ZX Spectrum Kickstarter project stalls over unpaid developer bills

Elite Systems takes down Spectrum Collection app over allegations of impropriety

A Kickstarter project to recreate the ZX Spectrum is in disarray after it was revealed that many of the original developers of the included Spectrum games had never been paid for the inclusion their work.

Elite Systems raised £63,194 to make a Bluetooth version of the classic British ZX Spectrum computer on Kickstarter, offering rewards including the Bluetooth Spectrum itself, printed artwork from spectrum games like Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner and the ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection app for iOS and Android. As well as being used to play Spectrum games, Elite Systems plans to ensure that the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum will “optionally” work as a standard bluetooth keyboard for Windows and Mac computers.

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Blast ‘Em – your next unstoppable gaming compulsion

Missing the ultra-compulsive action of Flappy Bird? Indie developer Xiotex has a shooter that blasts the brain’s addiction centres in the same way

If you are anything like me, you can split your life into two distinct times: the time before Super Hexagon existed, and the time afterwards. Since the Hexagon Dateline, you will have spent significant lengths of time staring at moving hexagons of crisp light on your phone or your computer screen, listening to pulsing chiptune, learning absolutely useless skills like how to cope when the hexagon suddenly becomes a pentagon or the right way to get through those really annoying hook-shaped patterns on Hexagoner. And if you’ve even touched Flappy Bird once then you, like me, will be aware of how some games can feed on the part of your brain that just wants you to be a little bit better, and how once you’ve begun to play, stopping can be incredibly hard.

I was an hour and a half into my first session of Blast ‘Em before I managed to pull myself away, and I’d spent an hour of that promising that I’d only have one more go.

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The six best retro consoles for modern gamers

Fancy dipping a toe into the gaming world of yesteryear? Here are the six classic consoles we think you should start with

People often make the mistake of thinking that video games are a relentlessly forward-looking medium. It’s all about the next big release, the next console generation, the next PC graphics card technology. Except it isn’t really. Games are, like most other artforms these days, obsessively self-referential. They are constantly mining the past for successful ideas, merging old genres to create strange new ones, or simply borrowing the aesthetics of past generations. If modern games have one fault (they probably have more, but let’s not go there), it’s that they can seem intimidating to newcomers because they rely so much on age-old conventions and traditions.

Also, old consoles are nice. They look weird and thrilling, with their chunky plastic bodies and their gigantic cartridge ports. They are relics of fun, nostalgic artifacts that remind us of childhoods spent waiting patiently for games to load from cassettes, or blowing the dust out of old carts. Obviously, there are hundreds of online emulators that let you experience classic titles from the comfort of your PC, but that’s sort of missing the point – much like listening to the MP3 of an old 78 record. Part of the pleasure is in the ritual of the vintage hardware: plugging in a cartridge, sliding in a diskette, or hitting the button that sends a CD lid flipping up like an old ghetto blaster. It’s faintly fetishistic, of course, but you know, fetish is about pleasure, and old games machines certainly provide that.

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Video games, Down’s syndrome and my brother – a personal story

Playing with my brother is one of many ways he reveals himself not as a ‘disabled’ person – but simply as his own person

In 2005, when my brother Euan was still a schoolboy, we used to play a lot of Tekken 5 together. If you’re new to this famed video game series, it’s a one-on-one martial arts simulation – a ferocious yet endearingly flamboyant experience in which kangaroos trade blows with Bruce Lee clones, and winged demons grapple with Mexican wrestlers. And I’m fairly sure Euan is the most savage, unprincipled Tekken 5 player ever to lay his traitorous fingers upon a PlayStation 2 controller. Some combatants prefer to open a bout with a stunning punch to the lower body, but Euan was rarely that noble. “Wait a minute, I want to show you something,” he’d declare, scuttling out of reach. I’d dutifully wander over to his side of the arena, all patronising solicitude, and he’d kick me in the face.

Euan is a dirty fighter. But he’s also one of the most fearlessly imaginative people you’ll meet. And in its own small way, our shared gaming hobby is proof of this.

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