Running CSpect ZX Spectrum Next emulator on M1 MacBook Pro

Running CSpect on Windows is pretty much download and go, but on MacOS you need to download some additional support, specifically mono in order to run the Windows .exe on MacOS. This page here, describes downloading mono using homebrew, but when starting it up it would give a segv error and crash. Instead of installing Mono via brew, download and install using the latest .pkg installer from here. It’s possible downloading via brew misses some needed dependencies, but the .pkg installer has everything needed.

To run with the Next rom I downloaded, I used these options:

mono cspect.exe -w3 -basickeys -zxnext -nextrom -mmc=sn-emulator-22.10a.img

The Hobbit for the ZX Spectrum: a text adventure with interactive NPCs from 1982

After having a Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie marathon this weekend, I fired up a ZX Spectrum emulator and relived playing the text adventure game The Hobbit. I shared some screenshots in this thread on Twitter here:

The Hobbit was released in 1982 for the ZX Spectrum. For it’s time, it has some interesting features, like NPCs that wandered around, and language parsing of statements allowing you to interact with the NPCs, like ‘say to Elrond “read map”‘.

Given the unusual (for the time) ability to interact with the NPCs, there even exists a ZX Spectrum emulator specifically to play The Hobbit, which also shows the state of the interactive characters and objects in the game as you play. This is well worth taking a look at to get an insight into how the game works – quite an achievement for an 8 bit game in only 48k:

Possibly my oldest source code, Sinclair BASIC from 1983 (and my original ZX Spectrum manual)

As everyone is receiving their shiny new ZX Spectrum Next computers from the successfully funded Kickstarter (that I’m kicking myself now for not backing), I’ve dug up my original copy of my ZX Spectrum BASIC Programming manual from 1983.

The ZX Spectrum was my first home computer, on which I had my first experience of programming. 37 years later, I’m a software developer still coding every day, and still fascinated with software development.

Although flipping through the manual itself is a historical treasure trove, there are a couple of pages which are possibly my first snippets of source code:

I’ve no idea what this was that I was working on (a question and answer game of some kind?), but it’s weird looking back at what was quite possibly some of the first code I wrote, 37 years ago.

Other hand written notes that are interesting, it looks like I was keeping a wanted list of games:

I don’t remember getting a joystick interface until much later, but I was keeping notes on available interfaces at the time. 16GBP for a Kempston joystick interface? Wow!

Plus some notes for a few games, Lords of Midnight, and some other games that I can’t remember playing:

Waiting now for the promised next production run of Nexts, and this time round I definitely plan to get one!