The retro gaming community is all in a flutter about the Spectrum Next : http://www.specnext.com/
This is a ‘brand new’ spectrum coming out, well lets face it with delays will be lucky for Christmas 2017 – you know when I will be playing 4K Xbox and 4K PS4 games, as the Kickstarter keeps getting delayed. So what will this new machine offer?
First lets talk about the machine as we know it.
It has a lovely industrial design with built in keyboard and full HDMI support, DB9 interface, USB etc. all the bits you expect on a modern machine.
From the talks I have watched and materials I have read it is a FPGA solution connected basically to a Raspberry Pi giving the IO capabilities.
With all of this it’s lets you play Spectrum games OR enhanced Spectrum games.
Now my issues with this :
1) Why ?. I just don’t see the point. Regardless of what they say it’s an emulated solution. In this solution you have a FPGA being programmed to emulate a Z80 processor and all the other bits of a Spectrum. It’s still a programmed solution, it still can be inaccurate, it is still not a real Z80.
It is no difference to a Raspberry Pi perfectly emulating all aspects of Spectrum. I don’t know why this is so hard for people to grasp, we are talking about hardware emulation vs software emulation – remove the first word and all we have is emulation. For £50 I can get a Raspberry Pi connected to a TV with wireless keyboard and controller and play Spectrum games till the cows come home.
2) So I buy one, I can play spectrum games on it…. just like I can do on every system since a Symbian phone in the early 90’s or even wilder on my Spectrum. It does have a few enhanced modes and a few games will be made to take advantage of that, but as the numbers will be so small for this unit it will make zero commercial sense to make anything for it so it will all be hobby stuff. So I have what will ultimately be a £150-£200 quid investment to play what I am already playing and have been playing for years.
3) Numbers. Basically 90% of people that will EVER buy one of these will back the kickstarter so we have a few hundred will be made. It will be a very niche product, with a very small (but VERY vocal following) , in 3 years time we will all be saying one of two phrases.
a) Remember the Spectrum Next, shame that never took off
b) Remember the Spectrum Next, I backed that it never turned up!