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Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up

FPGA-based project has scored £290k so far

By Gareth Corfield, 25 Apr 2017

Yet another crowdfunded ZX Spectrum reboot project has emerged – and this one has raised more than £290,000 from backers.

Henrique Olifiers’ Kickstarter project aims to recreate the 8-bit console with a modern-day twist, based on an FPGA and incorporating an SD card slot.

It will also feature a whole 512kB of memory, with options to expand it to 2.5MB externally, and will support HDMI – so you can enjoy your 8-bit gaming in modern HD, should you so wish. Tape support will also be incorporated.

The FPGA core was written by Olifiers and his team, and he promises to make it available as open source “so the community can expand it into the future.”

So far 1,346 people have backed the project, pledging a total of £293,719 – easily breaking the £250,000 target set by Olifiers. Delivery is estimated in July 2018.

For a pledge of £215 backers can receive a complete ZX Spectrum Next Plus. More parsimonious people can shell out £99 to receive the board alone. Well-heeled backers can stump up £5,000 or more to be immortalised in the settings screen, or a measly £865 for five of the consoles; in effect, a BFGOF deal.

Given the splits caused in the Spectrum community by the Retro Computers Ltd debacle, it is surprising to see so many people funding yet another ZX-themed crowdfunding product appeal. So far each backer has handed over an average of £218.

RCL was the company behind the ZX Spectrum-branded Vega and Vega+ consoles. The Vega+ has failed to appear, despite repeated promises from RCL over the last year, and game authors who contributed to the original Vega have yet to be paid. The company’s accounts are overdue at Companies House and it is facing questions about money it pledged to Great Ormond Street Hospital that has not been paid.

There is no connection between Olifiers and RCL or any of the other retro computing projects out there at the moment; as his FAQ section notes, “we're an independent team with no relations to any other project.” ®

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