Retro: Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k on Ubuntu 64 Bit

Posted by on Mar 1, 2008 in Games, Ubuntu3 comments

Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48kSo, I have a state of the art Notebook (well, almost state of the art), with a Duel Core 64 Bit AMD Processor, 2Gb RAM, and a 64 Bit Operating System (Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon) – but, whatever… because I’ve found a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k Emulator! What better use for such a system than to play classic 8 Bit games from my childhood?! Yes, I could drag the old 48k machine along with the Dixons tape deck from my parents’ attic, and hook it up to the TV – but that would involve a trip half way around the world. I can’t afford that, so instead, I ran

sudo apt-get install spectemu-common spectemu-x11 spectrum-roms

which installed the Spectemu (xspect) command line Speccy Emulator, along with a few Speccy ROMs. Searching for some of my old favourite games (Skool Daze, Back to Skool, Lords of Chaos, Spy Hunter, Saboteur, Elite – also see the Oolite post), led me to World of Spectrum, where I downloaded a bunch of TAP tape image files, and dumped them in ~/Speccy

Spectemu is CLI, so from a terminal window, I ran
cd ~/Speccy

and extracted the games I’d just downloaded

tar -zxvf

then ran the Emulator itself


which brought up the age old “© 1982 Sinclair Research Ltd” Speccy interface in a new window. In this window, I had to press Enter, and run

Load ""

by pressing the Speccy shortcut “j” followed by two double quotes “” which outputs Load “”, followed by Enter. Pressing Ctrl+p outputs a prompt back in the Terminal window to enter the tape file path, which was simply


followed by return. Back in the Speccy window, Skool Daze began loading. And loading… and loading… It’s as if I was back in the ’80s – a few minutes later, the game had loaded to memory (without crashing, or needing to adjust the volume of the tape player etc.!), and I could enjoy a blast from the past…

Skool Daze on Spectrum 48k

Quick loading of tapes is also possible. Before typing Load “” simply press Ctrl+y in the Speccy window, and the Terminal window reports “Quick Load on” (it can also be switched off with Ctrl+y). After entering Load “” follow the same procedure of entering the .TAP file name, and the game loads into memory much faster, bypassing the Speccy ROM’s load routine. Nice!

Skool Daze on Spectrum 48k

To quit – just press “Ctrl+c” in the Speccy window. More on the Speccy commands can be found at

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