Never since the actual release of the ZX Spectrum in 1982, has there been a better time to be a fan of this great British microcomputer. With new hardware releases such as the DivMMC, Just Speccy 128 and Spectranet, our humble little machine has been dragged kicking and beeping into the 21st century. Partial responsibility for this recent resurgence has to be given over to the amount of ink spilt in the Spectrum’s name in the last few years. One of the best examples of ink spillage being Chris Wilkin’s ‘The ZX Spectrum in Pixels Vol. 1‘ which I gave a full score to back at the end of 2014.
Six months and another successful Kickstarter campaign later and we have the much anticipated Volume 2 in our hands and we aren’t disappointed either.
First thing to note and, as you might expect, this is no great departure from the first in terms of style being the second in a 3 volume set. The cover is now blue after much debate on the Spectrum in Pixels facebook group regarding what colour to go with. My personal preference was that the series continued with black covers but I must confess it does look very nice next to the first volume.
Inside Volume 2
Content-wise, The Story of the ZX Spectrum in Pixels Volume 2 kicks off with an interesting article by Martyn Carroll and follows with another set of the ZX Spectrum’s many and varied peripherals. Like the first volume however the main chunk of the book is given over to the games. And what games!
As the book’s title implies there is a double page spread of in-game graphics, loading screens and inlay artwork for each game featured. A short synopsis of each game is also included, giving details of gameplay and some of the history behind each title. The games chosen are varied and cover popular releases from most of the ZX Spectrum’s long life. From Scrabble to Ski Simulator, PSSST to Planetoids, you will find lots here to tickle your nostalgic fancy. To keep those nostalgia juices flowing Chris has also sprinkled the book with more game and peripheral ads of the era. Finally, we are all treated to some fascinating insights into the making of these classic games by some of the key players from that time such as Oli Frey (Newsfield), Ian Oliver (3D Starstrike) and Paul Hibbard (Rasputin).
Print quality is good and the featured double-page screen graphics capture the ZX Spectrum’s limited but vibrant range of colours really well. As with Volume 1 you also have the choice to purchase the book in ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ editions.
Another quality addition to Fusion Retro’s range of titles and a worth addition to any retro gamer’s bookshelf. If you already have Volume 1 you need this. If you missed Volume 1 you need both! All culminating in another full 5 Invaders score. Roll on Volume 3 and maybe a hat-trick of full scores? No pressure Chris.