4 December 2015

REVIEW: ZX Spectrum Vega

Go retro!

Video games: they just don't make 'em, like they used to, eh? That is what you might be thinking if you were born before 1980 and owned a Sinclair ZX Spectrum console back in the days when Britain actually made games consoles. Ah those were the days – thick and chunky pixels slowly bouncing around a screen (with colours, no less!). None of your fancy-pants photo-realism and Hollywood movie-like budgets back then. If you yearn for the old joy of early 1980s gaming, you're in luck... all you have to do is buy a ZX Spectrum Vega.

Funded by a recent (and very successful) Indiegogo campaign, the ZX Spectrum Vega condenses the whole workings of the original console into a hand-held gaming controller that you plug directly into your TV. Oh yeah, and the damn thing comes preloaded with 1000 (one whole thousand, baby) classic games! Woo hoo!

In terms of hardware, the Vega feels like a miniature Spectrum, copying the look and feel of the keyboard-based computer. However, gone are the qwerty keys to be replaced with merely a gaming D-pad and action and select buttons. On the back there is the modern inclusion of a SD card port (stick one in to save game progress or to add more games), and as well as plugging the Vega into your telly using the traditional red, white, and yellow AV connectors, you also have to give it some power via USB. This can either be done via a USB port on your TV, or just a USB power adaptor, the likes of which you use to charge your phone.

Once on you get to cycle through the huge collection of games. Seriously... there's one thousand of them, fortunately arranged alphabetically, but still quite daunting to behold. We'll be honest that many of the titles were a complete mystery to us, and so to find out what a game is like you really have to start playing them. This can be achieved quite easily as everything loads as fast as lightning, and you can quit a game and return to the main menu in just a second or two (certainly faster than you could on the 1980s ZX Spectrum).

If you have a special place in your heart from old games, this is the ideal gift to buy yourself. We get the feeling that younger people might not see what the point of the ZX Spectrum Vega is, considering that you could buy an actual modern console for not that much more than the asking price of this. But – and this is a big but (tee hee) – gathering together all these great games on their original format would be both horrendously expensive AND probably impossible. The ZX Spectrum Vega is therefore like a Noah's Ark of classic gaming, yours to possess forever.


© The Test Pit

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