A gaming console that was the forerunner of Monday's PlayStation and Xbox has been brought back to life more than 30 years later after an online fundraising campaign by nostalgic fans. The ZX Spectrum became a classic after its release in Britain in 1982 and its success helped introduce a generation to computing and simple but addictive games. Its newly created successor, the handheld ZX Vega, replicates the original's signature rainbow stripes on a black rectangular joypad with red arrow buttons. Players can access 1,000 retro games stored in the memory by linking to a TV screen. The first 4,000 have already rolled off the production line of the SMS Electronics factory on the outskirts of the central English town of Nottingham, produced by company Retro Computers.
It all kicked off with a crowdfunding campaign backed by the inventor of the original, Sir Clive Sinclair, something of a legend in the history of video games. The campaign aimed to raise 100,000 pounds in two months, offering to sell the new version for 100 pounds each. The target was reached in 36 hours. For David Levy, CEO of Retro Computers, the success of the campaign is no surprise. "There are a huge number of people from the 1980s who played the Spectrum, enjoyed it, and want to have the same experience again," Levy told AFP. "And quite a lot want their children to see what they were enthusiastic about 30 years ago." More than 5 million units were sold of the original Spectrums, affectionately known as "Speccys," one of the first home computers to be widely used in Britain. But it eventually lost out to competition from Japanese giants Nintendo and Sega. "It was the PlayStation, the Xbox of its day," said gamer Jonathan Cauldwell, a fan of the console for 30 years.
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