ZX Spectrum

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The Sinclair ZX Spectrum is a computer made by Sinclair Research in 1982. Due to its cheap price point, it became the most popular home computer in the UK in the 1980s and was for many people their first way of playing games like the Atari 2600 or the NES even if it made Clive Sinclair annoyed that it was used for games. It also has a cult like status with the system, games and Clive Sinclair, sometimes in a disturbing way. As well as the UK, it was also popular in Spain and Russia had various clones of the machine. The US also got a variation called Timex-Sinclair 2048 however it was a flop and made no dent in the US market when compared to the competition.

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ZX Spectrum 128k has 128kb of memory and a AY soundchip, originally made for the Spanish market after frustration from Sinclair not doing anything with the machine and the computer tax.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.

Usage

A bit of a paradox regarding the site but the ZX Spectrum does not use sprites at all. The entire machine is text focused done in blocks. 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.

Since there is no tile viewer, all Spectrum rips on the site are captured using screenshots or tools using Animget.

Suggested Emulators

Fuse

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