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Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega


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#1 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:20 AM

http://www.funstock....console#reviews

Now here's a kick ass product... over 1000 games built in and you can add more via an SD card slot!



#2 InnovaX5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:46 PM

I have to have one for my collection. I really hope this thing isn't a joke like the NeoGeo X Gold was.



#3 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 2, 2015 4:49 AM

It's probably a nice enough novelty item, as for the games, don't expect much, they are of below quality.

#4 Mr SQL ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 2, 2015 10:51 AM

"the VEGA is not pretending to be a ZX Spectrum, it IS a ZX Spectrum" ... without a keyboard; the Speccy games used the keyboard, this would have been really cool with a ZX style keyboard.



#5 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 2, 2015 11:29 AM

and no joystick option?



#6 BurritoBeans OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 2, 2015 6:55 PM

That thing looks pretty neat, but I think the price is a tad bit high for what it has. I think if they were to throw in a keyboard and joystick port it would be worth it, without that stuff it's cool but I don't know how well it would work with some stuff.

 

It's a cool idea, and it seems like it would be a fun little toy that I would grab.


Edited by BurritoBeans, Fri Oct 2, 2015 6:57 PM.


#7 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 3, 2015 2:25 AM

A C64 with UK games would've been more worth it. Especially with Thalamus, System 3, Martech, Hewson, you know, the good stuff. 1000 UK games in a C64 I'd definitely would buy. And of course you got the joystick option.


Edited by high voltage, Sat Oct 3, 2015 2:25 AM.


#8 Raticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 10:45 AM

I got the Vega a couple of weeks ago despite never having played any Spectrum in my life let alone owned one, but i think it's a fun thing and many of the games are great. The SD-slot makes sure that you will never run out of games ever, something certain other manufacturers of these kinds of devices should take advice from. Build quality is good and the buttons feel alright, but the device feels extremely light, and on the subject of buttons i think they should have opted for more than 4 big buttons and 4 smaller ones as many games have you switching between "primary and secondary" layouts which is frustrating in a fast arcade-game.

I miss the option of any type of keyboard interface as the built-in virtual keyboard á la the kind used on Playstation and Xbox is awkward and slow to use in anything above simple "Push A for this or B for that"-type of situations, certainly using it in the myriad of supplied text-adventures is a chore to say the least and in some ways exclude these types of games if you are not exceptionally good at the virtual keyboard or extremely patient.

As far as a C64 with thousands of games i would recommend getting an SD2IEC memory card-reader for the C64 as i have done. Connects to the serial port for data transfer and the cassette port for power and BOOM! Thousands of games and applications in a neat file-directory style interface, so you get all the games you'd want without letting go of the C64 itself. Much like a Harmony cart for the 2600.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that the Vega includes an assortment of nice homebrews too, and it apparently has a quite thriving homebrew scene to this day.


Edited by Raticon, Wed Dec 2, 2015 10:47 AM.


#9 Raticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 10:46 AM

 Double post please delete.


Edited by Raticon, Wed Dec 2, 2015 10:46 AM.


#10 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 3:33 PM

Raticon, I've been very curious about the ZX Vega's internal hardware for a while. Do you think you could easily open up your Vega and take a nice clear photo of the circuit board for me? Specifically, I'm hoping there's text printed on the chips that could identify what processor it uses (should be a flavor of ARM9), how much RAM and flash ROM it has, etc.

Many thanks in advance if you can do this! But, I would absolutely understand if you would rather not.

onmode-ky

#11 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 7:25 PM

Hopefully, future versions of the ZX spectrum Vega will have at least 2 joystick ports, keyboard and maybe even an expansion slot. :grin:  :grin:  :thumbsup:  ;)  



#12 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 8:07 PM

It's probably a nice enough novelty item, as for the games, don't expect much, they are of below quality.

 

^Typical Commodore elitist. :thumbsdown:  :thumbsdown:  :thumbsdown:  :skull:



#13 Raticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 9:51 PM

Sure, i'd be glad to help. There is only one screw holding it together + some clips so it took about 10 seconds to take it apart.
I took one picture of the whole board and one of the 3 main chips that was on there. Tell me if you need anything else.
The reverse side only had the connectors for the buttons on it.

The only thing i want in return is for you to tell me what these things are so i know what i was taking pictures of, deal? ;)

EDIT: DOH! I see now that the glare from the spotlight makes some of the text on the board unreadable. Tell me if you need a clearer picture of these.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Board.jpg
  • Chips.jpg

Edited by Raticon, Wed Dec 2, 2015 9:53 PM.


#14 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 11:54 PM

Thanks a ton for the pictures! Everything I wanted to know, all in one post. No need for any retakes! I'm going to have to update my plug-n-play info site later with the new data, but for now, here's what's what on the board:

- square chip: Freescale i.MX233 processor, which has an ARM926EJ-S core, and which Wikipedia says was introduced in 2009

- Alliance chip: 16 MB DDR SDRAM

- Spansion chip: 64 MB NOR flash memory (stores the games; earlier info I found indicates only half this size is actually used, though)

At last, months of futile Web scouring resolved by a single forum post. Thank you!

onmode-ky

P.S. One screw?! I think the asking price should have covered a few more screws!

#15 Raticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 3, 2015 12:37 AM

I'm happy to be of assistance.

Wow, honestly sounds like a massively overpowered system to run games that natively run on 3Mhz processor and a few Kb of RAM. Go figure. That thing is way more powerful than my first computer ever was, at least on paper.

Interesting fact you probably want to know is that the board has a USB footprint on it added at the very latest stage in development making it theoretically possible to add support for a keyboard or joystick in the future once the devs figured out how to make it into the firmware.
Plan B for them is to use the memory card for keyboard connectivity via SDIO and separate extra power supply but i cant fathom how it will work in practice.
As you probably know firmware updates as well as extra games goes there now.

And yes, it's one screw, with a torx-head no less.
The last time someone screwed on that was during assembly in England which maybe helps explain the high asking price for that one screw ;).

Edited by Raticon, Thu Dec 3, 2015 12:40 AM.


#16 amiman99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:33 PM

Looks like about same price as MCC-216 which can play Spectrum games and more.

The MCC-TV plays Spectrum games also and is only $80, but you need to get your own games, so it looks like they have some competition.



#17 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:23 PM

Interesting fact you probably want to know is that the board has a USB footprint on it added at the very latest stage in development making it theoretically possible to add support for a keyboard or joystick in the future once the devs figured out how to make it into the firmware.
Plan B for them is to use the memory card for keyboard connectivity via SDIO and separate extra power supply but i cant fathom how it will work in practice.
As you probably know firmware updates as well as extra games goes there now.

 

This device has gotten a lot of coverage in the UK. The mainstream press is like "Remember Sir Clive Sinclair? Remember these rubber buttons? They're back! 1000 games!" 

 

The gamer set, at least from what I've seen, seems to feel a little backlashy, kind of like how some of us felt about the Atari Flashback. It's not slick enough to attract anyone new, but it's not faithful enough to appease the old fans. It's really expensive (100 quid = US$150) for its cheap plastic and composite video output, and is missing a bunch of controls so not all of the included 1000 games are going to be playable. I'm pretty sure that not every developer is crazy about their stuff being thrown on here as an unlicensed ROM file, even 30 years after commercial viability. 

 

There's another ZX Spectrum nostalgia kit, in the form of a Bluetooth keyboard that resembles the original, but requires a mobile device running a licensed app to work. It's the same price as the Vega, but only provides access to a subset of the games. It also costs 100 pounds. I have spent some time with the iOS app and have a feeling the included games are plenty, especially since it seems to be a curated collection rather than a ROM dump. You could also play other games on your Mac/PC and control them with this keyboard. They have some kind of lockout that lets you play more games on the website, but only with this controller. 

 

So, they're both kinda flawed and expensive for what they are. One is a cut-down not-joystick with limited expandability, and the other is just a rubber keyboard with no brain of its own. Neither of these cash-ins seem like a must-buy to me, but I'm American and don't have fond memories of the platform. Running Spectaculator with an external joystick feels like plenty of Spectrum to me. 


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#18 amiman99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:41 PM

I just realized It actually might be cheaper to run an emulator on $5  Raspberry Pi Zero as a dedicated system.



#19 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:22 PM

Oh, definitely. You could even stick it in a retro Spectrum-shaped case, if you wanted. A regular $40 Pi would work as well. It's been done. 

 

For $150, you could get a GPD XD with its own screen, better controls, and sufficient space to run much more than Spectrum games. 



#20 amiman99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:16 PM

For $150, you could get a GPD XD with its own screen, better controls, and sufficient space to run much more than Spectrum games. 

Wow! This looks nice! Little to pricy. Looks like one screen DS.

Sometimes these Chinese gizmo makers out do them selves.



#21 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:21 PM

It's pretty neat. 

I haven't seen these, but the JXDs7800b (nice name, eh?) looks pretty sweet as well. Worse build quality but bigger screen. 



#22 amiman99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:08 PM

I have seen those some time ago. There are too many Android devices now days, sometimes it's hard to pick and when you do new ones come out.



#23 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:11 PM

Yes. Isn't it great? :-D

#24 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:33 PM

missing a bunch of controls so not all of the included 1000 games are going to be playable.


It does have a virtual, on-screen keyboard, so depending on one's definition of "playable," everything should be playable.
 

I'm pretty sure that not every developer is crazy about their stuff being thrown on here as an unlicensed ROM file, even 30 years after commercial viability.


Actually, all 1000 games in the Vega are licensed. The developers represented got paid to have their games included. Some of the developers even participated in publicity events for the system. Maybe the speed with which the licensing all got done is thanks to the fact that all the developers lived in the same small country? A number of "notable absence" titles, about which certain customers complained bitterly, are absent specifically because the Vega people did not or could not get them licensed.

onmode-ky

#25 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:10 PM

I think we're both confused!  :-D
 
1. I'm right, you're wrong: there's no virtual, on-screen keyboard on the Vega, it's a plug-n-play slab of a controller. Just buttons. You're probably thinking of the Recreated ZX Spectrum, the bluetooth keyboard that needs you to bring your own computer (PC/Mac or Android/iOS). 
 
2. You're right, I'm wrong: the 1000 Vega games are licensed. I'm thinking of the previous kerfuffle with the Elite Systems people over their iOS release of games they didn't own. 
 
I still think neither one of these systems has much going on, based on the reviews I've seen. Despite my retro curiosity, I don't think I'll go out of my way for these. Spectaculator and its virtual, on-screen controls are getting it done for me. 

Edit: nope, I'm wrong. Oh well! :-)




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