ZX Spectrum emulator

Spectrum emulators

Spectrum Emulator

If you were an owner of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum back in the 1980s you probably hark back to those halcyon days of gaming (when the likes of Space Invaders, Pac Man, Scamble, Frogger and Asteroids was cutting edge!).

Loading your games in from cassette, the dreaded 'R Tape Loading Error' message, adjusting the volume on you tape deck, trying it one more time...

The loading screen being drawn in line by line, the yellow and blue alternating screen border, the famous 'loading screech' bringing joy and pain to your ears.

After an eon the game loads up - funky beeper music blasting from your rubber keyed machine, or if you were lucky some cool multi-channel music from your AY Sound chip.

Well these days the emulation of retro computers is all the rage, and here we will show you which we think are the best Spectrum emulators for your PC, the features of each one, and how to use them.

Rediscover those classic games (who fancies another shot at Manic Miner?) and play them once again - without the lengthy loading times!

Spectrum emulation

Want to play those classic Spectrum games? Please read on.
Want to play those classic Spectrum games? Please read on.

ZX Spectrum Emulator - Spectaculator

Spectaculator is one of the more well known ZX Spectrum emulators out there. There is a reason for that - it is absolutely excellent!

Spectaculator emulates each model of the ZX Spectrum including:

  • Standard 16K / 48K ZX Spectrum
  • ZX Spectrum 128
  • ZX Spectrum +2
  • ZX Spectrum +3

Spectaculator runs on the following operating systems:

  • Windows 98,
  • Windows ME
  • Windows NT 4
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista

It handles all of the Spectrum file formats such as TZX, TAP, and Z80.

Not only that Spectaculator also allows you to define keyboard settings and gives you an overlay of the original Spectrum keyboard. This is handy if you fancy typing in a bit of classic BASIC!

This emulator also gives you the option to grab screen dumps from any program you are running and even allows you to record video. This means you can record yourself playing any of your favourite games and then watch it back at leisure on your own PC. Marvellous!

Emulating a ZX Spectrum 48K

Classic 48K Mode
Classic 48K Mode

Emulating a ZX Spectrum 128

The funky Spectrum 128 menu
The funky Spectrum 128 menu

Spectaculator further information

Spectaculator has it's own home page at http://www.spectaculator.com/. Here you can find more detailled information about the product and some useful frequently asked questions.

Spectaculator is available for download from the site and is usually available for a free 30 day trial. Please go there and try it out.

ZX Spectrum emulator - Spin

Spin is another well known emulator of all things Spectrum - and it does the job superbly.

Just like Spectaculator it emulates the following versions of the ZX Spectrum:

  • Standard 16K / 48K ZX Spectrum
  • ZX Spectrum 128
  • ZX Spectrum +2
  • ZX Spectrum +3

Spin runs on the following operating systems:

  • Windows 95
  • WIndows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2003

Spin handles all of the usual Spectrum file formats such as TZX, TAP, and Z80.

Spectaculator also gives you an overlay of the original Spectrum keyboard. This is handy if you fancy typing in a bit of Spectrum BASIC. It also has a command finder which tells you the shift and key combination for certain commands in 48K mode.

This emulator also gives you the option to grab screen dumps in bitmap format from any program you are running and even allows you to record video. This means you can record yourself playing any of your favourite games and then watch it back via a player that handles avi files.

It should be noted that making the avi's rip and run correctly may require a download of certain CODEC's. We have found this to be the case anyway.

Emulating a ZX Spectrum 48K

The famous Sinclair Research text in classic 48K mode
The famous Sinclair Research text in classic 48K mode

Emulating a ZX Spectrum 128

ZX Spectrum 128 mode
ZX Spectrum 128 mode

Spin further information

Further information on Spin can be found at http://www.zxspin.co.uk/

It is also available for download from this location. Enjoy!

ZX Spectrum emulator - EmuZWin

Now this is a great emulator.

It is available for free download and covers all ZX Spectrum models as well as some of the Russian clone machines.

This emulator is completely free to download and what I like about it is the built in sound and AVI video recording facility.

It will give you absolutely spot on emulation, various speed settings, a built in keyboard map (handy if you fancy a spot of BASIC programming) and a host of visual effects to capture many various retro look and feels.

A great emulator and one that I use a lot when playing and recording games.

Emulating a ZX Spectrum 48K

Another great emulator
Another great emulator

EmuZWin emulates the Spectrum +2

You are now in command of an awesome 128K machine...
You are now in command of an awesome 128K machine...

Yours truly playing Exploding Fist on EmuZWin

Get those games all over again

There are other emulators out there, most of which are good (check out these awesome graphics), so play around with a few to see which you like best.

Now that you are all emulated up - you need to get some games to play.

Download Spectrum will tell you how!

If you want to play some classics then you could always go for games online if you don't fancy going down the emulator route. Unfortunately games from Ultimate are denied distribution, but almost every title ever released for the ZX Spectrum is available to download from the internet. World of Spectrum has the largest selection to pick from.

In my opinion - almost all of the Ocean Software games are worth playing, as are titles from Durell and Hewson.

Yours Truly Becomes Frank Bruno. Know What I Mean?

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Comments 9 comments

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA

I still have a Spectrum in working condition! Haven't used it for a long time - gonna sell it on eBay one day! Still not worth much yet! Some great old games on this thing!


RetroBrothers profile image

RetroBrothers 7 years ago from Sunny Scotland Author

Hey SimeyC thanks for the comments! What kind of Spectrum do you have (is it a 48K model or one of the newer +2 or +3 models?). Anyway - keep hold of it whichever it is, it's a fine machine!


SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA

its the 128k model - even has the box entact too! Your hub made me dig it out - the thing still works - no games though - but wrote a wonderful little routing to display my name six million times LOL!


RetroBrothers profile image

RetroBrothers 7 years ago from Sunny Scotland Author

The 128 was best machine (the last true Sinclair model) we reckon. With it still having the box it'll be worth something already! For more info on ZX Spectrum games you should look at our blog site - we've covered quite a few in there. You never know we might have looked at one of your favourites.

Sounds like you had fun writing that FOR..NEXT loop too! LOL


john 6 years ago

i tried spectaculator, its fantastic you couldn't ask for a better emulator, worth every penny!


ROBERT MURRAY 4 years ago

I WOULD PURCHASE A COPY OF SPECTACULATOR IF SOME WOULD ANSWER MY QUESTION, CAN I SAVE AND RELOAD DATA , I HAVE ASKED THIS QUESTION BEFORE BUT CANNOT GET AN ANSWER


RetroBrothers profile image

RetroBrothers 4 years ago from Sunny Scotland Author

Hi Robert

Yes you can save and re-load data. I take it you want to save your progress in games and then re-load it later?

You can save your game or application as a snapshot file then simply reload it whenever you want.

But remember - that's not the Spectrum way! ;-)

Even though I've used this to complete many of the classics lately! :-)


Richard 3 years ago

Can't believe you didn't add SpecEmu or Spud, both of which are far better than EmuZWin


RetroBrothers profile image

RetroBrothers 3 years ago from Sunny Scotland Author

Well Richard I can add them both in - no probs!

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