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The Vega+ debacle has gone on for more than a year now, and there are so many places to keep track of information that a number of people are fed up with the whole thing. I will attempt to keep a daily summary of anything of interest from the following sources:

There have been so many missed deadlines, delays, excuses and lies that it's hard to keep track of what backers are supposed to getting next.

Please note that due to the timezone differences (New Zealand is 13 hours ahead of the UK during our summer) that some dates and screenshots may have been grabbed in a different timezone.

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Sunday 3rd January, 2016

Chris Smith takes various photos and videos of his prototype Vega+, and also records a full boot-up video.

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Monday 15th February, 2016

The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign opens, hoping to raise £100,000.

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Sunday 27th March, 2016

The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign closes, having raised £366,655 (367% of the product’s goal).

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Friday 8th April, 2016

Directors Paul Andrews and Chris Smith resign from Retro Computers Ltd.

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Saturday 9th April, 2016

Lady Angie Sinclair resigns as a director from Sinclair Research Ltd.

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Wednesday 13th April, 2016

Retro Computing News reports that Paul Andrews and Chris Smift have left.

Andrews UK sends a notice out to games rights owners informing them to contact RCL for payments and questions.

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Wednesday 27th April, 2016

Lee Fogarty posts on World of Spectrum, confirming that the Vega+ is in production.

Lee Fogarty confirms the Vega+ is in production
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Tuesday 24th May, 2016

The former directors Chris Smith and Paul Andrews are given a bank statement for the month after they left showing that within a period of nine days (16 to 24 May 2016) consultancy fees of £42,056.40 were paid to Mr Levy, £10,000 to Sir Clive Sinclair, £12,000 to Mr Mrsic-Flogel, plus £1,176.68 to Ms Martin. So in just 9 days, a total of £65,233.08 was paid out.

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June 2016

RCL post the following message to re-assure backers that everything is going well for the September delivery:

"We delivered last year, and we will deliver in September as promised to you and 3500 happy customers, and we plan on keeping them that way. We are sorry we haven't updated you, but that is because we are busy working with Rik Dickinson and in fact we are further ahead than we were at this point last year. We have a great team of programmers, and they are doing a cracking job. And the best bit of news - we have some new games - ones that we didn't have last time."

We will deliver in September and are further ahead
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Tuesday 21st June, 2016

MCV (the Market for Computer and Video Games) publish a statement from Chris and Paul. The article is called Chris Smith and Paul Andrews step down from Retro Computers and confirms the pair stepped down from the firm due to "irreconcilable differences" between them and the last remaining director, David Levy.

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Wednesday 13th July, 2016

George Cropper releases the ZX Vega+ Scandal video on Youtube, suggesting the project is heading into troubled waters and that backers should start applying for refunds.

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August 2016

A backer asks for something of substance from RCL:

"With under a month to go to shipping the 1st units you must have something of substance to show us by now! If you are, as you say "are further ahead than we were at this stage last summer". Don't get me wrong I think this will be a great product and clearly so do a few thousand others, but all you have is a prototype with a cracked screen and some painted buttons?"

RCL re-assure everyone that shipping is still on track for September:

"We are due to ship mid to late September. Next week we will be at Games Con and will have something to show then."

We will be at Games Con 2016

Later on during the month when RCL are called up on not being at Games Con, RCL say: "We are sorry that you misunderstood or misinterpreted our comment that we will be at Gamescon to mean that we would have our own stand."

You misinterpreted us having a stand at Games Con 2016
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Tuesday August 2nd, 2016

RCL announce a Vega+ Game Coding Competition, "designed particularly to stimulate the growing interest in coding amongst the current generation of schoolchildren, and thereby to create a similarly enthusiastic generation of coders for the UK in the coming years." There are 2 age categories (under 16 plus an open section) with prizes offered in both categories and "the best games will be available for free download for owners of the ZX Vega+ and its predecessor the ZX Vega". RCL promise that "the software utilities necessary to create games for the Vega+ (and the Vega) will be available from the Retro Computers Ltd web site at the beginning of September, together with full rules for the competition."

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Monday August 8th, 2016

RCL tweet that "We are in production and very happy to be..."

We are in production
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Tuesday 9th August, 2016

Dr David Levy, Chairman of Retro Computers Limited issues a statement on the RCL website claiming that RCL are investigating financial irregularities and that RCL are pursuing legal proceedings to recover funds.

(This statement turns out to be completely untrue, as the BBC will later investigate and find no proof of any of these claims. The statement is later deleted from the RCL website, but the original post has been archived).

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Thursday 25th August, 2016

RCL announce the "bar of soap" update with "Rick Dickinson Designed Vega+ Model Images Revealed For The First Time".

Bar of soap life sized model
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Thursday 1st September, 2016

The software utilities promised for the Vega+ Game Coding Competition fail to materialise.

Lee Fogarty tells George Cropper "they are still on track for shipping to backers end of sept"

Lee Fogarty confirms they are on track for shipping September
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Friday 2nd September, 2016

Confirmed reports that the BBC remove the lies from David Levy that legal action in progress to recover funds from Paul and Chris, as BBC investigated and no proof of these lies/claims are offered by Levy or RCL.

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Friday 30th September, 2016

First shipping date missed!

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Tuesday 11th October, 2016

Lee Fogarty posts the final date available for having your name added to the honour roll. RCL also confirm that they plan to have the Vega+ in online retail stores in time for Christmas. Highlights from the post:

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ to give our product its full name, comes complete with 1,000 licensed games built-in and is currently available via the InDemand phase on Indiegogo, will launch on the 20th October. Shortly before that, on the 19th October, the Roll of Honour will be frozen, and you will no longer be able to pledge to have your name or the name of a loved one permanently etched in retro computer gaming history. You will still be able to purchase a Vega+ via the IndieGoGo InDemand phase, but from the 19th October onwards we will no longer be adding names of backers to the list.

The team behind the hugely successful Vega+ also plan to launch on selected online retail sites in time for Christmas 2016 and will soon be announcing their new sales and marketing partner who won the account after a lengthy 4-way selection process.

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Saturday 15th October, 2016

The campaign gets "Arrow certification" today 15th October, 2016.

Arrow certification

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Thursday 20th October, 2016

Launch party. People that attended had to sign a non disclosure agreement, and many people that paid for this perk were not invited.

Launch party

RCL release (and later delete) the following update:

Well what a day - we've had a manic week and yes today IS our launch day for the much anticipated Spectrum Vega - we've posted twice already today and for some strange reason none of our posts made it. We don't know why or what happened - but we're trying one more time - so fingers crossed we are third time lucky. Here we go!! Today IS our big day and we cannot believe we had computer issues today of all days, we have to see the irony in this. We have a few of our brand new consoles with some specially chosen celebrities, not least the very lovely Dermot O'Leary who was a huge fan of the original Spectrum, and we're hoping he likes his new one (with his name on) just as much. Re the practicalities many of you have been posting and messaging about, we will be contacting backers directly about the delivery schedule, so please hang fire for that. If you are a backer, please make sure your address is up to date and accurate. We are about to switch off the Roll of Honour, so make sure your name is correct on lndiegogo too. More than anything, thank you one and all for joining us on this journey which has been exciting, sometimes challenging, but always worth it - as all the best journey are :) And apologies for it taking so many attempts to get today's message out to you all - and those of you never waivering in your faith, the biggest thank you of all. We would not be here without you.

Launch day with Dermot O'Leary
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Thursday 27th October, 2016

As shown in the camera metadata, photographer A.J.Levy takes photos of the Vega+ components that will be used over the coming days to pretend these were taken at the launch party, 7 days earlier.

Fake launch party photos

RCL post a tweet, claiming to have been filming the production line and to ignore the clueless trolls!

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Monday 31st October, 2016

Second shipping date missed!

October 20th launch date missed!
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Wednesday 2nd November, 2016

RCL publish a news article on their website confirming that their lawyers received a request from Darren Melbourne to remove his game Hades Nebula from the Vega+.

Darren Melbourne's request to remove Hades Nebula from the Vega+
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Thursday 3rd November

The RCL team are at Wired 2016. RCL release a short 17 second video of the game Cray 5 running on a Vega+.

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Friday 4th November, 2016

Paul Andrews uploads a series of photos from the original ZX Spectrum Vega launch party to Flickr.

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Saturday 5th November, 2016

The RCL team post that they are at the one day Wired 2016 Next Generation event, where 12-18 year olds will be able to try out the Vega+. RCL say that "the big surprise hit of the day so far has been our very own Spectrum Vega+ and right now we are staggered and moved to see the powerfully positive reactions from a whole new generation of Spectrum fans".

This is the day that RCL will later claim that children found a problem with the Vega+ buttons.

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Wednesday 9th November, 2016

RCL release an update saying that they intend to release the highest quality Speccy product, and they were invited to be be part of the Test Lab with Telefonica - "one of the most exciting and innovative elements of WIRED2016 and WIRED NEXT GENERATION 2016". RCL also say "WE WILL come back to you with our more precise delivery plans very soon".

This update fails to mention the faulty button problem.

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Wednesday 16th November, 2016

RCL contradict themselves by claiming they haven't given Vega+'s to anyone before backers. On October 20th they claimed they had given one to Dermot O'Leary at the launch party. This was their exact message:

We were really lucky to be invited to #wired2016 but we haven't given Vega+'s to anyone before backers. The Vega+ got a lot of love...

No Vega+'s before backers

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Friday 25th November, 2016

Almost 3 weeks after the Wired 2016 event, RCL release the following news regarding the button:

Assembling and playing with these first units we identified an improvement we believed was essential to the Vega+ gaming experience. An improvement that would make the feel of the product far better, including a correction in the design of one of the buttons making it more robust and able to withstand the rigours of extended game-play.

This change has caused a brief delay while we improved the product and we have now completed the necessary revisions. We have also produced the first batch of custom made modified buttons and will be spending the next few days manufacturing units, using the already completed electronics and the newly modified buttons. As soon as we have completed the necessary tests to ensure that the revised Vega+ is now perfect, we will be able to announce our delivery schedule.

So to be clear the product and gorgeous designs that you have already seen remain unchanged. It is purely to do with the response time and durability of one of the components. We know that you all want to know a delivery date and we really want to ship to you - but the most important thing to us is making sure that the Vega+ is as brilliant as you deserve it to be.

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Monday 28th November, 2016

Chris Merriman posts an article called ZX Spectrum Vega+ production is delayed but RCL 'hopes' for pre-Christmas rollout in The Inquirer. Chris talks to Suzanne Martin asking to clarify some of the burning questions from backers. The article explains that there will be a further delay to the Vega+ after playtesters had identified a problem with one of the buttons. RCL can no longer promise Xmas delivery, but confirm that backers' money has been ringfenced. Suzanne also confirms that they have been deleting comments on the Indiegogo campaign, and that they will not be giving any delivery dates unless they are 110% certain. Suzanne also says that the project is a "labour of love", which is interesting considering they have half a million pounds from backers. Quotes from the article:

Retro Computers Limited (RCL) has confirmed that there is to be a further delay to the ZX Spectrum Vega+, the handheld version of last year’s ZX Spectrum Vega, a recreation of the iconic 8-bit computer.

The problem was revealed on Friday night on the project’s Indiegogo page. The team explained that playtesters had identified a problem with one of the buttons in the small production run that had already taken place, which led to the decision to pause the full-scale production, pending a change to the component. RCL will also retroactively fit the new button to consoles already manufactured.

Does that mean Christmas delivery is off the table?

"We still hope to get some units out before Christmas, but being completely honest, we can’t promise that until we get the test results back this week."

But what about customer money?

"It’s safe. It was ringfenced from the beginning and anything you hear otherwise is completely untrue. The disputes are about the proceeds from the original Spectrum Vega. Retail of the Vega+ will happen after all the backers have their machines."

One other matter of concern is that when there have been problems, comments have been deleted from your Indiegogo page. Generally, that’s not the done thing.

"True. It’s not something we do lightly. Much of what has been deleted is rude, multiple posts (sometimes over 100), attacks on other backers and offensive. Some of it comes from elements that are not only known to us, but to Indiegogo as trollers and spammers."

"We’ve worked closely with Indiegogo over what we should do and are only deleting posts that break their community guidelines, after confirming with Indiegogo that it was the right course of action."

The main complaint is the lack of communication over a delivery date. What do you say to those people?

"We've opted to stop giving delivery dates until we are 110 per cent certain that we are going to meet them."

"We will deliver. It will be brilliant. In the meantime, don’t believe everything you read elsewhere on the internet. This remains a labour of love for all involved and we are passionate about exceeding your expectations."

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Thursday 8th December, 2016

RCL force-refund backer Peeto against his will. Peeto had been asking questions about the campaign, and to remove him from the comments section, RCL simply marked his contribution as refunded to silence him.

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Wednesday 14th December, 2016

RCL release an update called A Pain in the Buttons, featuring a video of a Vega+ being assembled and the infamous "labour of love" comment:

We had hoped to post an update a few days ago. Unfortunately, we have been swamped working on the improvement to the Vega+ we previously told you about. The testing has proved to be slightly trickier than previously suspected and the new buttons caused all sorts of additional issues - they really were a pain in the buttons!

We now believe we have finally solved most of those problems and we have a series of production meetings between now and next Tuesday to confirm this, once we have attended all of those meetings, we will be able to come back to you with a clearer delivery schedule.

We have faced a number challenges over the last few months, and each time we have overcome whatever challenge has come our way, and we will continue to do so no matter what anyone puts in our way. We have said it before, and we will say it again "We will deliver. It will be brilliant. In the meantime, don’t believe everything you read elsewhere on the internet. This remains a labour of love for all involved, and we are passionate about exceeding your expectations."

A 1 and a half minute video is released which includes footage of a Vega+ being put together. At crucial spots in the video (47 seconds), the footage is suddenly sped up, and when the technician attempts to screw the screws down, they do not seem to be grabbing onto anything. As the second screw is being screwed in, the first one pops completely back up!

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Tuesday 20th December, 2016

Backer Richard Ratcliffe releases a 41 minute video The Evidently [Vague-A] Plus on YouTube, detailing how he was forcibly refunded after RCL confused him with somebody else. The video contains screenshots from the campaign, an email trail, a look at the company house records and much more. Suzanne Martin refunded Richard's pledge without his permission, then as a gesture of goodwill for their cock-up, RCL said that the "refunded" status of his order would be undone (meaning he would be sent a Vega+ unit anyway). He was also told he would be invited to the launch party. The launch party invite never materialised, and he has been abused for months in the Indiegogo comments, saying that he is not a backer.

Paul Andrews and Chris Smith release a statement to confirm that they left RCL before any funds from the crowdfunding campaign was received. The statement confirms that the remaining directors and employees of RCL have been creating a smear campaign and spreading lies. The full statement is available but a part of it has been reproduced here:

Sadly we have been forced once more to issue an immediate statement with regards to the company we founded but resigned from on the 8th of April 2016. To confirm we still remain joint 50% shareholders of Retro Computers Ltd.

Once again we have to draw people’s attention to the fact we left the company before any of the money from the Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for the ZX Vega Plus console was received by the company.

We have issued this statement as it has been drawn to our attention in both documented and verbal evidence that the current directors and employees of RCL (Mr David Levy, Ms Susanne Louise Martin, Mr Janko Mrsic-Flogel, and Mr Lee Fogarty) have been spreading lies and disinformation about us. This includes false allegations as to (non-existent) unaccounted funds, missing stock and also claims of fraud, allegedly prior to our resignations from RCL. This misinformation has been given to multiple people and companies, including employers, business contacts, and online social media outlets and so on, in what appears to be some sort of smear campaign, to what ends we do not know. For clarity RCL have been unable to actually identify any such unaccounted for funds or missing stock: all stock was held in high security and tracked storage facilities of a major distribution company which we had no physical access to and no stock was authorised to be sent (under our watch) to anyone but company approved retail agents.

On a personal note we wish to make it very clear that had we known of the past business records or interconnections of the current directors of RCL neither Paul Andrews nor Chris Smith would have become involved with them at all. We also wish to be clear that prior to our departure Mr Janko Mrsic-Flogel was not involved with the company in any way and Ms Suzanne Louise Martin had been no more than a part-time contractor PR consultant, not an employee or director. We also wish it to be known that they were appointed as directors of RCL without our consent and in breach of the Shareholders Agreement by Mr David Levy and that neither of those parties own any shares of RCL.

Vega+ backer Peeto posts on the Indiegogo comments section to say that he was force-refunded against his will:

Peeto: At least some honest update. But I am out/not by my wish/
Retro Computers: Peeto... do you want to come back? RCL
Peeto: yes. I know, what to expect and still answer is yes. What should I do? I would like to have same pledge with same amount. thx
Retro Computers: We'll contact you by email and see what we can sort out. RCL

Peeto forced refund
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Friday 23rd December, 2016

The "In time for Xmas" deadline missed. A VentureBeat article is published called Retro Sinclair ZX Spectrum handheld console to ship in February after series of delays. The final few lines of the article says:

In short, the company is now confident it will be able to dispatch the first units in February. How many that will be still isn’t clear, but if it fails to deliver this time around, there could be more than a few people asking for their money back.

George Cropper releases RCL's Christmas Carol - A Radio Play on his Funky Spectrum YouTube channel, a satirical look at the current state of the project.

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Saturday 7th January, 2017

Lee Fogarty was caught shilling for RCL today (7th January, 2017). Lee paid £5 to sign up a brand new Indiegogo account in the name of Nick Roper. Several eagle-eyed people spot that Nick Roper happens to have the exact same photo as Lee Fogarty's profile:

Nick Roper's profile happens to have Lee Fogarty's photo

Lee paid the minimum tier level of £5 because only backers can post comments on the Indiegogo campaign, so in order to post positive comments about RCL, he had to pay.

Nick Roper responding to a backer

Once Lee realises his shilling has been exposed, he alters the comment so that now it appears that Lee has answered it:

Nick Roper's name suddenly changes to Lee FogartyLee posts a pathetic excuse that he registered to add an old friend to the honour roll. He then claims that he's spoken to them and had his name added anyway, so that he can post as himself. (In private messages later in February, Lee changes his story and says that Nick Roper has in fact been dead for 20 years!)

Lee Fogarty claims he registered to add an old friend to the honour roll

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Sunday 8th January, 2017

RCL ramp up the completely irrelevant 80s trivia on their Facebook and Twitter pages. People begin to ask about the state of the project and why useless garbage is being posted that has nothing to do with retro computers. Their posts are deleted and users banned from being able to post on the Facebook page.

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Monday 9th January, 2017

George Cropper uploads a video to his Funky Spectrum YouTube channel exposing Lee Fogarty's shilling as Nick Roper.

George highlights several points in his video:

  • Lee works for RCL, so there was no need for him to pay £5 to sign up a new account just to add a "life long friend" to the honour roll.
  • There is absolutely no instance of a "life long friend" called Nick Roper on any of Lee's social media accounts.
  • RCL have claimed that the device is in manufacture already, so shouldn't the honour roll be closed already?
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Tuesday 31st January, 2017

Concerned onlooker Jamie Ball donates £5 to the Indiegogo campaign so that he can post in the comments section. After posting comments that ask serious questions and do not show RCL in a favourable light, RCL remove the £5 pledge option to prevent anyone else from doing the same. If you wish to ask sensible questions and raise pertinent issues, it will now cost at least £10 to have them ignored!

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Wednesday 1st February, 2017

An RCL shill account is created, called "Jamie _Ball" (with an underscore to prevent a duplicate name). The shill account is used to try and trick people into thinking Jamie is posting, and the account begins a series of abusive posts about Jamie.

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Friday 3rd February, 2017

As of today Friday 3rd February, Suzanne Martin is shown as the owner of the campaign when contacting Indiegogo:

Campaign Owner’s Name: Suzanne Martin
Campaign Owner’s Email: retrocomputersltd@gmail.com
Website: http://retro-computers.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/retrocomputersltd/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sinclairzxvega

Suzanne Martin campaign owner
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Saturday 4th February, 2017

After a week of replies on the Indiegogo comments page saying that RCL have something that "everyone was going to love", RCL release a 37 second video of a keyboard plugged into a USB port, then an obvious cut to a close up of the Vega+ that is supposed to show the keyboard working. The video has been carefully edited so that you cannot actually see keystrokes on the keyboard typing anything on the console. RCL also say there will be photos to follow:

"Kicking-off the final countdown with a tiny - Saturday Night Update... and the first chance to see the keyboard in action... Stills to follow...."

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Monday 6th February, 2017

The stills from the "keyboard being plugged in" update over the weekend fail to appear.

Lee Fogarty claims "police have 20,000 screenshots of abuse from andrews, george, family, etc"

Lee Fogarty claims that the police have 20,000 screenshots of abuse

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Thursday 9th February, 2017

A High Court Injunction is granted against Retro Computers Ltd, David Levy, Suzanne Martin, and Janko Mrsic-Flogel, in the matter of the unlawful attempt to remove the share of Paul Andrews owned in the company Retro Computers Ltd. Final judgement sealed 28th Feb 2017.

Out of frustration at not being able to comment to warn other people about the project, I create the Retro Computers Ltd Vega Plus Public Discussion Facebook group. To begin with there are just a few polls asking people what they think of the project, but the group begins to grow rapidly! The description of the group says:

Public discussion and polls for the recreated ZX Spectrum Vega+ project. This group was created because the company RCL ban people from their facebook group/Indiegogo campaign/Youtube channel, they delete comments if they disagree with them, so they cannot be trusted to run an independent forum. This group was created to try and find out what the entire community (including those that have not made a financial contribution to the campaign) really think about the project.

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Friday 10th February, 2017

The infamous "after" shipping date! A blog post on the RCL website (with Lee Fogarty shown as the author) titled "First Vega + units will ship after the 20th February 2017" is posted. The article blames the previous directors for most of it (nothing new there) but ends with the incredibly deceptive line "We are, however, delighted to say that the first units will ship after the 20th February 2017."

Shipping after February 20, 2017

The Indiegogo campaigns lights up in fury as this post is nothing but a "guaranteed not supplied before" date. Hundreds of comments are posted to the Indiegogo comments page.

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Saturday 11th February, 2017

When asked whether Lee Fogarty regretted inventing his shill account Nick Roper, Lee says that is a disgusting allegation and that poor old Nick Roper actually died 20 years ago. Lee claims that Nick's daughter (who was a baby at the time of his death) just happened to be scrolling through the comments section of the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign and saw her Dad's name being dragged through the mud. She apparently knew he was a big ZX Spectrum fan and thought a great way to remember her Dad was to scroll through the comments section of an obscure webpage.

Lee also claims that he posted as Nick Roper, realised it was the wrong name and changed it within minutes, but "trolls" captured it:

Lee Fogarty claims he posted as Nick Roper, but changed it within minutes

This is a complete lie, as a screenshot was captured 20 hours after his Nick Roper post. A second screen capture 20-and-a-bit hours after the original post shows Nick's name suddenly replaced with Lee's, so it had to have been 20 hours later, not "within minutes" as Lee claims.

Nick Roper and Lee Fogarty posting 20 hours ago

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Friday 17th February, 2017

Paul Andrews and Chris Smith issue an open letter to RCL and its directors, asking for answers for both them and the backers. (RCL has never responded publically or privately to this open letter).

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Friday 24th February, 2017

Indiegogo close down the Vega+ campaign due to missed delivery deadlines and a lack of communication to backers. The perks options are all disabled, meaning nobody else can sign up for this disaster of a campaign.

In an attempt to hide the news that the campaign has been shut down, RCL quickly post an update that the honour roll has now been closed.

RCL end with the hilarious Terry Pratchett quote "A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on".

A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on
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Saturday 25th February, 2017

A store is added to the new (but completely broken) RCL website, with links at the top of the page allowing you to place an order for Vega and Vega+s.

Vega+ available on the new RCL website for £129.99

The Vega+ costs £129.99 + £5 shipping, and payment options are PayPal or Store Dummy. At the end of filling in the form, the website throws you back to the beginning, so this carries Lee Fogarty's usual seal of quality!

Store added with PayPal and Store Dummy payment options
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Sunday 26th February, 2017

RCL suddenly announce that the Vega+ will be using FUSE - the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator, developed by Philip Kendall. RCL promise to "comply with all of the terms of use", and tell backers to "keep a look out for ROLL OF HONOUR email...". A postscript is also added stating that they haven't forgotten the "User Manual"...

The Vega+ is now using FUSE. We haven't forgotten about the manual.
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Friday 3rd March, 2017

Several backers on Indiegogo ask for RCL's address, and backer Bryan O copies it from the RCL website and pastes it. In one of the most bizarre and suspicious responses ever, RCL reply with:

"That is not Retro Computers Address RCL".

Rather than doing the responsible thing and giving an honest answer, RCL simply say that it's wrong and leave the conversation!

Bryan comes back with: "You're alive! Thank goodness, I thought you might be trapped under a heavy piece of furniture and unable to reach the keyboard. I got the address from your website btw, so let's say that it's as accurate and correct as the rest of the info found there!"

Please note that this comment (and the 2 replies) have since been deleted from the Indiegogo comments page despite RCL claiming they do not delete comments.

That is not Retro Computers address
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Wednesday 8th March, 2017

Holly Brockwell publishes an article on Gizmodo UK at 1:30pm with the title "Will the ZX Spectrum Vega Plus Ever Materialise?"

Within hours of the article going live, it is suddenly pulled from the website. All that author Holly Brockwell is allowed to say is "it is being reviewed", and RCL maintain radio silence about the whole thing.

As a trap for RCL, a backup of Holly's article is uploaded to codetapper.com and the link published on the Indiegogo comments section. I wrote a post saying that the page was online to see who was sending out takedown notices, and if I received a reply that I would publish it for everyone to see.

At 10pm, Lee Fogarty springs the trap and sends an email directly to the web host Mythic Beasts with the subject "Illegal article on one of your websites". Lee Fogarty's ramblings are complete lies, but no immediate action is taken due to the 13 hour time difference between the UK and New Zealand.

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Thursday 9th March, 2017

The awesome guys at Mythic Beasts send a copy of Lee Fogarty's email complaint to me, and I informed the Facebook group that Lee Fogarty was responsible. As promised, I published a follow-up article Lee Fogarty issues takedown request of Gizmodo article on my site along with my response saying refuting Lee's lies. It is clear Lee is working for RCL to issue takedown notices, and the proof has been obtained!

The BBC publishes an article Sinclair ZX Vega+ funding campaign halted by Indiegogo. The BBC were due to publish the article in December 2016, but were threatened with legal action. RCL claim there The BBC delayed publishing the story to give Suzanne Martin time to provide evidence, but when she failed to do so, the story was published. Highlights of the article:

  • Indiegogo halted further fundraising because of delivery delays and a lack of communication to backers.
  • RCL's lawyers Michelmores LLP say they are concerned that the BBC is in fact supporting and participating in a malicious campaign intended to denigrate RCL's reputation. They went on to request that the BBC show them its report at least 48 hours ahead of publication so they could identify any false information, which the BBC refused to do.
  • The BBC delayed publication of the report to give RCL managing director Suzanne Martin time to provide evidence of the threats RCL claimed, but she did not do so.
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Friday 10th March, 2017

A landmark day, as RCL come out with one of their biggest lies of all time on the Indiegogo comments page! Nigel Malin asked "When backers ask for a refund, why don't you give them one" and asking if they will delete his question.

Suzanne Martin replies "We aren't deleting any comments - but we are aware of a number of bugs. Some people can't post. We have never refused to refund a backer."

We have never refused a refund

Lee Fogarty is also active on the Indiegogo campaign, when replying to Jonathan Boyd about the shop on the new RCL website. Lee replies:

"I am well aware I have set the shop up on the website. But there is no direct link to it. I am also aware that Joe Larkin - Paul Andrews employee has been trying to get into the server for some time and regularly looks for new directories and stumbled upon it."

This is yet more lies from Lee Fogarty, as the website had the shop link added on February 25th, 2017. Lee must have some incredible software (that the rest of the world do not have), as he claims he can reverse lookup website accesses back to the actual name of the person! Pure fantasy from Lee...

Shop setup but no link

To absolutely nobody's surprise, David Levy posts yet another excuse/delay on the Indiegogo campaign. This time they discovered that the software for three of the user features had not yet been implemented. They claim to be taking immediate action to rectify this situation but realistically now expect it to take a few weeks before they will be ready to ship the first units. The post also goes on a rant blaming the former directors. RCL also claim they will provide updates to their progress as and when they feel it is appropriate.

Several months earlier, children had apparently discovered the button problem that the RCL testing team hadn't noticed. And yet while they were fixing the buttons, nobody at RCL happened to notice that three user features were missing? Backers ask what the missing features are, but their questions are ignored.

In a Facebook post, Lee Fogarty replies to a backer asking about when he can buy one by saying "June".

Lee Fogarty can buy in June
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Sunday 12th March, 2017

Dave Barron (one of the admins on the so-called "democracy" group) posts to Suzanne saying "I think when you get red white and blue on Monday it might be nice to post videos of them working and booting up, not just still images."

Suzanne Martin replies "That is what we always planned to do."

Suzanne plans to release video of the units booting up on Monday

Another backer also asks for the units to be videoed, and if they are working units, to show them starting up. Suzanne doesn't seem to know what she has even ordered and says "As far as I know I have been sent working units. They are spending the weekend in a depot."

Suzanne not sure what she is expecting to be sent

Dave Barron foolishly posts that he will quit the "democracy" Facebook group if the images do not materialise the next day. He has obviously not remembered that RCL are terrible at keeping their word and miss deadlines as if they are guidelines!

20170312_dave_barron_commitment.jpg

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Monday 13th March, 2017

Accounts for RCL are due today, and become overdue as the clock strikes midnight.

RCL accounts overdue

RCL post yet another excuse on the Indiegogo campaign, blaming the courier company Parcelforce for sending the units back to the depot despite Suzanne Martin claiming they paid extra for a Saturday delivery:

"On Saturday we planned to post some images and footage of the Red, White and Blue units. Unfortunately, they were sent back to the depot by the courier company. They are back out for delivery this morning, and if they are successfully delivered we can collect them this evening, and we will be able to post some footage and or stills tomorrow."

A number of people found this latest excuse utterly bizarre because courier companies deliver the parcels to you, not serve as a post office where you have to collect them from!

Red, white and blue delivery this morning
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Tuesday 14th March, 2017

Lee Fogarty posts a small update containing 2 photos on the RCL website:

Rose are Red, Vega+'s are Red, White and Blue.....

So a day later than planned but here for the very first time a sneak peak of our red, white and blue baby Vega's. We will post footage, better stills and another up-date of the screen booting up and playing a game tomorrow...but for now, we couldn't wait to share these beauties with you.....
We hope you agree that they look pretty fine....

The post claims that the photos are "a day later than planned", yet the cases were supposedly going to be photographed and videoed on Saturday - 3 days ago! This time RCL have made sure to strip all properties from the images after being caught out over the fake launch party photos.

Red, white and blue cases

David Counihan on Facebook asks for dimensions of the Vega+, and Suzanne Martin (as usual) says they will be supplied tomorrow:

"Can Suzanne or anybody else in the know tell us all the actual size of the ZX Vega Plus? What is the dimensions and also the size of the screen. Thanks in advance."

Suzanne Martin replies, "I'll set up some shots tomorrow and confirm the dimensions....."

Dimensions of the Vega+ coming tomorrow

Lee Fogarty confirms he works for RCL when asked "Do you work for the Vega people?" and replies "I work for the vega people on different projects - they have their hands in many pies!"

Lee Fogarty - I work for the vega people on different projects
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Wednesday 15th March, 2017

The backer that was promised the dimensions of the Vega+ by Suzanne Martin posts another message in the "democracy" group:

So yesterday I asked Suzanne Martin "Can we have dimensions of the Vega+. Her reply was and I quote "I'll set up some shots tomorrow and confirm the dimensions....."
So my guestion is where are the dimensions and where is the shots / video?
It doesn't take long to edit a 5 minute video or even to glam it up "Hollywood" style.
Come on Suzanne
As Ronan Keating sings "IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES"

There is also some comedy gold in this screenshot (contains swearing so I won't re-type it out, but click the image to see it!)

Get the f***ing tape measure out
As it turns out, none of the photos or video of the Vega+ materialise, and it seems that pulling out a ruler to measure the dimensions of the Vega+ is just too difficult for Suzanne Martin.

Suzanne Martin then posts the following about another delay while they give the video "Hollywood" treatment:

We have just up loaded some footage to edit.... this will take time. Our Vega+ babies look great... but please give us a chance to give them the Hollywood treatment they deserve...

Suzanne replies to a couple of people saying she "will keep you informed" and "will update you later" and doesn't. I've included a huge screenshot here of this latest mess, but some of the more amusing responses from frustrated forum members to this latest delay are:

  • Probably would be better to upload after editing, I know that my editing software is a bit sluggish trying to reference HD footage across a network connection. I find editing it all locally first is a lot easier.
  • Hollywood treatment? That's brilliant. I'm super excited for the video. Are you gonna open the video with a nice slow motion pan shot? That would be the bees knees
  • Wonder if the extra time is being taken up constructing a bullet time camera.
  • The longer the wait, the better the video!
  • Am I dreaming or do posts keep vanishing. It sure ain't Memorex on this Facebook thing.

Suzanne video editing, wait for Hollywood treatment
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Thursday 16th March, 2017

An article by Gareth Corfield appears in The Register titled Why is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ project so delayed?

In the article, Suzanne Martin denied that the £500,000 from backers had been spent on legal fees, and said that the money had instead been spent on "starting from scratch".

Also in the article, Lee Fogarty is named as part of RCL. The article says, "Speaking on behalf of RCL, Fogarty, has since posted pictures of what he said is a Vega+ onto the company website."

Fogarty on behalf of RCL

Lee Fogarty complains on World of Spectrum that Gareth's article is biased as he supposedly spent a week with Paul Andrews researching the story, and only a couple of 30 second calls with RCL. Gareth shoots this down with the following tweet:

Photo of ZX Vega units (3 in boxes) are finally shown.

The video is finally put online, but after all the delays and hype about giving it the "Hollywood treatment", all it shows are the scuffed prototype units that were manufactured several weeks ago. There are suspicious fades, no boot-up process, the button presses seem to require a huge amount of force and even then do not seem to match what's happening on the screen. One of the units that is shown turned on seems to have developed dead pixels already. These are clearly not the finished units.

The "Arrow certification" that has been present since the 15th of October is revoked.

20170316_arrow_certification_revoked.png

Preston absolutely loses his rag and posts a blog article on his website spectrum4ever called Vega+ News - Mic Drop. He proceeds to call people that have expressed concern about the Vega+ project as "fuckwits", and another is an "asshole mouthing off like a 2p whore doing blowjobs all day on Indiegogo". The backlash from the community is swift and brutal, and he deletes his entire website within 24 hours. The original article was captured before the site was deleted.

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Friday 17th March, 2017

RCL date RCL publish "Just a pile of Vega+'s..." Been hanging out with these beauties...

An article is published by Connor called Crowdfunding Fraudsters: The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+

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Saturday 18th March, 2017

Four days after Suzanne Martin promised the dimensions of the Vega+ (and failed to deliver), Mat Recardo posts an image with his estimates:

20170318_guessed_dimensions_of_vega.jpgMat calculated the dimensions based on the size of the USB ports. Suzanne was either too lazy or incompetent to pull out a ruler and measure them herself, and only after Mat supplied the figures did she post to say they were correct. She then asks for permission to use the image herself, but the information is not dispersed to the 4780 backers that might also be interested. If you were not looking in the "democracy" Facebook group, you would not even know about this. (Some people speculate that RCL do not want to give any specific details because if they differ in the final product, they could be pulled up on this. Hence they specialise in vague information).

Guessed dimensions of the Vega+

Somebody else asks how much the Vega+ will cost, and James Waller confirms that the price was £129.99 on the RCL website before it was pulled. Lee Fogarty pipes up to say that "the site was not pulled and the store was in testing and never public!" An awful lot of people seem to have seen the store that supposedly wasn't there. In good old fashioned RCL tradition, Lee finishes saying that the store is coming soon.

Price of the Vega+ before being pulled
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Monday 20th March, 2017

RCL regurgitate last weeks video footage and release a second video called "Vega Loading Screens and Music" that shows pretty much nothing that hasn't been seen already. Three Vega+ units are seen already turned on - one appears to be working properly, one has developed dead pixels, and one seems to have crashed on a white screen. Like the previous video, the button presses do not seem to match up with what is happening on the screen. There are multiple fades to black whenever you would expect to see something interesting such as navigating a menu or loading a game.

CEO Janko Mrsic-Flogal (CEO of Planet Computers and one of the directors of RCL) releases an update to the Gemini PDA Indiegogo campaign. He takes the unusual step of clarifying that backers are donating to the project, and that there is no guarantee of a product. This seems very strange considering the campaign is still acquiring funds!

"We just wanted to remind our backers that under Indiegogo's Terms, all contributions are donations to help us create the Gemini PDA keyboard mobile device, and not purchases where you're guaranteed to receive an item. We have every intention of sending your perks out to you, but like many crowdfunding campaigns there might be some bumps along the way."

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Tuesday 21st March, 2017

A concerned backer asks about blue marks on the inside of one of the boxes that the blue Vega+ shell has been stuffed into. In the photo, the box insert has been hacked with a craft knife to make it bigger, and looks like it contains blue smudge marks. Suzanne Martin is on Facebook during work time and posts a sarcastic comment about it.

Suzanne Martin replies, "no that is a photoshopped blue line - well done for spotting it"

20170321_suzanne_photoshopped_blue_line.jpg
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Thursday 23rd March, 2017

Lee Fogarty leaks a PDF file he created called creepy.pdf which is full of paranoia, photos of motorway sliproad signs and nonsense claims. According to the file properties, it was converted to a PDF on Tuesday 24th January, 2017.

Creepy.pdf properties

One of the most interesting claims by Lee Fogarty is the following on page 5 of 7:

"In the summer of 2016, Deidre Harris was showing an interest in the Vega+ on facebook, and claimed to be a backer. She then sent a friend request to myself to initially question the product. It quickly became clear that she is a call-girl as the email address she registered with is also her log-in to several escort sites."

The immediate question that springs to mind is how on earth would Lee Fogarty know that the email address is a login to several escort sites? Which escort sites? Would you care to tell us how you know all this Lee? You seem to know an awful lot for someone that supposedly only hosts the website.

RCL post Well we have some really positive news... on their website. The article claims they've been overwhelmed with offers for games, but they're reaching out for more games. They also state "We’ll have games details coming soon too….. stay tuned". In other words, they're nowhere near the 1000 games mark and to keep waiting. Hardly what I would call "really positive news" then, more like another empty update.

RCL have no time to respond to backers refund requests, product specifics, emails etc, but find time to post a response called Gareth Corfield of The Register published an “investigation” into the Vega+ crowdfunding campaign, desperately trying to discredit him. Despite treating the backers like dirt, they claim "Our sole mission is a happy backer - so with that in mind, your support means more than you know."

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Friday 24th March, 2017

Gareth Corfield asks for backers that have been refused refunds to contact him in confidence.

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Saturday 25th March, 2017

Paul Andrews releases a statement that backs up Gareth's article saying that it's all supported by facts.

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Tuesday 28th March, 2017

Gareth Corfield contacts RCL giving them warning about an article he is about to publish:

Hi Lee
A number of Vega+ backers have contacted me saying they have been waiting, in some cases, months for refunds despite repeated requests. They have shown me evidence of these repeated requests; copies of messages sent to you that they say have gone unanswered. Is RCL ignoring or withholding refunds from Vega+ backers who ask for them? Why are backers going for months with repeated messages to you not being answered? I intend to publish at 1245 today. Your response, as the RCL company spokesman, would be appreciated before then.

Lee posts a rather abusive message back to Gareth, but as courtesy Gareth delays publishing the article a day to allow RCL time to respond. As is the case when the media are about to publish an article about RCL, there is a flurry of activity, and today is no exception. Suzanne Martin rushes to the Indiegogo comments page, not to acknowledge anybody that has asked for a refund, but merely to fob them off.

Suzanne replies to a backer asking about their refund and posts "We haven't refused - but this isn't the place to request a refund. If you have requested a refund through the legitimate channels we are working our way through those."

We have not refused a refund

Suzanne claims "We have nearly 20k worth of spammed emails from the last 21 days - we are very small team and we will get to people. We are just working our way through them to respond to people with genuine concerns." If Suzanne has been able to identify 20,000 emails as spam, why can she not just delete them? Or is it possibly because RCL are classing refund requests as spam?

20,000 spammed emailsAn ex-backer points out that there is a disparity between the number of comments shown on the phone app and the website. It appears that 2172 comments are missing. Suzanne Martin avoids answering his question (probably because she has admitted to deleting comments in an article in the Inquirer) but instead claims that he is being asked to post comments by Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne.

2172 comments deleted

Suzanne Martin posts on the "democracy" Facebook group saying that within 14 days (Tuesday 11th of April), RCL will have worked through their backlog of emails, including the spam and refund requests. If you have requested your refund request by email, you should have your refund within 2 weeks.

"We posted earlier today about several of our email accounts being spammed - We are working through them and estimate this will take up to 14 days. For those saying we should just delete those messages - that isn't an option."

Another backer posts a comment on the Indiegogo page to confirm that RCL are lying about refusing refund requests. The person had emailed them multiple times without any acknowledgement. They paid by Paypal and went through the resolution centre. Paypal contacted RCL who refused the refund.

RCL refused to refund a PayPal backer

Lee Fogarty posts absolute nonsense about a plan by the former directors to bankrupt the company, but ends by saying it is all guess work on his behalf.

Lee Fogarty guess work of a bankruptcy plan (part 1)
Lee Fogarty guess work of a bankruptcy plan (part 2)
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Wednesday 29th March, 2017

Gareth Corfield publishes a follow-up article on The Register called ZX Spectrum Vega Plus backers complain of months-long refund delays. The article goes into detail about a large number of people that have been ignored regarding refunds. We learn that Lee Fogarty had asked to be attributed to "an RCL spokesman" in the previous article, and denies that he works for RCL. The article was delayed by a day to give RCL time to respond, which they failed to do. From the article:

We asked a company spokesman for comment. That person had previously given The Register a half-hour interview on 9 March this year, in which they asked not to be named and for their comments to be attributed to "an RCL spokesman". Their full response to our latest request for comment on the delays in refunds and poor communication with backers was: Another 'fact check' Gareth? As you well know, I am not employed by RCL nor am their official spokesman, and I don't receive emails or any correspondence for RCL. Do some homework ffs.

RCL release update #56 on the Indiegogo campaign showing a preview of the proposed Vega+ box design, and a couple of bizarre photos of a monitor showing a sleeve design for the box:

Boxing Clever... So here we go.....first preview of the proposed Vega+ box design. We have tried to stay true to the original "Speccy" designs principles and we hope you like it. We plan to make the box a similar size to an iPhone7 Plus box and the reverse will feature a quick start guide.

Update 56 proposed box design

A backer posts "My only question is that how was the vega going to be delivered previously promised on 22nd Feb if the boxes weren't even a twinkle in a graphic designers eye?" Suzanne Martin replies "We have had the box design(s) for months."

Chris Matthews posts on the "democracy" Facebook page, suggesting that the image of the Vega+ is such low quality that the graphic designer should be sacked. He suggests that it must be a mockup only and that they must have a finalised version to show. Chris also points out that there is an on-screen tell indicating that RCL are not using a genuine version of Adobe Illustrator. Suzanne re-iterates that the design "was finalised months ago". (As is standard in the "democracy" group, this post has since been deleted):

20170329_package_production_finalised_months_ago.jpg

The entire box design looks like it's been cobbled together in 10 minutes or so, and a lot of people immediately spot a major problem with this design. See if you can spot it on this close up:

A close up of the Vega+ on the box featuring JetpacThe box design that has supposedly been ready for months happens to be using a watermarked screenshot of Jetpac ripped from the website classic-retro-games.com:

Jetpac screenshot ripped from www.classic-retro-games.com

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Thursday 30th March, 2017

Vicki Leeming (who was one of the people mentioned prominently in Gareth's article from yesterday) is finally contacted and refunded by RCL. 2 others that have been vocal in the comments section of the Indiegogo page are also refunded. The backers count drops by 3 to 4771, and the funds raised drops down to £512,690.

RCL prove they cannot even check the most basic of facts before posting nonsense on the Indiegogo campaign. In a reply, RCL write:

"Almost everyone posting negative comments here on a daily basis or in the closed Vega Plus Group set up by Richard Ratcliffe and George/Jamie Cropper have never been backers or they have already had a refund. Richard Ratcliffe is posting here on Paul Andrews orders. We have screen grabs to prove this...."

Wrong Facebook group creator
There's 4 mistakes/lies in their post, which goes to show how little attention/fact checking they do. Anyone posting on Indiegogo must have been a backer at some point, as only backers can post. The people posting what RCL call "negative comments" (asking for refunds, asking for updates, asking for the truth) are mainly wanting refunds!

The second mistake is who set the group up - it was me, on February 9th!

Ian Lightbody created the Facebook group
Next up, they say it was setup by Richard Ratcliffe and George/Jamie Cropper. George Cropper and Jamie Ball are 2 different people, yet RCL think they are 1 person!

Their final lie is that Richard Ratcliffe is taking orders from Paul Andrews regarding posting. The truth is that Suzanne Martin keeps switching the campaign owner back to Paul Andrews so that if anyone on the Indiegogo campaign has a complaint, they are shown his name as the project creator. As Paul Andrews is not a backer, he has no ability to reply on the campaign. Here is the actual message Paul posted, directed at any backer that read the message:

I would be grateful if any of you could occasionally write in the comments section on indiegogo that I am not the campaign owner to flag this to other backers.
We first noticed over Xmas 2016 that strangely my name had appeared as the campaign owner. Our lawyers wrote to indiegogo and 'someone' changed it to the real owner of the campaign and the person who has controlled the RCL bank account since we left back in April 2016. That name being Suzanne Martin.
Once more for clarity myself and Chris left before ANY of the Vega Plus backers funds hit the RCL accounts.
We noticed about a month ago that strangely enough my name had replaced that of Suzanne Martin (again) but this time all in capitals. We have sent many lawyers letters to Indiegogo and will continue to do so of course. Indiegogo as you all know are not very responsive but we will persist maybe using USA lawyers if need be.
Putting my name on the campaign as the owner does not mean I am legally responsible, whoever had the money is, but to use Levys words back on him, 'you would have to ask them why they would do such a thing.'
So as above I would be grateful if at intervals on that comment section backers are reminded who has had their money and who is responsible and answerable to them both morally and legally.
Thank you.

Lee Fogarty claims that the Nick Roper shilling fiasco from January was caused by him putting his (20 year deceased) mate's name in but pulling out when he saw the campaign owner. According to Lee, when he decided to back the Vega+, Nick Roper's name magically appeared. Here's his post:

@Daniel. I registered on indiegogo for the FIRST campaign. It was my understanding the role of honour was for the registered name. I put my mates in. I then saw the name of the campaign owner, and knowing his history decided not to back it. I have backed the Vega+, and made ONE comment - someone asked for a video - before realising it was the same name and immediately changed it. It was screenshotted within a minute and since then his daughter has been hounded off fb. But you knew that anyway…

Nick Roper's daughter hounded off Facebook

There's 2 huge problems with Lee's version of events:

  1. The screenshot showing "Nick Roper" as the author was captured 20 hours after Lee posted it, and a short time after that, Lee realised his shilling was exposed and changed the name. I would not say that "20 hours later" is "immediately changing it".
  2. Assuming anybody actually believes that Nick Roper existed, Lee has never mentioned the name of Nick's daughter. Nick Roper has only been ever mentioned in 10 comments on Indiegogo (over the last 3 months, up until today 30th March 2017). Lee would have people believe that backers somehow tracked down this unnamed daughter down and hounded her so much that she shut down her Facebook account! It's absolutely preposterous, and also a complete 180 degree U-turn on his other version - that she happened to be reading the Indiegogo comments when she saw her Dad's name being dragged through the mud and shut down her account. It's all very convenient for Lee that Nick Roper is now 6 feet under pushing up the daisies and his daughter has shut down her social media account.
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Friday 31st March, 2017

Yet another deadline missed with complete radio silence. David Levy's statement on Friday 10th March, 2017 saying that they "expect it to take a few weeks before they will be ready to ship the first units" ran out today 31st March, 2017.

SMS Electronics may not find this quite so amusing, but somebody managed to link a joke photo of the Vega+ to the SMS Google Maps entry. The fake Vega+ unit appears as the cover photo for some viewers!

Fake Vega+ console as the cover photo for SMS Electronics
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Sunday 2nd April, 2017

The Daily Mail publishes an article called Clive Sinclair, 76, ditches lap dancer wife 36 years his junior - and rekindles his romance with his 69-year-old former secretary.

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Monday 3rd April, 2017

The number of comments visible on the campaign varies wildly depending on the device you are using. As of 6:35pm today 3rd April 2017, the Indiegogo phone app shows 8180 comments, while the website comments section shows 7261 - a difference of 919. Where have the missing 919 comments gone?

8180 comments on the Indiegogo phone app

7261 comments on the Indiegogo comments webpage
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Friday 7th April, 2017

After multiple attempts, Lee Fogarty eventually manages to release a 20 second video showing the Vega+ being turned on (click the link to download it) and a static photo.

Vega+ on Lee's carpet

The video is extremely low resolution, and after pressing the power button, it takes approximately 10 seconds to boot to the Retro Computers logo, then another 8 seconds to bring up the first menu. Due to the low resolution, the menu text can not be made out, but Lee says this is a deliberate ploy to prevent the games list being exposed.

Cannot show the games list

Several people post on Indiegogo and point out that the video has only been uploaded to the sycophant "democracy" group where a couple of hundred people can view it, rather than a proper update for the 4770 backers. Lee replies:

@alasdaircat - no it’s not the same thing, and I haven’t published any data. I posted a video. And I did check what can & can’t be posted, which is common knowledge anyway - no video of the games list. But you’re probably right, so no more videos from me.

Should 3rd parties be sharing videos?
Lee also posts the dimensions in the same "democracy" Facebook group. The unofficial dimensions mentioned in that group so far are:
  • 160 x 78 x 22mm (estimated by Mat Recardo and confirmed as correct by Suzanne Martin on 18/04/2017)
  • 153 x 74 x 21mm (estimated by Mat Recardo, Suzanne confirmed as incorrect on 18/04/2017)
  • 155 x 75 x 20mm (measured by Lee Fogarty today 07/04/2017, almost identical to Mat's supposedly incorrect guess)
  • 160 x 80 x 20mm (according to Suzanne Martin today 07/04/2017)

Various measurements

George releases a response video to today's boot-up video called The Vega+ - Can people just get refunds now?

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Saturday 8th April, 2017

At the Dizzy 30th Anniversary celebration, Lee Fogarty turns up with some of the prototype Vega+ units. In a live video recording of the event, it shows Lee interrupting the Oliver Twins just as they are about to begin:

Lee interrupting the Oliver Twins with a bag at Dizzy's 30th event

At one stage one of the units is left unattended, and Will Woodvine and Ant Harper take photos and a video of it. Will Woodvine posts the following review in the Spectrum for Everyone Facebook group:

Will plays with a Vega+

Disclosure: I backed the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign but requested and received a refund over the Christmas period. I asked for a refund due to what I perceive to be the appalling lack of information provided to backers.

The opinion below is my own and is not influenced by inducement or coercion by any parties. It is written as a fan of the ZX Spectrum. I attended the Dizzy event with no knowledge that the Vega+ would be present, so was unprepared.

Like any true retro-gaming fan I spent today, the sunniest and warmest of the year, in a darkened room with no windows looking at computer games. The event was the Dizzy 30th anniversary in Nottingham. This took the form of a presentation by the Oliver Twins which covered their early years, mentioned the ZX81 (huzzah!) and gave me a greater insight in to the Dizzy world.

At the start of the presentation a gentleman (who I think was Lee Fogarty) came down to the front and handed one of the Twins a white box. Inside was a Vega+. This was shown to the crowd, causing a slight stirring, and then placed on the podium. At the end presentation the Vega+ was left unattended so I took the opportunity to grab it and have a close look. At no time was there any interference from anyone or any attempt made to stop me from using it or Ant Harper, Simon Williams or Simon Osborne from using, photographing or videoing the device.

I believe the device to be the pre-production device that has been seen previously.

Physical: The device feels good in the hands, fitting well - I have medium sized hands. Stuart Williams has a photo of the Vega+ lying on a rubber-key ZX Spectrum also pics of the intefaces on the top.. I gave the unit a torsional twist and the unit did not flex, which reinforced the positive feel of the device. The screen is bright and clear, easily read by someone who normally needs glasses to read and wasn’t reading them. The buttons were an issue being unresponsive - you have to press them precisely for them to react. This maybe the “switch re-design” referred to by RCL. Simon Osborne has reported that he used a corrected production unit and the buttons were much more responsive. The spectrum flash is a sticker (peeling now) and the Sinclair logo feels raised on the clear plastic covering the screen and lower-middle section. My personal opinion is that these would look better and be harder wearing if they were under the clear plastic. The video showing me using the Vega+ does show me pressing keys with no response - this is down to the unresponsiveness issue mentioned above and also not knowing what key does what during game selection, start and play.

Use: The Vega+ was turned on when I picked it up. By accessing the menu, it can be switched off. Doing so caused slight concern as I could not figure how to turn it on (no user manual was present) - I also feared being cited by RCL as cause for further delays by breaking the working pre-prod unit. The unit turned on by pressing a key on the front (possibly two) which caused the boot sequence seen in the video. This was repeated several times through use of the reset key (top left of the unit). Several games were tried - Alien Destroyer, Hall of the Things, Jetpac and The Boggit. All loaded fine and played except The Boggit - is seemed stuck in a tape loading loop. There appeared to be many no-name games on there, plenty known and some randoms such as a Driving Test thing? It does feel very similar to fuse, as you would expect, albeit with custom menus suited to the Vega+

Opinion - I was impressed, although it was obviously a pre-production unit. For me, the buttons need sorting and to make it a truly superb product, the Sinclair logo and Spectrum flash need to be rethought to be robust.

I’ve no idea why/who/when the Vega+ is released, I’m just a bloke who was in the right place at the right time. Apologies for the grammar/spellings, I banged this out quickly.

It speaks volumes for the contempt RCL seems to have for their backers that a completely independent person is able to record and upload a video of one of the prototype Vega+ units booting up, navigating the games menu, selecting a game and playing it. Backers have been asking for this for more than 6 months, and someone recording it on their phone can upload it within a few hours!

Darren Melbourne's request that RCL remove the game Hades Nebula from the Vega+ was posted in a news update on the RCL website on November 2nd 2016, yet the video footage from the Dizzy 30th event shows the games list and Hades Nebula is still present.

Hades Nebula still on the Vega+

In the Spectrum4Ever Facebook group, Suzanne Martin confirms that the Vega+ is not yet in production when she uses the future tense "it will" for her response.

Chris: Is it a prototype Jarrod or does it work?
Suzanne Martin: It works :)
Paul: It's probably one of the working prototypes - looks bigger than I thought as well, hope it goes into production
Suzanne Martin: It will....

Hope it goes into production. It will....
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Sunday 9th April, 2017

The Daily Mail uploads a follow up article called The desperately frail millionaire, his jealous ex and a VERY unladlylike war that left Sir Clive Sinclair's pole-dancer wife pole-axed.

A video showing Crystal Kingdom Dizzy game played off the SD card on one of the pre-production Vega+ consoles is uploaded, and re-posted on YouTube. The video is called A quick play with the ZX Vega plus.

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Monday 10th April, 2017

Lee Fogarty argues with various people on the Indiegogo comments section when they ask what is going on, and why is he all over social media gloating about "his" Vega+. Lee claims that launch party attendees were getting the pre-production units and that Suzanne Martin was at the event:

Lee Fogarty
Someones a bit sweary this morning! It was well known that launch party attendees were getting the pre-production units. Several of those members were handed units at the weekend and have been extensively testing them since. They were also shown to other backers that happened to be at the event, some of which have reported on them. And they are sending feedback too. BTW - Suzanne was also at the event with the coloured units.

And of the c**** that received theirs on Saturday, you have two veteran developers that played some older titles, one veteran/current developer that play a hell of a lot of spectrum games, probably the most prolific spectrum developer that is still writing now, a blogger that knows the spectrum inside out, and the owner of World of Spectrum. On display for anyone to use unrestricted were the version with the button issue and the version that was fixed. Some got to photograph the coloured units.The coloured units were played with. There were several bloggers there that had unrestricted access to the units and left to do or write whatever they want. There was a lot of smiling people by then end.

Suzanne was at the Dizzy 30th event

When asked for evidence that Suzanne Martin was there, Lee avoids answering the question. There seems to be no evidence that anyone from RCL other than spokesman Lee Fogarty was there:

rratcliffe
@Lee Fogarty - Any chance of posting a photo of Suzanne there with a ZX Vega+ on Saturday? You know, to show the appreciation of your generous backers and to show them that they still matter?

Lee Fogarty
@Federico - no - there was the Dizzy 30th event on Saturday and several of the original launch party backers were there, so they got the promised pre-production units. The rest are being posted. In the meantime, they have played the hell out of them and sent reports to RCL - and some to me for comments - and kindly handed their units to anyone that wanted to see them on the day. There was an ex indiegogo backer there that has posted videos and an unbiased review online.

Proof Suzanne was at the Dizzy 30th event please

It seems awfully strange that if Suzanne Martin was at the event, why did she not hand out the Vega+ pre-production models to the Oliver Twins? Why would RCL delegate this particular task to an RCL spokesman that claims he doesn't work for the company? Moments after this, Lee disappears and non-backer James Waller appears (right on schedule) to start his daily ritual of defending and supporting RCL.

I asked the Oliver Twins if Suzanne Martin was at the event. Their reply confirms they did not see her, only Lee Fogarty:

"I heard she was planning on being there... but it was so busy and so many people I (Philip) didn't personally see or talk to her. Lee obviously was there."

Oliver Twins did not see Suzanne Martin at the Dizzy 30th event
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Tuesday 11th April, 2017

RCL had targetted today as the day to have gotten through all their emails and processed all refunds. Suzanne Martin said the following on Tuesday 28th March, 2017:

"We posted earlier today about several of our email accounts being spammed - We are working through them and estimate this will take up to 14 days. For those saying we should just delete those messages - that isn't an option."

RCL have ignored all communication channels, so there are no updates and no refunds as promised.

Two generous backers that have had repeated refund requests ignored post comments on Indiegogo to say that they will donate their entire pledge to charity:

Graham Kenny
@Rcl Hello there. Isn’t it a lovely day…isn’t it?! The Sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Why the only thing that could make this day any better would be getting a refund. Think about it, it's a great idea, you know it, I know it, James Waller definitely knows it... its all gravy baby! And... wait for it... if you refund me I’ll even donate the money to Great Ormonde Street Hospital! I cant be any fairer than that. My order ID is 6010.

Tony Ball
@RCL – I have requested on many occasions that I want refund. I see Graham has made a generous offer of donating his refund and, as this is not about the money for myself, I shall too offer to donate my £105 to charity. In my case I would donate it to Guide Dogs for the Blind and I am happy to provide proof of such donation once refund has been confirmed. My order ID is 2109 – please contact me to arrange.

Offer to donate pledges to charity

Richard Ratcliffe asks Indiegogo to confirm who is responsible for deleting comments on the Indiegogo campaigns. Brian from Indiegogo replies:

"Campaigners are solely responsible for managing the comments on their campaigns."

Who is responsible for deleting comments

The accounts for RCL are now more than a month overdue (having already been granted a 3 month extension in December), so they now fall into the £375 fine category.

Penalties for late filing
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Wednesday 12th April, 2017

The store on the RCL website was re-activated today, and the Vega+ is now available for pre-order for £129.99. Strangely enough, the shop claims that it is currently "in stock" and the units will be shipped in Summer 2017. Summer in the UK is considered the 3 month period from June to August, so they will probably intend to ship on August 31st, 2017:

Vega+ shipping in summer 2017

Rather worringly, the battery specification has yet to be finalised, so presumably RCL have not even ordered the batteries for the 4770 units that David Levy had said were going to ship "in a few weeks" more than a month ago on the 10th of March, 2017:

Battery specification not finalised

The "Store Dummies" payment option from shop earlier in the year has been removed, and the only payment option is now PayPal. The previous iteration of the store had a £5 shipping charge, but this has been reduced to 1p.

The form to buy a Vega+ does not perform basic email address validation, so a completely bogus value like "a" will be accepted. All the address fields can also be bypassed with a single character. Even more concerning is when purchasing in bulk, the total doesn't make sense - the total is always £130 (including shipping) no matter how many Vega+s you order. If you order more than 13,000 in a single transaction, they will cost less than 1 pence per unit. Perhaps Lee has studied some alternative mathematics course that I'm not aware of:

Unconventional maths in the store

Many people had wondered why Preston Thomas and his wife Tamara (both non-backers of the Vega+) were so vocally supportive of RCL in spite of the shambles the campaign has been, and in a thread on the new Spectrum35 Facebook group it suddenly became clear why. While Preston and George were having a heated discussion about a possible charity boxing match at the Spectrum 35th event, Preston admitted that he was going to be a tester for the Vega+. The vital part of the conversation was:

Preston Thomas: you spread lies about me getting a vega +
Preston Thomas: i was going to be a tester but it never happend
George Cropper: so, Preston, tell us some more about this vega+ testing unit you were going to be getting ?

After George called him out on the Vega+ testing unit, Preston suddenly stopped replying. Preston sent Lee Fogarty and Jim Bagley private messages during the conversation, and accidentally posted these on the screen dumps he uploaded. After posting links to the rival The64 campaign, he tried to warn Lee and wrote:

Preston Thomas to Lee Fogarty:
why is george and ian in your group ?
lee this is really kicking off

Why is George and Ian in your group? Lee this is really kicking off

About 15 minutes later, the entire thread was deleted, but not before it was captured:

Ppreston was going to test a Vega+ unit

Reporter Gareth Corfield tweets to say that David Levy's email address is now bouncing. I'm no Nostradamus, but one can assume that if Gareth is contacting RCL, another article will be published in the Register over the next few days and therefore RCL will be scrambling to put out another nano-update to the backers or at least answer a few questions on the Indiegogo campaign. 

Later in the day, Lee Fogarty realises his broken store on the RCL website gives the impression that it must be "amateur hour". Rather than fix the calculation, Lee takes the store down. The store has now been put online, then subsequently taken down twice in the last couple of months. Third time's a charm perhaps?

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Thursday 13th April, 2017

For the third time, the store is put online. The shipping charge has increased from 1p up to £5, but the usual lack of attention to detail is evident. There are 2 spelling mistakes on the buttons, and you would think a world class developer would easily be able to alter the total in the shopping cart with javascript without having to press the Update Cart button. You can type a single character into all the boxes and it happily accepts it.

Store spelling mistakes

Lee Fogarty must fancy himself as a betting man, as he uses the "bob each way" methodology. If you write something down enough times, eventually one of them must be spelt correctly:

Order cancelled

Would you really trust your personal details to a company that can't even spell the most basic words correctly?

Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register titled ZX Spectrum reboot project's Great Ormond Street charity cash questions. The article suggests a £20,000 donation was received, but sales suggest more was due. An excerpt from the article:

Tens of thousands of pounds destined for Great Ormond Street Hospital from ZX Spectrum Vega firm Retro Computers Limited appears not to have been paid.

Retro Computers Limited (RCL) had promised to pay 10 per cent from proceeds of sales of its Vega console to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, England, under the terms of its licensing agreement with the owners of games bundled with the machine.

RCL did pay £20,000 to GOSH on sales of an initial 4,000 units but proceeds from the apparent sale of a remaining 6,500 devices were not made to the charity.

“I can confirm that we received donations totaling £20,000 from Retro Computers Ltd between March 2015 – October 2016,” a GOSH spokeswoman told El Reg. She confirmed no more donations were received after October 2016.

As I correctly predicted yesterday, David Levy has broken weeks of radio silence and issued a typical response on the RCL website claiming the information on which The Register article is based is out of date.

Someone at RCL has been busy deleting comments on their Facebook page relating to the story.

A new website address post is added to the RCL Facebook page, pointing towards their store page.

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Friday 14th April, 2017

A "shop launch offer" is added to the RCL website, offering a Vega and Vega+ for £199.99. The teaser text only mentions the Vega and "this item will ship in 3-5 days", and it's only when you follow the read more link and scroll down that you see that it's still the same old pre-order as before - with the Vega+ shipping "Summer 2017". One hopes that RCL mean the UK summer and not New Zealand summer (which would mean shipping December 2017).

Shop launch offer
The more cynical readers of this blog may see this as a desperate cash grab to get enough money to produce the Vega+ consoles, and it is no doubt a wiser investment to hold off until the console is actually produced before parting with your hard earned cash. For anyone wishing to invest with this company, I would advise you to try and contact them before purchasing and see how open their communication channels are, otherwise you may end up with a single £199.99 Vega console for your troubles.

On the comments section of Gareth Corfield's latest article, someone posts that 8-year old Amelia Russell Green (a cancer sufferer) was promised one of the developer units, but has literally died waiting for it to arrive. Instead Lee Fogarty used one of those prototype units to gatecrash the Oliver Twins Dizzy's birthday event. A snippet from the post:

I'm even more disappointed that we were promised 1 of the 5 developer units to aid a girl with cancer, we still haven't received it over 6 months later and it only supposedly needed a button changing. She's fkin dead now so that worked out splendid.

Sick of the mud slinging

The Retro Hour release podcast number 66, which features the Vega+. Host Ravi attended the Dizzy 30th event and had a play on one of the prototype Vega+ units. The Vega+ section starts at 14:44 in the podcast. A few points from the podcast:

  • Ravi confirms that nobody from RCL was at the event. This is the complete opposite to what Lee Fogarty said, as Lee claimed that "Suzanne Martin was at the event" in a post on Monday 10th April. (Ravi must be under the impression that RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty is not an actual employee).
  • Ravi was instructed not to take photos of the games list because it was confidential.
  • The device he tried out was definitely a prototype unit, and featured unresponsive buttons.
  • There were 4 or 5 Vega+ prototypes at the event.

Meanwhile on the "democracy" group, one-time RCL advocate Dave Barron posted a question for Suzanne Martin, asking for a truthful update of the product. (Dave had been skating on thin ice the day before when he posted a comment suggesting "RCL will fall by the wayside"). The moderators swooped in to prevent any further commenting on the thread, so Dave started another thread simply saying "Refund please". A moderator wrote "Bye bye Dave", deleted both threads and banned Dave from the group. There is no screenshot of the final act unfortunately as my browser refreshed the page as I was about to grab it - you have to be very quick in that group as posts vanish faster than a David Copperfield magic show. Kim Jong-Un would have been proud to witness this style of democracy in action! :)

Dave Barron skating on thin ice
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Saturday 15th April, 2017

More bugs found in PHP developer Lee Fogarty's RCL store. It is currently impossible to remove any products from the shopping cart with the trashcan icon. Step 1: Add some stuff to your shopping cart:

Shopping cart with 3 different products

Step 2: Press the trashcan icon beside each row so that your shopping cart "appears" to be empty:

Shopping cart appears to be empty

Step 3: Press the Update cart button. Note that all the products are still in it. So the Update Cart button is broken, but perhaps the Go to Checkout button works. If you press that, you end up on the final checkout screen:

Shopping cart still full
But once again, all the products are still in the cart. Does anyone at RCL test anything? Children found button issues in November, nobody noticed the packaging designs used a watermarked image, three user features were found to be missing in March, and the third version of the store still contains bugs!

Despite RCL having well over 100 refund requests outstanding, owing Paul Andrews over £80,000 (as part of the court settlement) and having failed to pay funds owed to Great Ormond Street Hospital, RCL apparently have funds available to setup Facebook advertising campaigns to presell consoles:

RCL are now paying for Facebook ads
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Sunday 16th April, 2017

Newspaper article reports that Lady Sinclair has been gagged by court leaving her unable to fight claims that she abused her frail billionaire ex-husband Sir Clive Sinclair.

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Monday 17th April, 2017

A question sent to Indiegogo asking about the campaign received a generic reply, but at the bottom of the response it shows Paul Andrews as the campaign owner.

Paul Andrews name restored as campaign owner

Paul Andrews has contacted Indiegogo multiple times to have his name removed, and back on February 3rd the name shown was Suzanne Martin. For some reason, Suzanne Martin keeps restoring Paul Andrew's name as the campaign owner.

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Tuesday 18th April, 2017

The accounts for four companies run by the RCL directors (Retro Computers Ltd, Erotic Chatbots Ltd, Intelligent Toys Ltd, Private Planet Ltd) have accounts overdue and fines, and several will be struck off (and all assets returned to the crown) if they are not submitted soon:

Overdue accounts for Retro Computers Ltd
Overdue accounts for Erotic Chatbots Ltd
Overdue accounts for Intelligent Toys Ltd
Overdue accounts for Private Planet Ltd
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Wednesday 19th April, 2017

Gareth Corfield releases an article Game authors demand missing ZX Spectrum reboot royalties on The Register. The article states that many games rights holders (including Mark Cale/System 3) have had their software used without permission, they have not received any royalty statements to prove charity donations were handed over, and there are a string of broken promises by Suzanne Martin to supply documentation. David Levy (director of RCL) continues to blame the former director Paul Andrews, who left the company more than a year ago! RCL also continue to insist they never refuse a refund request - another obvious lie.

All too predictably after media coverage, Lee Fogarty publishes a statement by David Levy claiming the article is another fake "news story", blames Paul Andrews for any problems with the rights to games, and that the former directors are trying to damage "a great project":

We are aware that a number of known associates of the former Managing Director Paul Andrews and his business partner Darren Melbourne have been in touch with another fake "news story". Yet again, The Register is simply being used by Mr Andrews and Mr Melbourne in another attempt to damage a great project.

Lee Fogarty also claims (with absolutely no evidence to back up his claims) that Paul Andrews, Chris Smith and Darren Melbourne have been modifying documents and posting them online:

Would you work with Andrews/Melbourne/Smith knowing a disagreement leads to emails, accounts, etc being modified and posted online? Also, why didn't Gareth name the other developer? Everyone knows its Mel Croucher (currently raised £936 on Indiegogo with Andrews)

Lee Fogarty claims former directors are modifying documents and posting online

Lee Fogarty's post states that Mel Croucher was the other developer and has also pulled his games from the Vega+. Lee has failed to mention how a lowly website operator knows all this insider information.

In response to David Levy, Paul Andrews wrote the following:

Dear Mr Levy,
Thank you for your statement today on the website that you seem to forget is the company website that myself and Chris own half of. In response to your statement full of misinformation and nonsense, don't worry tomorrow when it's all to hand tomorrow, I will post a nice selection of your emails for the world to see, just to help them understand how you must have forgotten you sent them, and what's in them.
For example, the one when you replied to Mark Cale saying YOU had sent him the letters to his house but he never replied for instance. The many many emails about how you acquired the Rare games from Microsoft. The ones about you setting up the deals for the Spanish games, I could go on and on, and tomorrow I will of course, but you get the idea.
Then we can move onto the ones about how you wrote the games contracts, you know the one which was used for all the games, the one with the digital watermark with your name and computer software details, you know word register to mind sports ltd, that one. Then we can move onto how in that contract you wrote, it got a bit mixed up, and net and gross income got muddled which made our lives so much harder. Then in that same thread your suggestion which I rejected on how to alter things, that's tomorrow.
Then the emails about how you confirmed your agreement for Cornerstone to sell and collect money, from the various retailers, all those ones.
So don't worry you might have forgotten all those, but I can jog your memory tomorrow on those matters.
Based on your continuous misinformation, under these circumstances I will take legal advice tomorrow also if it's appropriate to publish the bank statements we have of the period after we resigned.
Please stop pretending the company did not have income prior and after we left from sales of the original Vega, and stop implying that money is missing (during the time we were involved with RCL) when the only money in question is the £50k odd in dispute with Cornerstone, which was held back due to an IP issue.
Once more as we all know myself and Chris resigned before £513k of backers money for the Vega Plus was given to RCL, before other original Vega sales money was given to RCL from Cinram (as per the bank statements) and the £250k or more worth of original stock was 'moved'.
Regards
PS can you please submit the company accounts, and supply us with the full audited versions we legally requested from you.

Developer John Pickford also posts the following, confirming David Levy was the point of contact he dealt with regarding the games rights:

For what it's worth when the original Vega was announced I contacted RCL via their website requesting that none of my work was included. I got email response from David Levy asking for a list of games to make sure they weren't included.

I think that confirms he was involved in signing up the games.

John Pickford confirms David Levy was handling games rights
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Thursday 20th April, 2017

Paul Shirley (author of Spindizzy and Confuzion) confirms that he was never asked about donating his royalties:

Paul Shirley's games used without permission
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Friday 21st April, 2017

In a bid to assist the large number of people contacting me about being refused refunds by RCL, a cut-down version of this blog has been created. The cut-down version shows all the missed deadlines and the link can be forwarded to financial institutions to assist with section 75 style chargeback requests.

RCL are now wasting money sponsoring Facebook ads regarding legal action against Nick Cooper. If that wasn't alarming enough, RCL are deleting all negative comments on the post:

RCL sponsored facebook ad legal action against Nick Cooper
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Saturday 22nd April, 2017

RCL are now wasting money sponsoring Facebook ads that include "alternative facts" about Paul Andrews and also deleting comments on the Facebook post:

Sponsored facebook ad lying about Paul Andrews
John Pickford has already confirmed that David Levy (and not Paul Andrews) was his point of contact when he refused allowing his games onto the Vega on Wednesday 19th of April:

John Pickford confirms David Levy was handling rights

For those of you that don't know what Paul Andrews looks like, here is shown here on the left at the original ZX Vega launch party along with an SMS director and a PR consultant. You can view more photos from the launch party on this Flickr page, along with a statement regarding the video/photos taken at the event (where cameras were in plain sight, and nobody declined to be filmed). Thanks to Paul for releasing these photos from the event into the public domain.

Paul Andrews and SMS director and PR consultant

A backer that has been trying to obtain a refund confirms that David Levy's email is still completely full:

David Levy's email account is still full
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Sunday 23rd April, 2017

The ZX Spectrum Next kickstarter campaign has finally been launched. In a single day it has reached more than 80% of its funding goal of £250,000, and the console should be delivered in January 2018. This is a testament to the honest people behind the campaign, a complete contrast to the current Vega+ directors.

Presumably in response to the Next being launched, RCL are sponsoring ads that direct people to their store. Perhaps they have finally worked out that sponsored ads for legal disputes don't bring in the large volume of sales they need to manufacture the device?

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Monday 24th April, 2017

The ZX Spectrum Next kickstarter campaign has hit it's target of £250,000 on its second day!

Meanwhile over in the Vega+ camp, 4 refunds seem to have been processed. The campaign has dropped by 4 to 4766 backers, and the total amount raised has dropped to £512,145. If you're wondering if you are one of the lucky 4, the names that have been marked as refunded are nathan41, Stefan Andersson, eusebioas and Martin Mackay.

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Tuesday 25th April, 2017

The old domain retro-computers.co.uk is no longer forwarding visitors to the current RCL site. A message greets visitors saying:

This Account Has Been Suspended
To reactivate your account please contact billing on 01202 237027

retro-computers.co.uk account suspended

By examining the WHOIS record for the domain, it shows that RCL have never even bothered to change the registrant's details. It still shows Andrews UK as the registrant and address:

Registrant:
Andrews UK Limited

Registrant type:
UK Limited Company, (Company number: 4047099)

Registrant's address:
Andrews UK Limited
The Hat Factory, 65-67 Bute Street
Luton
Bedfordshire
LU1 2EY
United Kingdom

It is an ICANN requirement that these details must be regularly verified and be accurate. Domain name companies are required by law to send out reminder notices to customers to ensure the data is correct. I quote:

"ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (and/or the associated ccTLD authority), requires that we ask you to review your contact data and make any changes necessary. Under ICANN and ccTLD WHOIS rules and the terms of your registration agreement, PROVIDING FALSE CONTACT INFORMATION CAN BE GROUNDS FOR DOMAIN NAME CANCELLATION."

The Metro newspaper has an article called Celebrate the Sinclair ZX Spectrum’s 35th anniversary with… yet another retro console. The very bottom of the article suggests that the Vega+ will never be released:

The ZX Spectrum Next is scheduled to be released in January 2018, to anyone that backs the Kickstarter for £175 or more. It already looks like the new hardware will do better than the Spectrum Vega+ portable, which now seems as if it will never be released.

Metro article suggests the Vega+ may never be released

There's a small mention of the Vega+ in the latest article by Gareth Corfield on The Register called Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up. The part mentioning the Vega+ is:

RCL was the company behind the ZX Spectrum-branded Vega and Vega+ consoles. The Vega+ has failed to appear, despite repeated promises from RCL over the last year, and game authors who contributed to the original Vega have yet to be paid. The company’s accounts are overdue at Companies House and it is facing questions about money it pledged to Great Ormond Street Hospital that has not been paid.

Still Waiting/Missed Dates

  • Shipping - David Levy expects to ship the first units "a few weeks after Friday 10th March, 2017". If you define a few as 3, then shipping should have begun Friday 31st March, 2017.
  • Refunds - Suzanne Martin said on Tuesday 28th March, 2017 that from 14 days RCL will have targetted getting through their backlog of emails, including the spam and refund requests. Therefore everyone should have received their by Tuesday 11th April, 2017.
  • Dimensions - Suzanne Martin was going to setup shots and confirm the dimensions Wednesday 15th March, 2017. In a Facebook group, RCL (and a spokesperson for RCL) have mentioned 3 different versions of the dimensions. No official dimensions have been released as an update on the Indiegogo campaign, but they are approximately 160 x 80 x 20mm.
  • Manual - RCL hadn't forgotten it (as of Monday 27th February, 2017) but more than a month later, it seems that they have.
  • The final specification for the battery has not yet been decided.
  • Honour roll confirmation emails have not been sent out.
  • Address confirmation emails have not been sent out.
  • PEGI rating is not in the system (only the original Vega is).

Upcoming Dates

  • RCL seem to have pretty much given up on promising anything at the moment. The only upcoming date is that if you purchase a Vega+ from their store, it will be shipped "Summer 2017", so if RCL mean a northern hemisphere summer, they hope to send it out between June and August 2017.

Post your comment

Comments

  • Gravatar for John

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    Thanks a lott foor sharing! http://foxnews.co.uk/

    John 24/04/2017 4:13pm (46 hours ago)

  • Gravatar for Lee S

    Hi, Ian. Many thanks for this blog. I've used it to submit my section 75 claim with my credit card provider. I had the faith but that has now been lost. Cheers, Lee

    Lee S 17/04/2017 10:59am (9 days ago)

  • Gravatar for Gaz

    Lol. Just tried to buy a Vega+

    Went all the way through the process, entered details, chose to pay with PayPal and then got bounced back to cart and told I don't have any items in it.

    Maybe these are schoolboy errors sublimillay made because deep, deep down they know every sale is a commitment to something looking less than likely to appear.

    Yeah it's that. Or they're just shit.

    Who knows!

    Gaz 16/04/2017 9:04am (10 days ago)

  • Gravatar for Andrew D

    Fantastic work Ian! (Thumbs up!)

    Andrew D 14/04/2017 9:18am (12 days ago)

  • Gravatar for Anon E. Mouse

    Just a quick post to say thank you very much and a big well done for this excellent and well put together detailing of the Vega+ fiasco. Please keep up the good work.

    Anon E. Mouse 04/04/2017 3:12pm (22 days ago)

  • Gravatar for Morgan

    Great resource, keep up the good work

    Morgan 03/04/2017 11:22am (23 days ago)

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Missed Vega+ Shipping Deadlines

  • End of September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • In time for Xmas
  • February 2017
  • A "few weeks" from March 10th 2017