Load ZX Spectrum games from MP3!

My memory of the ZX Spectrum is warm and hazy, but even I remember the pain you had to go through with tape players, and adjusting the azimuth of the tape head.  I even had (and who didn’t?) a specific special screw driver permanently in place in the tape player so I could tweak it as required.

To imagine you could get away with loading ZX Spectrum games from an audio file, created from a file which in turn has been created from the actual tape blows my mind.  To do it using a lossy-compression algorithm like MP3 makes my cortex bleed.

But you can, and it’s not that hard!

I’ve had the Spectrums in the house for a couple of weeks now, so I felt it was time I actually tried to you know, play a game on one of them.  This isn’t without challenges and in the process I discovered some more issues with the little black microcomputers from my past.  I don’t have a tape deck knocking around, although I do have a very old walkman style cassette player.  In my head, I’d been half planning to use that to try and load games on the Spectrum, and one eBay purchase had some tapes.  But I remembered something I’d read online about ‘speed loading games from an MP3 player’, so decided to do a little more research on that.

A quick google search later, and I was looking at this website.  Twenty minutes after that, downloading the software it mentions, I was playing Manic Miner on one of my real ZX Spectrums, on my TV.  Crazy!

I’ll write a longer blog post later, for the full process, and the issues it revealed with the stuff I’ve bought so far.

2 thoughts on “Load ZX Spectrum games from MP3!

  1. Wow, watching that video of Manic Miner loading so quickly blew me away. It’s totally bizarre watching it, who would have thought that the Spectrum could process data so quickly! The poor old CPU will be in meltdown 🙂

    • Yeh it’s crazy, especially considering how sensitive it used to be with tapes playing at 1/4 of that speed!

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