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ZX Spectrum Emulation


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Hi All, 

I have so far only been able to get the game Jetpak to play on ZX Spectrum using Fuse core in Retroarch. Are there any tips from anyone out there to get the majority of the ZX Spectrum games to play easily using a joystick? I've tried a number of alternative emulators but not getting anything to work well. 

If someone might have a list of games they've been able to run well, or an emulator that they've had good success with more ZX roms (and which rom extension or extension(s) in particular) I'd be happy to learn more.


Edited by zorkiii
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I use Spectaculator emulator , but that's just my preference.

Its not free tho , but is the best speccy emu imho.

of course there are ways to get it for free if you know where to look ?.

Google is your friend ?

It supports all major zx formats , .tap .tzx .sna .z80 etc.... 

Has a really great GUI is easy to use.


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Spectrum works just fine in Retroarch with the FUSE core.

All my games are .z80 or .tzx files.5a801fcb36148_Screenshot(29).thumb.png.2adb34924baefea2a5cd426f330b2cd0.pngBare in mind that the spectrum was a computer so most games will use the keyboard by default, but the most supported joystick for it was kempston so I use that. Just load a game, then go to quick menu/controls and change user 1 device type to kempston then save it as a core remap.5a801fd2e7b97_Screenshot(31).thumb.png.3f94cec98c6d8a954f81450b134f25e9.png

Then in games you will need to press a specific keyboard button to use the kempston joystick. In the case below Treasure Island Dizzy says "K for kempston to start" so you need to hit K on the spectrum keyboard, just press select/back on your controller to bring up the onscreen keyboard and navigate to K and hit the button. 5a801fd8812d9_Screenshot(30).thumb.png.ace3a96868677cd0dddbdce2d6eace0d.png5a801fde93cdf_Screenshot(32).thumb.png.2f17470f0d7a503120f3676e408cfe04.png


The game should now start with kempston support which is also what should be specified in your controller options by default now, The button will be different in different games, dizzy wants a K others will want a number, but they should always say what to press on the title screen.

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Thank you @harryoke  and @neil9000 , I appreciate the help!  I'm getting the hang of this system and using Retroarch currently, the information you guys shared helps a bunch.

I think I may have just been running into issues with individual roms not working properly. For instance, the game Atic Atak - I have a couple romsets and collections I found, and added the game to Launchbox and tried it using Retroarch core. The first version I used wouldn't get past an opening gray screen with some text just stating Copyright xxxx Sinclair or something similar, no buttons would advance it. I then found another rom which I imported, this one got into the main game but with no sound, and everything was running at like 1000% speed and unplayable. 

I then found a few other collections that had the game, and I think I honestly spent maybe 45 minutes or so getting this one game imported and working (time spent searching / downloading and testing etc). I've been having similar issues with other games that are reference as some of the best for Sinclair.

For instance the game R-Type has a ton of versions out there and I've only found 1 out of maybe 16 or more that will play properly, plus it takes 1 minute 25 seconds to get to the gameplay screen!  Luckily I'm pretty used to this kind of waiting being a C64 nut.

Aside from some aggravation getting solid playing versions of games, I'm actually really loving the Sinclair ZX right now. I grew up with a C64 and remember hearing about the Sinclair / ZX Spectrum but never knew anyone that had one. There are a lot of similar titles, but graphically the systems are pretty different and am loving the weird color schemes in the Spectrum.  Just wish that the process of getting the games in and getting them to run properly wasn't as painful as some of the other retro systems, this one has been much more time consuming for some reason.

I've been putting off getting this system in Launchbox, and also the X68000, Apple II, and Acorn systems primarily because they're all a bit on the harder side to get up and running and playing games quickly. At least, that's been my experience so far!

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@zorkiii you will find a lot of systems are a pain in the ass to get up and running , but zx spectrum is pretty strait forward. For a start I would advise you to extract the Roms from the archives, I know this helps a lot in my experience with the speccy . The fuse core in retroarch is ok but you need to bring up the on-screen virtual keyboard to input. The Sinclair research screen you mentioned is the default basic operating system when you turn on a spectrum , just like the c64 blue screen with commordore 64 basic v12. Which means the emulator has not loaded the Rom you selected.

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