How to play spectrum games on a Mac, Windows or even GNU/Linux.

By McDonald. T |  July 14th 2018
The 80s was a great time for gaming. For a while, gamers had been able to alleviate the boredom with dedicated gaming devices such as Asteroid and Donkey Kong. However, things really got going when gaming consoles like Atari 2600 hit the market. Even so, nothing compared to the new home computers like Commodore 64 and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k. These computers not only had tons of games, but also you could program your own software including games.  Sign up to my blog for more fun stuff!

The gaming consoles had the advantage of instant loading from a cartridge while the home computers needed to load games from a tape in a tape recorder, which was not always successful. This could take 5 minutes or more and the sound level had to be just right or the game would fail to load.

Despite the loading issues, the home computer won out and steadily advanced into the powerful machines we have today. Now that we have our wonder rigs, some of us feel it is time to go back to the past and play some old games, but this time with no need for the tape recorder. Loading a game and saving it is now instant. Yay!

What is an emulator?

An emulator emulates a guest system on a host system. In other words, the host system, your computer, can run an emulated system, called a guest system as if it was a regular app. In the case of the Spectrum emulator, your computer will run the Sinclair Spectrum computer system in an app, see figure 1. 

Figure 1 A spectrum emulator as a guest system on the right of the image running a spectrum 48k game on a host system that is a Mac.

Fuse is the best of the emulators that I found and is capable of emulating different models of Sinclair Spectrum. The key board, should you need it since you will be able to use your own, is located in the help menu. 

Figure 2 Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k keyboard.

To save your gaming progress you can save a snapshot to a suitable location on your disk drive.

Link to emulator

Fuse --- Download the zip file for your specific operating system.

Quick Links

Fuse --- This is for Mac
Fuse --- This is for Windows

Link to Spectrum 48k game Football Manager.

Football Manager --- Download the link from the downloads panel by selecting 'Files' in the show all section of the panel when you get to the site.

Figure 3 Football manager 1982

It is worth noting that the Internet archive has a good selection of games and you can test them out online, but you cannot save your progress. 

More games

Codename Mat see in figure 1.  Download the link from the downloads panel by selecting 'Files' in the show all section of the panel when you get to the site.

Internet Archive

I loved my spectrum! 

I would happily spend time writing programs or playing games on my Spectrum, which was a 48k. There seemed to be a bit of rivalry between Spectrum and Commodore uses in the playground with the hardcore tech kids going for the Spectrum and the kids that thought Commodore looked better because it had a ‘real’ keyboard. The Commodore’s keyboard was better, yet the Spectrum had a huge social side to it and many more people programming it and even using it for business. Spectrum users also had a selection of magazines to indulge their obsession, which give information on new games and had programming tasks in every issue. I used to like reading Crash.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog.  Happy retro gaming!


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