause, save or exit the game. You can also restore a saved game from here. The save game option is indeed a godsend! Not having to find a blank tape to save your progress on is indeed a relief, if indeed the original game had this option. Though, the only quibble here is that there is only one save space. Still, I guess you don't need more than one but for hardcore gamers it would be nice to have.
|Menu options - #nofilter #iliethereisafilter|
|The keyboard - #anotherfilter #illstopwiththefiltersnow #andthehashtags|
Is the Vega worth buying? The simple answer is 'Yes'. As with all things, there are negatives but also a lot of positives. Yes, maybe a power button would have been nice, having the option to save favourites in the game list would be favourable, though the will be firmware updates so this may be addressed in the future. Hardcore Speccy fans may have been shouting to have room for expansion but, it's plain to see that this is not what it's about. If you look at this at what it's meant to be, a handheld Speccy to play games on, you can't got far wrong. I agree that you can't beat the original Speccy, the same goes for any original computer but as a pick-up-and-play, it fits perfectly.
Any comments? Follow me on Twitter! @florinthedwarf
If you are interested in joining the ZX Vega Facebook group where you can share your thoughts, ask questions or just see what it's all about, you can find it here;
Or indeed, you can try your luck on eBay :)