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Will the ZX Spectrum Vega Plus Ever Materialise?

This article was originally posted by Holly Brockwell on the website Gizmodo on Thursday 9th of March 2017. Within hours of it going up, it was taken down (without explanation), so I am re-posting the article here until we are told why.


3D render of the proposed Vega+

3D render of the proposed Vega+

Back in 2015, a Clive Sinclair-endorsed reboot of the much-loved ZX Spectrum called Vega was successfully crowdfunded, produced and delivered. Its makers, a UK company called Retro Computers Limited (RCL), then announced a sequel called Vega Plus. Thanks to the success of the first one, and no doubt a healthy dollop of nostalgia, the new console was backed to the tune of £500,000 on Indiegogo.

And that was the last time there was anything positive to say about the Vega Plus.

Since then, Retro Computers has had problem after problem, including legal disputes, withdrawn games, repeatedly missed ship dates and a whole lot of angry backers. This has not been helped by their apparently automated Twitter and Facebook accounts continuing to pump out saccharine nostalgia, met with incredulous responses from frustrated customers wanting to know where their money and their console is.

The Indiegogo comments section is full of people demanding refunds, and a 500-strong Facebook group has sprung up to discuss what to do next. The group contains details of potential legal action being orchestrated by people who backed the project, usually at a cost of £105 each.

So why, after the first project was delivered successfully, have Retro Computers apparently dropped the ball so badly? It's a complex tale, but the most significant twist is that two of the company's three directors – Chris Smith and Paul Andrews – resigned, and a PR war has broken out between them and the remaining Chairman, Dr David Levy.

The two sides have been flinging statements back and forth, with Smith and Andrews publicly distancing themselves from Retro Computers as well as setting up a rival company. Levy is now embroiled in legal battles with both Andrews and its former distributor.

Despite holding a Vega Plus launch party in October, in November the product was held up by a "brief delay" for an apparent button redesign, followed by an announcement in December that the product would finally ship in February 2017, a full year after the crowdfunding campaign began.

February, of course, has been and gone and no Vega Plus. While all this has been going on, Retro Computers has posted a string of legal statements on its website (like this one) announcing that various developers have pulled their games from the console.

Given that the promised ship date has been missed again, you'd think the company would be at pains to reassure backers that production is happening and they'll receive their goods. Instead, RCL posted one update towards the end of February – blithely wittering about the use of an emulator called FUSE in the console.

The team behind FUSE almost immediately distanced themselves from the Vega Plus.

Indiegogo, too, is backing away from the project, disabling the campaign page as the company's MD blamed the delay on game developers withdrawing support.

Unsurprisingly, a request for comment to Retro Computers Limited went unanswered. Meanwhile, the backers are mobilising to take action against the company. Where is the five hundred grand? Are there any game devs left? What does Clive Sinclair think about all this? Never mind a videogame, we want a movie of this particular saga.

Main image: Retro Computers via Indiegogo

Added 11/03/2017: The original article still appears in an online archive cache online at http://archive.is/d5tC7

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Comments

  • Gravatar for Clit O'Ris

    [JAN]
    Nothing is so good it lasts eternally
    Perfect situations must go wrong
    But this has never yet prevented me
    Wanting far too much for far too long.
    Looking back I could have played it differently
    Won a few more moments who can tell
    But it took time to understand the man
    Now at least I know I know him well
    [SUZANNE]
    Wasn't it good?
    Wasn't he fine?
    Isn't it madness
    He can't be mine?
    [FOGARTY]
    Oh so good
    Oh so fine
    He can't be mine?
    [SUZANNE]
    But in the end he needs
    A little bit more than me --
    More security
    [JAN]
    He needs his fantasy
    And freedom
    [SUZANNE]
    I know him so well.
    [JAN]
    No one in your life is with you constantly
    No one is completely on your side
    And though I move my world to be with him
    Still the gap between us is too wide.
    [FOGARTY]
    Looking back I could
    Have played things
    Some other way
    [SUZANNE]
    Looking back I could
    Have played it
    Differently
    Learned about the man
    Before I fell
    [LEVY]
    I was just a little
    Careless maybe
    [SUZANNE]
    But I was
    Ever so much
    Younger then
    Now at least
    [FOGARTY]
    Now at least
    I know him well
    [BOTH]
    I know I know him well
    [JAN]
    Wasn't it good?
    Wasn't he fine?
    Isn't it madness
    [FOGARTY]
    Oh so good
    Oh so fine
    [BOTH]
    He won't be mine?
    Didn't I know
    How it would go?
    If I knew from the start
    Why am I falling apart?
    [SUZANNE]
    Wasn't it good?
    Wasn't he fine?
    [JAN]
    Isn't it madness
    He won't be mine?
    [FOGARTY]
    He won't be mine?
    [LEVY]
    But in the end he needs a
    Little bit more than me --
    More security
    [SUZANNE]
    He needs his
    Fantasy and freedom
    [FOGARTY]
    I know him so well
    [JAN]
    It took time to understand him
    [SUZANNE,FOGARTY,JAN]
    I know him so well

    Clit O'Ris 26/05/2017 1:29pm (2 hours ago)

  • Gravatar for Isaac Hunt

    Tge question on my mind right now is....

    Whos turn is it to bat?

    Oh sorry. Wrong game.

    Sometimes even the most well thought out games have been total losses. Mr Levy good look with your Endgame Strategy. If i were you i would have stuck with sex robots because they wont stab you in the back.
    Personally i am going for the half -half approach

    Lets all do the hokey Cokey!!


    Isaac Hunt 22/05/2017 4:27pm (4 days ago)

  • Gravatar for Isaac Hunt

    Will the ZX Spectrum Vega Plus Ever Materialise?

    A cover sticker for you vita will...to make it look like you got one...

    If you believe everything thats said to you, we are all going to prison, we were going to get the unit in march, lee fogarty said in WoS that indeed he saw units coming off the production line and finally ms Martin knows where the nearest post box is to post this gears accounts....


    SSSTTTRRRRIIIIIIKKKKKKEEEE!!!

    Isaac Hunt 18/05/2017 3:07am (9 days ago)

  • Gravatar for Monty

    Thanks for posting this. I bet being inside Retro Computers now, is something akin to being in steerage in the Titanic.

    Monty 09/03/2017 7:50pm (3 months ago)

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Missed Vega+ Shipping Deadlines

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