Elite Systems, one of Europe's most long established video game publishers (founded in 1984), today informed us that Apple has just approved their upcoming ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection (Vol. #1). Themselves publishers of over 50 game titles for the British Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer (which may be little known to most of our readers in the states), Elite plans to bring a bevy of venerable Spectrum titles to our favorite mobile games platform through future volumes of the collection.

For those unfamiliar, the ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit home computer that was released by Sinclair Research in the UK in 1982. It is based on the Z-80 processor running at 3.5MHz and features a 256×192 pixel display in 16 colors (with notable restrictions). The Spectrum was available with either 16K or 48K of RAM and was followed up by several models offering more memory, enhanced audio, and such. The American gamer who was around to see home computers in the '80s probably best remembers Sinclair Research from the Timex Sinclair 1000, an extremely inexpensive, black & white 4K computer sold in America, itself a take on the European Sinclair Zx81. A later attempt was made to actually bring a modified version of the ZX Spectrum to the US in the form of the Timex Sinclair 2068, but it failed badly for a number of reasons and is remembered by few.

Elite's Steve Wilcox comments,

We have long range plans for ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection. Starting with the games bundled with this inaugural volume, our goal is to offer access - via mobile and wireless devices - to many of the thousands of fantastic ZX Spectrum games. Simultaneously, we're offering the developers and publishers of those games the opportunity to monetise their work by bundling them with future volumes, offering them as In-App purchases or by commissioning us to create bespoke bundles which they can then publish themselves.

Notable features of the ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection package, as listed by the studio:

  • 100% original and "officially licenced" ZX Spectrum games
  • game-specific play controls
  • extensive playing instructions
  • option of portrait or (full-screen) landscape play / display modes
  • authentic 'Spectrum' sound

While I, personally, have only modest experience with ZX Spectrum games -- and through emulation -- I've followed its history closely through every issue of the superb UK-based Retro Gamer magazine. And what experience I do have with the platform allows me to tell you that the ZX Spectrum game library coming to the iOS platform is a very good thing.

The release date of ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection (Vol. #1) will be announced later this week, along with a preview video. Stay tuned for more on this when it hits the App Store.

  • Anonymous

    It's about time the Spectrum gets an officially licensed bundle. After the last two yanked emulators it's nice to see that Elite have taken up the gauntlet and decided to do it right. Looking forward to this one.

    • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom - mooedia

      Gauntlet did you say? hehe, that would be a cracking little title!

  • CircleTheFire

    Makes me think of the character Voytek from the William Gibson books Pattern Recognition and Zero History.

  • http://twitter.com/MJongo Nick Reymann

    One word: DIZZY

  • Chris

    This is great! Very excited - hope the game lineup doesn't disappoint

  • http://www.facebook.com/gar3thk Gareth Kneller

    ok thats just weird, I was just saying to a work colleague that I wish there was a spectrum emulator like the C64 one, I fire up touch arcade and this is sitting on the homepage! Awesome, can't wait!

  • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom - mooedia

    This is def welcomed. Would be good if they made it like the C64 emulator and enabled Basic.

    Many a day spent with me mate programming on this! Those were the days! (Bloody ell do I sound like an old un!)

  • Anonymous

    Aww shucks, I thought this was going to be my chance to play the fabled game ELITE
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elite_(video_game)

    • Marquis Montalban

      Me too : (

      • Myxiplx

        Galaxy on Fire is probably the closest game you'll find to Elite. It's not perfect, but it's a fine space combat simulator, with plenty of space to explore.

        It's also free at the moment since GoF2 is due out next month, well worth a look for Elite fans :-)

  • http://twitter.com/Jayenkai Jayenkai

    Would've liked to have seen a nice "Classic/Updated" fixer-upper compilation, with slightly less dodgy onscreen controls for the updates..
    Can't stand onscreen controls!
    moan, whinge, whine

  • http://twitter.com/johnhood John Hood

    The ZX Spectrum was my first ever computer! Day one purchase.

    • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom - mooedia

      My first ever computer was an MSX 64k, doubt any of you retro fans will remember them. Then when I decided to do a bit of Basic programming I went for the Spectrum 48K with the Micro Drive. Oh the memories! Still gonna purchase tho! Retro = All good!

      • http://twitter.com/johnhood John Hood

        I can remember the MSX range of computers appearing on Saturday Superstore. :)

      • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom - mooedia

        Saturday Superstore? What's that? I had an MSX while my mates all had games consoles. The MSX however did have a cartridge slot and also Konami wrote alot of games for the platform. Metal Gear Solid ring any bells? This is where it originated. Would love to see an MSX Emulator out there. The Spectrum one will do for now tho. That'll control my retro fix for the moment!

      • http://twitter.com/johnhood John Hood

        Saturday Superstore was a children's show on BBC One during the 1980s! I recall an MSX competition. MSX was a brilliant idea - compatibility regardless of manufacturer.

      • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom - mooedia

        Yeah exactly, you could have a sony MSX and the games would work for it. Many a days spent on Kings Valley 2 (excellent platform puzzler from Konami), F1-Spirit (Top Down racer also from Konami) and Penguin Adventure (Again Konami made this cutesy game) The games for MSX always looked so good for its time.

        Have to say tho I will certainly be getting this pack, altho doing Vol 1 - 2 etc looks like they are going to cream it cost wise. The games are used to be £1.99 each, they will be a similar price now! hehe!

      • http://twitter.com/johnhood John Hood

        Yes, lets hope that DLC isn't too expensive. Regardless, it'll be taking pride of place next to C64 on my iPod touch.

        Hmm, wonder if it'll support Retina display? Actually, scratch that! Keep it real - warts and all. :)

      • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom - mooedia

        Im with you. Keep it as original as possible, no funky retina display wanted here. Just original Retro goodness! How are you finding the games to control and whats ya fave so far?

  • titi

    I prefer AMSTRAD CPC

  • yeti

    This is awesome news! Put Roller Coaster and Bomb Jack on it and i'm sold :-)

  • Anonymous

    I had a ZX-81 and then Timex Sinclair 2068 and eventually a QL. Then I wised up. Too bad the ZX Spectrum didn't make it in the US, though. Would have liked all the games. So... I don't know what the good games were. Anybody have a top 10 list of ZX Spectrum games?

    • http://twitter.com/johnhood John Hood

      Here's my top ten to help kick things off:

      Sabre Wulf
      Underworlde
      Knight Lore
      Jet Set Willy
      Tir Na Nog
      The Black Cauldron
      Avalon
      Dragon Torc
      Atic Atac
      Alien 8

    • Anonymous

      The Spectrum did come to the US under the Timex Sinclair TS2068 model. Just try finding one though. They're rarer than hen's teeth.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Sinclair_2068

      • Anonymous

        Well, yes, like I said, I had one! The problem was you couldn't buy the games in the US. They didn't exist here for the most part. You probably could have imported them - I can't remember - but I didn't have money for that. :)

      • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

        The 2068 was not fully ZX Spectrum compatible. It wasn't the same as a ZX Spectrum in the states, sadly. It had the enhanced soundchip of later ZX models, but it wasn't tied to the system in the same way, as well. An oddball move.

      • henderson101

        There was an emulation cartridge that would give a reasonable Speccy 48K emulation. The issue was more to do with the fact that Timex re-mapped a lot of the memory and ports and made the ROM incompatible by adding in extra commands and made the memory bank switched to support the cart. They were thinking Commodore/Apple/Atari, rather than "hey, we have a nice simple computer here that roll out cheaply and flood the market!" That's why the Spectrum pwned the UK.

  • Rob

    my sexy specky is in the loft, ohh the rubber keypad, bring on chucky egg i say woohoo.

  • Acidbottle

    ive a feelin this emulator is the very same one called zx nostalgia rebranded with elite games on.

    ive also a funny feeling it wont contain any games from codemasters or ultimate play the game as those licenses are near impossible to obtain, as is the fabled elite itself!

    also vol 1 hints at further volumes, bit of a cash cow since you could fit tonnes in this app .. oh well. its a start and an official one at least.

    • http://www.mooedia.co.uk Tom - mooedia

      Does that mean no BMX Simulator (I think that's what it was called) Codemasters made an excellent BMX game.

      • http://twitter.com/fatflatfly mark roberts

        no super stuntman or dizzy

  • Scoops

    Generally I wouldn't expect anything to come from Codemasters or Ultimate (Rare) although maybe the promise of money would change their minds?? Elite I would expect to arrive more than the others but it would be a bugger to play since you need the keyboard, same with a lot of other Spectrum games like the awesome Lords of Midnight. Interesting to see their pricing and game selection....

  • http://twitter.com/fatflatfly mark roberts

    had the spectrum 128K with built in tape deck no rubber keys my neighbor had 128K with built in disk drive and light gun.
    Just need treasure island dizzy and Colony and i will be happy