This Kickstarter campaign has now finished. Thanks so much to all the backers that made it happen. If you missed the campaign and would like the book, visit Bitmap Books for your copy.
Welcome to my Kickstarter campaign to design and produce a book all about the ZX Spectrum. Sinclair ZX Spectrum: a visual compendium will focus on the visual side of the computer; from in-game pixel art to game maps to box artwork, the book will be crammed full of beautiful high-resolution, full-colour imagery. The ZX Spectrum is a true British icon and at the time boasted cutting-edge product design. This unique and iconic image is something that we want to capture; the ultimate aim is to produce a book which proudly pays homage to this classic home computer.
Growing up, my two best friends and I were computer mad; I had the Commodore 64, the other two had the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad. Although I was the Commodore owner, I played an awful lot of ZX Spectrum games as a child. For many people, the Spectrum was their first experience with a computer, and ultimately helped give birth to the UK software industry. When placed in the right hands, the Speccy could do magical things!
This will be the third book from publisher Bitmap Books which specialises in high-end computer game publications. Our first book, Commodore 64: a visual Commpendium was released in 2014 to huge critical acclaim. Our second book, Commodore Amiga: a visual Commpendium was released in 2015 and has also received universal praise. This latest book in the compendium series aims to continue this impressive legacy.
Each spread in the book will focus on a different game, each represented with a striking visual, along with short reviews, developer quotes, and behind-the-scenes trivia.
I am very pleased to announce that I already have the support of several industry legends such as Ste Pickford (Binary Designs), Bob Pape (R-Type/Rampage), John Heap (Denton Designs), Julian Gollop (Laser Squad), Matthew Smith (Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy), Steve Turner (Graftgold), David Darling (Codemasters) along with many other developers and journalists who will be contributing to the book.
The final book will be 296 pages long and printed lithographically to the highest possible print standards. It will be 230mm x 170mm in size and come with a soft cover with flaps that fold in to double the thickness. To achieve the Spectrum's unique colours in print, I will be using a coated silk paper for the pages that will extract the maximum brightness and accuracy to the screen colours.
The book will also utilise thread sewn binding which is a special type of bind that has two main advantages: the first is that you are able to open the book flat (without the usual glue cracking); the second is that it is much more durable. Glue ages over time and cracks but thread sewn binds last forever!
There will also be a hardback version of the book available. This hardback will feature four coloured ribbons to match the Sinclair logo.
Sinclair ZX Spectrum: a visual compendium will be printed on high quality paper in full colour. I will be using a local printer who I have used and known for many years. By using a local printer I will be able to monitor the quality, resulting in a far superior product than if printed cheaply overseas.
The text will be edited and overseen by industry legend Steve Jarratt, a veteran computer games journalist who has edited countless best-selling publications including Crash, Commodore Format, Amiga Format, Total!, and EDGE. The foreword will be written by ex-Binary Design graphic artist Ste Pickford, one half of the legendary duo The Pickford Bros., who made their name creating the artwork and designing classic games such as Zub, Glider Rider, Amaurote, 180 and Feud.
The different games and utilities featured throughout the book will flow in chronological order, starting in 1982 right through until the early '90s.
However, ZX Spectrum's life does not end there: the book will also take a look at the Russian development scene from the mid-'90s to the present day. Outstanding games such as Metalman Reloaded and Castlevania: A Spectral Interlude push the Spectrum to the limit thanks to the continued efforts of the lively and vibrant Russian homebrew scene.
As with the C64 book, Sinclair ZX Spectrum: a visual compendium will showcase the awesome and iconic artwork by Oliver Frey. His legendary covers for Crash magazine will be printed in all their full-colour glory!
As well as featuring Oliver Frey's artwork, the book will feature spreads dedicated to classic Spectrum Magazines, including Crash, Your Sinclair and Sinclair User. And alongside anecdotes and commentary from ex-editors of these magazines, the book will also include many of the iconic front covers!
The book will also feature five artist interviews and five developer profiles.
Loading screens were also a huge visual part of the ZX Spectrum (we spent long enough looking at them whist the game loaded, didn't we?) and the book will showcase the very best of these.
Also showcased will be a series of game logos. These were usually created within a few pixels and what was achieved was truly stunning.
Additionally, there will be plenty of game maps dotted throughout the book. I have gained permission from www.maps.speccy.cz to use their maps.
We have also produced a set of five loader postcards to accompany the campaign. Each backer will get a FREE set of all five postcards (a Kickstarter backer-only privilege).
Last but not least, there will be photography for each of the major ZX Spectrum models throughout the book. Matt Wilsher, who also did the photography in the C64 and Amiga books, will be shooting his way though some classic Spectrum hardware once again!
Current contributors include:
- Alberto J. González (North and South)
- Alfred Milgrom (Beam Software)
- Andrew Hewson (Hewson Consultants)
- Andy Craven (Vektor Grafix)
- Audun Sorlie (Video Game Journalist)
- Bill Harbison (Ocean)
- Bo Jangeborg (Fairlight)
- Bob Pape (R-Type/Rampage)
- Brian Beuken (Yir Ar Kung Fu)
- Chris Graham (Codemasters)
- Clive Townsend (Saboteur)
- Colin Jones (Codemasters)
- Dan Malone (Palace)
- David Darling (Codemasters
- David Jones
- David Rowe
- Dawn Drake (Ocean)
- Gregg Barnett (Way of the Exploding Fist)
- Ian Ellery (Tau Ceti)
- Ian Oliver (Starstrike)
- Jas Austin
- James Leach (Your Sinclair)
- Jim Bagley (Special FX)
- John Heap (Denton Designs
- Jonathan Davies (Your Sinclair
- Jon Ritman (Match Day)
- Julian Gollop (Laser Squad)
- Kevin Toms (Football Manager
- Mark R Jones (Ocean)
- Mark Crane (Batty)
- Matthew Smith (Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy)
- Matt Bielby (Your Sinclair
- Mel Croucher (Deus Ex Machina)
- Mevlut Dinc (Last Ninja 2/Enduro Racer)
- Mike Lamb (Ocean)
- Mike Richardson (Durell
- Mike Woodroffe (Adventure International / U.S.Gold)
- Nick Bruty (Probe)
- Nigel Alderton (Chuckie Egg)
- Paul Morrison (They Were Our Gods)
- Paul Salmon (Odin)
- Richard Leinfellner (Palace
- Rick Dickinson (ZX Spectrum product designer)
- Robert White (Durell Software)
- Robin Hogg (Crash)
- Robin Candy (Crash)
- Roger Kean (Crash
- Steve Brown (Palace)
- Shaun Hollingworth (Gremlin)
- Simon Butler (Ocean)
- Ste Pickford (Binary Design)
- Steve Jarratt (Crash)
- Steve Turner (Graftgold)
- Steve Wetherill (Odin)
- Steve Wilcox (Elite Systems
- Teoman Irmak (Adventure International / U.S.Gold)
- The Oliver Twins (Dizzy & other games)
- The Stamper Brothers (Ultimate)
- Tim Closs (I.Ball)
- Tony Horgan
Russian Homebrew Scene
- Denis Grachev (Retro Souls)
- Aleksey 'diver' Golubtsov (Dreamwalker: Alter Ego2)
- Oleg Origin (Metal Man Reloaded)
Where we currently stand:
Each book will come with a 10 track ZX Spectrum 'The Spectrum Works' music CD by Allister Brimble. Tracks on the CD will include modern remixes of classic ZX Spectrum tracks such as Robocop (Jonathan Dunn), Agent X (Tim Follin) and Glider Rider (David Whittaker). This CD will only be available to Kickstarter backers and not available afterwards.
Also, the final three tracks on the album will be decided by YOU!! Alister and myself will ask what tracks you would like to appear on the album via a poll on a backer update.
Check out a sample of what to expect from this album!
Glider Rider preview:
Agent X preview:
"As with many people the ZX Spectrum was my first experience of game music. Tracks like Glider Rider from David Whittaker and Agent X from Tim Follin have been a huge source of inspiration to me over the years. I'm thrilled to have been given the chance to recreate to modern day standards my childhood memories for this album which paved the way for my career in game music." Allister Brimble, 2015
Only available to Kickstarter backers. Each book will come with a folded A3 poster. The poster will be of the iconic cover painting of the ZX Spectrum Basic Programming manual. This is a fully-licensed high-resolution image from original artist John Harris. This poster is only available to Kickstarter book backers and will not be available afterwards.
Remaining stretch goals
Only available to Kickstarter backers*. The big one!! Each book comes encapsulated in a polystyrene capsule with an outer card slipcase. This 48K-style case is injection moulded from polystyrene to a bespoke shape. The Sinclair logo will be embossed into the lid and the book will sit within the capsule. This unique packaging will also come shrink-wrapped for that authentic 'brand new' feel!
* A very short run of 100 cases will be made available for retail at Funstock after the campaign ends as I have already committed to this.
Special rewards include signed posters, physical games, signed bead artwork, and much more! Also, there’s the chance to create your OWN spread in the book (you choose the game to be featured and even write your own mini-review!). Please note that if you purchase this reward you will need to suggest five games and I will choose one of them with you to avoid duplication throughout the book. Each and every book backer will get free set of the 5 loader postcards.
Set of four Ultimate Play The Game pin badges
Metal Man Remixed on cassette (100 available)
This is a new and improved version of the classic game Metal Man Reloaded by Oleg Origin and Stella Aragonskaya called Metal Man Remixed. Remixed by the original authors, the game boasts improved graphics, new animations, new loading screen, alternative music, a tweaked difficulty level and loads more new features. Metal Man Remixed will only ever be released by Bitmap Books within this Kickstarter campaign and has been kindly exclusively supplied by Oleg and Stella. It will come in an 'Ocean-style' box complete with cassette, instructions, soundtrack CD and a rolled A3 poster of the box art.
Only 100 of these will ever be made.
Check out this exclusive review of Metal Man Remixed by Retro Asylum:
Dreamwalker: Alter Ego 2 on cassette (50 available)
The second game on offer is Dreamwalker: Alter Ego 2. This is a Special Edition of the game with tweaked gameplay, and is again exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign. This great little puzzle-platformer by Retro Souls uses the Nirvana Engine and boasts amazing graphics, sound and gameplay. Each copy of Dreamwalker: Alter Ego 2 comes in a jewell cassette case with cassette, instructions, sticker sheet and an A4 poster of the box art.
Only 50 of these will ever be made.
Check out some gameplay footage below:
C-jeff ZX Spectrum CD (50 available)
C-jeff started making sounds with the ZX Spectrum in 2001 and eventually became a musician. With a background in classical piano, it was only natural to make music a real life goal. Nowadays he creates in many different genres, ranging from chip tune and electronic to progressive rock, metal and videogame soundtracks. He also runs a music label called Ubiktune. 'ZX' is the title of upcoming C-jeff's album, his first ZX Spectrum music release since 2006's 'Konami'. The album's stunning cover art by pixel artist Retronator, also comes as an A3 rolled poster with the CD.
Check out the taster from the album below.
'I heart colour clash' T-shirt
'Spectrololis' A2 poster by Retronator
Now, here is something really cool! We have worked in collaboration with pixel artist, Retronator, to create a bespoke piece of pixel art called 'Spectropolis'. This city scene is constructed using ZX Spectrum pixels and a Spectrum-inspired colour palette. The scene is packed full of little references to classic Spectrum games and has been lovingly hand-pixelled. The actual artwork will be printed as an A2 poster and come rolled in a card tube. This is also available as an 'add-on' to existing pledges. Please see the 'Pledge add-ons' section on this page for more information.
Check out the animation below showing the construction on this artwork. Throughout the 30 day campaign, this will be fully coloured in and the animation will be updated to reflect the progress.
Set of five loading screen remake postcards
The following items are available to add onto your existing pledge. To add these items you essentially 'over pledge'. So, for example, if you pledge for the Book and Metal Man Remixed game at £60 and you would like to upgrade to hardback, you simply add £10 to your pledge to give you a total of £70, and so on. Once the campaign has finished, you will be sent a survey where these add-ons are captured.
If you are UK based:
- Hardback upgrade: add £10
- Loading screen remake postcards: add £10
- Spectropolis A2 poster: add £15
- 'I Heart colour clash' t-shirt: add £25
If you are outside the UK:
- Hardback upgrade: add £10
- Loading screen remake postcards: add £15
- Spectropolis A2 poster: add £20
- 'I Heart colour clash' t-shirt: add £30
A special thanks to GamesYouLoved who have been major supporter of me and my books. GamesYouLoved is born out a love of retro games of every description from your childhood.
Funstock are Europe's Number One Retro Gaming Destination. Funstock are the exclusive retailer for Bitmap Books.
Home to the UK's No.1 Retro Gaming Podcast.
Postage within the UK will be a small nominal fee of £2. For peace of mind, tracked book postage to Europe will be £8 and £10 ROW.
Design of the books is due to be finished in August 2015 and will be printed and ready for postage in September/October 2015.
Bitmap Books can be trusted to deliver on their promises and produce a product of the highest possible quality.
Our previous books on the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga received some outstanding feedback. Find reviews here.
Sam Dyer, 2015
Risks and challenges
When producing a book there are normally certain risks associated with it which hopefully I have minimised. As a Graphic Designer by trade I am perfectly placed to deliver this project to a very high standard. I have over ten years’ experience in design and print so am used to seeing through books and brochures of this size. Also, having successfully delivered two Kickstater campaigns before (on time), I have gained considerable experience from this.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)