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Bootay

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I am interested in getting a few of those computers which were never released here in the states, such as the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad...also wouldn't mind an MSX. I was just wondering (since I have absolutely no experience with these machines) which models are best for game compatibility? Whenever I see people selling them I have no idea if I want them or not. Maybe someone can give me pros and cons on the models too? Remember though..I strictly want them for games so game compatibility is what I am after.

Thanks!
 

Merlin

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Well, the ZX Spectrum can work off a normal 9 volt mains transformer and can also have the composite video hack done on the RF modulator, so you should be OK with the 48k early Spectrum. You should check Youtube for videos of people loading games in seconds onto Spectrums as MP3 files via iPods - very cool... there is even a CF to IDE adaptor available for it.

Sinclairs kind of morphed towards Amstrads with the Spectrum +2 model. The Amstrad 464 looks very similar in design apart from the coloured keys. These models can output RGB I believe, so you could also be OK with one of those. Monitor cables can be had from certain auction sites *cough* and the weak part of these machines seems to be the tape player unit. belts age and fall apart although replacements can be had. The main issue is chewing up of tapes (at least that's the experiences I have been told about).

Another candidate is the Acorn Electron. It needs a 19v AC supply which shouldn't be too hard to find or even knock together if needs be. Again, this can output composite video and RGB so it's all good.

As for games, TOSEC and sites like Pleasureworld and Underground Gamer are your friends for tons of retro goodness. If you can get them running under RGB or composite video, compatibility should be quite good.
 
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Megatron-UK

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Then there's the Beeb.

If you're going to get a Speccy and CPC, then you also need a Beeb.

I reccomend a Master 128, with GoMMC flash device.
 

r0jaws

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The ZX Spectrum +2 that I have plays every game I have thrown at it, but you can't go wrong with a ZX Spectrum 48k, (or the +) it will play everything bar 128k games, of which there weren't that many. The Corfiot is your man if you want to know anything speccy.

The CPC 464 is perfectly capable of playing all the games available for the system, again apart from the limited 128k only ones. Woody.cool is the resident expert on this system though.
 

fitzsteve

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If you decide to get a Speccy, which you totally should becuase they're awesome :D

Have a look for a DivIDE, great but of kit for connecting external IDE devices to your Speccy, like CF-IDE and then you can load .SNA (Snapshots) in an instant and even use .TAP (Tape files) supporting multi load like the extra levels.

A +2 or +2a you will find very easily as they were very mass produced and also 48k machines. (48k rubber keys are light as a feather without PSU so will be cheap to post overseas)

The +3's and 128k units are a little more rare.

I'd start off with a 48k and see how you get on with that ;)

Good luck in your new adventure.

Steve.
 

salaxi54

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Since our friend Bootay is from the US of A, he should also consider the color system differences! If you don't have a multi-system TV the PAL signal will come in as b&w if it's vertically stable at all. Perhaps you should do a little research as i believe that there's a Timex/Sinclair Spectrum-compatible that sold in the US..
 

AndyLandy

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Actually, what are the solutions to that problem?
Can you get a Speccy scandoubler? Does such a thing even exist?
Is it possible to plug the RGB output into a monitor? e.g. can you attach it to a 1084 or similar?

In fact, this may warrant a thread of its own, but some advice/discussions on how different retro machines can be hooked up to modern TVs/monitors and bridging the PAL/NTSC divide might be a useful resource.
 

Merlin

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Since our friend Bootay is from the US of A, he should also consider the color system differences! If you don't have a multi-system TV the PAL signal will come in as b&w if it's vertically stable at all. Perhaps you should do a little research as i believe that there's a Timex/Sinclair Spectrum-compatible that sold in the US..

Erm, why do you think I was talking aout composite and RGB output instead of RF TV output? Connecting these via composite or RGB means these will work on US monitors.

Re-read my reply above and you will see that I was advising him about how to get these machines working in the USA.

Thanks
 

rkauer

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Composite is also region-dependent: only RGB is "agnostic".
 

Merlin

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I would have thought that a 60Hz US monitor would be capable of synchronising down to the 50Hz that UK composite would put out - is this not the case....??
 

abraXXious

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Well, depending how far you wish to go with your collection, the solution is quite simple.

ALL tvs manufactured in the last 15 years automatically detect and correctly display an NTSC and PAL picture, so displaying the outpupt from any retro console computer is not an issue. As for power, simply purchase a regulated transformer, mine cost $90.00 AUD (about $80.00 USD) and is a very good quality unit. Since I am in Australia which uses a 240 volt system, I had to get a transformer that gave me the option of 110volts for us/japanese consoles/computers, you of course would have to go the other way and get a transformer that goes from 110v to 240v to use british consoles etc. These transformers usually come with a couple of adapters letting you physically plug in the different plug configurations on the computer/console PSU.

Then you are set! You can purchase any console you like and use it. I myself have collected nearly every console ever produced (just missing a Magnavox Odyssey). Everything from 3D0s, Fm Towns Martys, Pc Engines (all types including Turbo Gfx and all cd drom attachments) etc etc.

As for the most WORTHWHILE, well, it is really up to the individual, but I find there are two schools of thought here. The consoles with the largest range of games are usually the consoles that had the widest distribution in the world, and so chances are you already have/had one. If not, they are cheap and easy to acquire with lots of software. Unfortunately, being so widespread they are not exotic. Then you have the exotic consoles etc that you rarely, if ever, see. These cost more, have to be purchased abroad and have less software, BUT there is just a certain "mystique" to them which is very alluring. Things like the PC Engine FX32, Vectrex or Philips CD-I.

Oh, and get yourself Vectrex - the only vector graphic based consoles ever released with its own built in vector display - they are amazing. :)

I hope this info helps.
 

salaxi54

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@Merlin: Trully, i haven't read the whole of your reply, and am sorry i didn't! I have read the first paragraph talking about composite, and didn't go through the whole thing, whereas i tend to keep a distance from Amstrad matters. LOL Yes, doing an RGB hack could do the trick, if it's one of the + models, dunno if the original rubber-key can accomodate an rgb output through the expansion slot or not. However, if you take a composite it would still be a PAL composite. :)
 

Merlin

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I'm going to take a look at the Spectrum modulator over the weekend as I need to do Womble's composite video hack on a 16k Spectrum I acquired recently.

I'll see what encoder chip is fitted and find out if there is a PAL/NTSC hack to be had for it. Some old PAL encoder chips could be tricked into NTSC by tying some pins to ground, but I'm not sure if the one in the Spectrum is up to that hack.
 

Bootay

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Thanks everyone for your responses. All of the info is quite useful.

@abraXXious I like you collect consoles as well and I have the majority of them The only ones I am missing are the expensive ones. I think the only consoles I am missing are Turbo Grafx, CD-i, Neo Geo, Jaguar and Vectrix. But I will eventually get them all. I seen that you said you had an FM-Towns? I always wanted one of those just to have it. Same with the Pippen.

@salaxi54 My skills are decent. I have soldered modchips in a Saturn, Gamecube, and did an A/V mod for a ColecoVision. I wouldn't say my skills are great..but passable. :D
 

Jumping Anaconda

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ALL tvs manufactured in the last 15 years automatically detect and correctly display an NTSC and PAL picture, so displaying the outpupt from any retro console computer is not an issue.

I am not sure that information is correct. More recent PAL tvs can sometimes display video at NTSC rates with a PAL kludge (I am not sure that the colours are displayed as exactly as intended, as NTSC uses a very different method of composite encoding). However, I do not think it is very common for a US NTSC TV to be able to display PAL signals. As Rkauer says, you may be able to get around it by using a RGB connection method, but as far as I am aware that would still depend on the TV being able to scan down to 50hz.
 

Bootay

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Oh shoot....I don't have a CD32 either. Forgot about that one. :)
And there might be a few more I am forgetting but I have all of the common ones.

As for computers I have an my modern PC, Amiga 4000D, Apple IIGS, a C64, and a Quicksilver Mac. But looking to one day have an Atari ST (another line I am not familiar with when it comes to models) and the ones mentioned above in the post. So who can tell me which model STs are best for game compatibility?? :)
 
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