ZX Spectrum

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The Sinclair ZX Spectrum is a computer made by Sinclair Research in 1982. It was the most popular home computer in the UK in the 1980s and was for many people their first gaming experience. The US also got a variation called Timex-Sinclair 2048; however, it was a flop and made little impact on the US market.

There are several models of the computer:

The original model 48k with a cutdown 16k version that were made however a majority of the latter were upgraded to 48k anyway.
ZX Spectrum 128k has 128kb of memory and a AY soundchip, originally made for the Spanish market after frustration from Sinclair not doing anything with the machine and the computer tax. Many games either require this or use the extra memory to provide music or extra features in the game, they might also load faster.
Timex-Sinclair 2048 is an upgraded version of the computer for the US, Portuguese and the Polish market, it also as a AY sound chip and a extra screen mode that no game used. Due to these changes, it was made incompatible to most Spectrum software however emulator cartridges were made for the latter two markets so enjoy games can be played.
Spectrum +2 and +2A include a built in tape player known as the Datacorder. These were made by Amstrad and were responsible for extending its lifespan. Spectrum +3 used disks like the Amstrad CPC however not many games were made using this format and because of a change of operating system, it made some games incompatible with the computer.

There are also countless Russian made clones of the home computer such as the Pentagon with several upgrades from more memory to different screen modes and sound, Prince of Persia and Mortal Kombat were made using these. The SAM Coupe also has some functionality of the ZX Spectrum however it is considered its own system.


A bit of a paradox regarding the site but the ZX Spectrum does not use sprites at all as the entire machine is text focused done in blocks. This means that the graphics that are in games are in monochrome (black and white) with the computer generating the palette out of a possible 8 colours, technically 16 due to a brighter palette and a darker palette. There is also a noticeable fault with the home computer with the colour clash or attribute clash where colours bleed over the characters when over a different position, the MSX also has this problem to a smaller degree. This made games hard to design if detailed graphics were done, either they had to either design around the blocks like Popeye and The Trap Door, just made it monochrome/two colours or ignored it looking like a mess if it happened. The colours are done via 8x8 blocks and is a feature for the computer since ports to the Amstrad CPC drop the palette and have the graphics monochrome e.g. Super Hang-On.

Earlier Spectrum rips on the site are captured using screenshots or tools using Animget however more recent rips are either done in tile viewers or via ZXSEC.

Suggested Emulators


ZXSEC is the sister emulator to CPCEC and is bundled with that emulator. This is due to the Spectrum and the Amstrad CPC sharing components. ip.org/cpcec.htm (remove the space due to the site is considered a blacklisted site on the wiki)

It is currently the only Spectrum emulator that has a graphics viewer and a pause feature. To activate the graphics viewer, enable debug and press W.


Fuse, also known as the Free Unix Spectrum emulator. Despite the name; it is also available on Windows, MacOS, Android and other systems including certain consoles.


Spectrum Analyser

Spectrum Analyser can load snapshots (savestates) from an emulator, it can be used to view graphics and raw loading screens. Recent versions can load 128k games and is highlighted in green in the graphics viewer if it matches the graphics that are on screen. The tool is rather buggy ranging from stop working when opened briefly showing garbage to unable to run 48k or 128k games so it is best to keep multiple versions of the tool on a computer in their own folders, one for 48k and one for 128k deleting the folder if loading shows garbage and exits.