One of the hottest properties in retro gaming, a new Sinclair ‘Speccy’, is entering its final week on Kickstarter as I type. And putting the icing on the cake—or the egg in the meringue, to coin a phrase—is today’s surprise announcement from legendary British 1980s game creators, the Oliver Twins, of a brand new Dizzy game to be delivered alongside the equally brand new Sinclair ZX Spectrum Next retro home computer.
The Spectrum Next, a 21st century FPGA-based design compatible with past 8-bit Sinclair computers but looking to the future, has set the Sinclair retro scene alight and caused a sensation on social and conventional media alike. The new old computer was launched officially in a Kickstarter campaign on the 35th birthday of the original 48k games machine, which was introduced by Sir Clive Sinclair on April 23, 1982. While the original Sinclair brand was sold off to rivals Amstrad in 1985, it has been specially licensed for the Spectrum Next through current intellectual property holders Sky In-Home Service Limited by the retro community-driven Brazilian and British organisers of the campaign, SpecNext Ltd of London.
The Oliver Twins themselves, who are active on the retro gaming scene, are amongst the best-known British bedroom coders of the 1980s, having founded their own company and gone from strength to strength, eventually working with publishers Codemasters. The Dizzy series of games, starring the eponymous egg-shaped explorer and adventurer plus his girlfriend Daisy, are their best-known product, and have many dedicated fans.
In 1986, it was reported that an estimated 7% of all UK games sales were attributable to the Oliver Twins. In 1990, at the age of 22, they started Interactive Studios, now called Blitz Games Studios. Apart from their own games, the Oliver Twins were also responsible for porting a number of other prominent games to the Sega platforms, including Theme Park and Syndicate. In October 2013 they founded Radiant Worlds, based in Leamington Spa, UK, with long time friend and colleague Richard Smithies to develop SkySaga for Korean-based Smilegate.
All-new Dizzy for the Spectrum Next
Directed by the Oliver Twins and produced by Dmitri & the Crystal Kingdom Dizzy Spectrum remake team, the completely new, as yet untitled, Dizzy game will be made exclusively for the Spectrum Next, taking advantage of its special new features in sound and graphics—and is, significantly, announced in the 30th anniversary year of Dizzy.
This new game will be unlocked once a new £500,000 stretch goal (and the campaign is almost there already) is reached. The new game will be produced as a hobby by all involved—no one is being paid for making it. As a result the Spectrum Next team say they are delighted to provide this new Dizzy game for free to all backers—who will no doubt be hopping up and down right now!
Here’s a message from the Oliver Twins:
Thanks for the memory
More good news for backers is that another new stretch goal, set at £525,000, has also been added, to offer an upgrade to the Next’s memory from 512k to 1mb to across the board. This compares well to the first two original 1982 Spectrums’ ram of just 16k and 48k, and the last Sinclair/Amstrad Spectrum’s 128k.
Do you want to know more?
You can read my story about the Kickstarter launch of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Next here on Retro Gaming Magazine.
The company website also offers basic info about the Next, plus the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter and further information. The latest details, including pledge levels and prices, are outlined on the Kickstarter page —the campaign, which currently has 2,154 backers and funding of £496,338 pledged of the £250,000 goal, has 9 days to go.
There is also already a busy ZX Spectrum Next group on Facebook.
Images and video used courtesy SpecNext Ltd, the Oliver Twins and the Crystal Kingdom Dizzy remake team.