Fuze – a ZX Spectrum emulator running on Raspberry Pi

At the celebrations for the BBC Micro’s 30th birthday on Sunday (more on that to come, when the organisers’ videos are available), we met the rather excellent Andy Taylor. Andy volunteers for the UK Computer Museum, and had been working on getting their Raspberry Pi software ready to exhibit at the event. Rather than sitting back and twiddling his thumbs when he was done, he decided to fill his spare time by porting Fuze, a ZX Spectrum emulator, to the Raspberry Pi. I’m not sure why (nostalgia’s a powerful thing), but seeing Manic Miner running on a Raspberry Pi was, for me, even cooler than seeing Quake 3 back when we demoed it last year. (I note we never did set up that Deathmatch. I shall add it to the Big List of Things to Do.)

Andy also took some device photos on the day which are on Flickr. You might want to swing over; there’s a good shot of the underside of the board, which is something I know some of you have wanted to see more of.




Λ l є x avatar

Ho man this make me rimender my “486” old games.
This is so cool. :)

simonIOW avatar

ooooo. Excited now!

BTW Is there a version of Elite for the Spectrum?

Jason Railton avatar

Yes, and it’s pretty good, although there are Beeb emulator(s) for Linux which would probably be everyone’s preferred way to play it.

RoboJ1M avatar

Not me, I’d like an A3000 emulator with a copy of Elite please! :)

James Litnov avatar

Some user on forum said one time that this foundation should be more professional. Instead of creating a great expectation that they will not be able to fulfill, they comply with they were purposing.

The user were extremely criticized about his comment and i was one that disagreed with him. But now a days, i’m thinking that Rpi is not looking for professional appeal.

I was really excited with Rpi, offered donations to help directly ( Sent a bunch of e-mail offering help and never get anwered), but Rpi is more a dream than reality. I’m expecting the first batch will be ready only in November or December and in a very limited qty.

All community was counting on the great game changing situation that Rpi was bringing to the market. But does Rpi foundation were looking for it? Possibly NO.

They wanted to be stars before making Rpi happen and they achieve it. But the Rpi is still a legend and for me will always be.

This is very disappointing since people like me that were believing in this project since it began that will be a great tool and opportunity to make things faster, cheaper and bring balance to the market since other boards are little bit expensive than Rpi.

I know that much people won’t agree with me, but those people (most of it) are only interested in their multimedia centers, their car application or home automation… and yes, they can wait… for long as RPi want… they don’t have time… its for their personal purposes… ( just look for the forum about suggested applications… you will clearly see that they want to PLAY, have fun with it. ) . I want to WORK with it. I want to cut costs with it, to make products to create new solutions with it. For cut costs, to make projects, and create new solutions, we must ACT as FAST as POSSIBLE.

With Rpi i’m now thinking that everything is impossible.

I was last week reading a tech blog article about Rpi and why they won’t buy it. Simple… because you don’t have it on the market and possibly the foundation will not be able to maintain it inside de market to handle demand. And this is ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Irrevocably true. Simply because THEY DON’T WANT. They have all assistance they can’t get. They have broadcom (don’t remember where eben works that is providing some chips) behind them and even if not, they have some part of community who wants to HELP them. (like me). Sure that many wants to help and SURE get what they invested back. This is market. Capitalism. The world we live. Rpi seems to have a communist view… they don’t want to win and don’t let no one’s win…

Liz, we all know you are working hard (it seems that you are the MOST hard worker in RPI, since you get all interface between the world where eben is isolated and talks only with the press)… so hard that you guys are not being able to handle it… that’s the problem. You guys are getting bigger but without showing NO results…

Since Rpi has the objective to bring education to the world, WHY don’t you guys release the board in a open source pattern? I would like and think that all of serious investors in the world wants to produce it. (before china copy it) . The market will THANK.

In a very short time, beagleboard, pandaboard and other will approach to your market differentials… you guys MUST make something… make it happen.


if don’t treat this situation with profissionalism.

And be sure, i pray every day to you guys to DONT let it happen.


A very disappointed customer aka James

JamesH avatar

Please read the recent blog posts – almost everything you mentioned has been covered there – with full explanations as to why. We are bringing this to market as you asked, AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! There is absolutely no reasons for us not to!

Grumpyoldgit avatar

A very long rant but you have not really made it clear what your particular beef is. Could you be more specific please? By the way, your caps lock keeps sticking and you seem to be having problems with the spell checker.

Ravenous avatar

“they have some part of community who wants to HELP them. (like me).”

I respectfully suggest your post overall is not very helpful. Though you do say some positive things, the overall tone comes across as highly negative, at least to a native english speaker. Your suggestions are unlikely to be taken seriously by the folks running this project if expressed in this way.

bob_binz avatar

Berlinkin eck, do we have to have a flame rant associated with every new news release that RPF make? This post was just about a blast from the past (i.e. Speccy) – it was showing what can be achieved with the RPi – ok, when we get one – but that’s been done to death umpteen times over! We know other people would have done things differently, fair enough, we are all different. But we are also where we are. If it aint good enough, move along and find something else that better meets your needs (jeez, another sticking record.)

RPi won’t fail – some people are currently dismayed – i.e. the little kid at Xmas feeling has probably passed by many, but once they’re moving and the distribs have their act together people will still buy em up like hot cakes (or is that pi’s?)

Anyway, soap box hung back up (not had that out for *ages*)

Richard Mitchell avatar

“Stop hitting me with those negative waves man!”

Oddball – Kelly’s War (don’t quote me)

george kitt avatar

James Litnov thinks this is miracle machine, it isnt!
its a education tool once again its.. a.. education.. tool..
can you cancel you order please.

koko pe avatar

Are you 9 or something?
If you are in a hurry go buy yourself an ARM11 development board from e-bay at 3 times the price of RPI or just wait.
We are building a community here we are not customers, we are members.

Joefish avatar

Cheer up y’old bugger. You know what they say…
Sum fings in life are bad,
An’ ‘ey can rreally make you mad…

Otto avatar

But I want to see this running on a crt via composite

Alexander Langer avatar

Interesting indeed. Question: Is it a native system you can boot into, or rather a Linux app and if so, does it run from command line or X?

Andy avatar

I was running fuse under the shell with SDL so X Windows not required.

Gert avatar

Now where did I put all my ZX-Spectrum tapes?
I must still have a stack around (Jet pack, Jumping Jack, The Hobbit…)

Alexander Langer avatar

Time for a Gertboard extension to boot the Pi from tape ;)

Lynbarn avatar

Does Fuze emulate the 16k RAM pack falling off the back mid-game – or even mid-load? :)

Jason Railton avatar

No, because it’s a ZX Spectrum emulator, not a ZX81 emulator.

MartyG avatar

Plus you could fix that with a strip of blutak.

Muppet64 avatar

The one for the ZX Spectrum had little feet, so it was more stable…

floydbloke avatar

Going off-topic somewhat, but this (rather excellent) Sinclair emulator for Windows
does actually have a ‘Rampack Wobble’ menu option when running in ZX81 mode…..Those struggling to wait for their Pi’s don’t know the meaning of the word frustration.

Steve Rouse avatar

Excellent! An all-in-one Sinclair emulator. It even loads .Z80 and.SNA files. Doesn’t seem to like .TZX though.

You are in a comfortable tunnel like hall.

Topher Brink avatar

Loved seeing this (particularly as it’s one of my own intended uses for an RPi) and SO want to see QIIIA deathmatch running… MAKE IT HAPPEN SOMEONE!

Mark Dunsford avatar

This has to be the most accurate spectrum emulator ever. They even simulate the massive oversubscription on launch and long delays in getting them. (I remember mine took over 6 months to arrive!).

Sorry Liz & co – No criticism intended. We all know you’re doing everything you can.

Ravenous avatar

Heh – yes the speccy was a pretty catastrophic launch, but you have to admit it turned out to be quite successful in the end :)

I wonder if in 20 years there’ll be an RPi simulator?

Jim Manley avatar

Ironically, there already is one the Foundation and partners have provided that runs via QEmu on any kind of computer. So, anyone could run this Spectrum emulator on the R-Pi emulator running on emulated Linux, which can be run on Windows, etc. Very strange, compared with the early days of personal computing.

roberto avatar

Only us, people over 40 y/o can appreciate, remember and tell about those old times when “men were men” and able to code in ASM, play in 40KByte of ram, enjoy 8 colors…. any crazy man out there planning to interface ZX microdrive to raspberry? I will appreciate a lot!

MartyG avatar

IIRC it had 16 colours – you’re forgetting the BRIGHT ability :D

MartyG avatar

Or rather 15 as bright black was still black.

psergiu avatar

On some of the clones the Bright + Black was displayed as Dark Gray.

Muppet64 avatar

Damn! I flogged mine off in about 1989…

John Sousa avatar

I guess I must be the only Spectrum user (and developer) not even remotely interested in an emulator.

Personally I’m glad those attribute-clash, funky colours and feeble sound times are past us and more looking forward to what we can do in the future with platforms like the Pi.

But do give us a buzz when someone shows a real Pi (not emulated) running a decent MAME setup :-)

celerity avatar

Is there a way to fairly easily hook up an old 8-bit joystick to the Pi?
I have a profound weakness for retro and emulated games, but they only truly relive the magic when coupled with an authentic controller :-).

(I know Manic Miner isn’t the best of examples for this given that most of us probably played using the rubbery Spectrum keys, I’m speaking more generally!)

roberto avatar

i suppose the fast way is to hack a cheap keyboard with old joystick.

JamesH avatar

My parents just dropped off a bag of old bits they found in the loft, including my old BBC Micro analogue joysticks…many happy hours playing Revs with those…

Paul Johnson avatar

You’re lucky, I was horrified to find that my parents had thrown all my old stuff on the skip. Out went old joysticks, games, my (probably still working) ZX81, and what was certainly a now very valuable Millennium Falcon from when Star Wars was first released.

I shall be feeling no guilt when I bung my parents in a dodgy looking old peoples home.

bob_binz avatar

Yeah, like for Daley Thomson’s Decathlon – a new Kempston Pro was cheaper than a new Speccy Keyboard!!

Joefish avatar

I’ve been dangling the suggestion in MAME threads for some brave soul who understands it all stepping up and writing a driver to turn various combinations of push-button/diode matrices (for home-made joysticks) wired on to the GPIO pins into keyboard and/or joystick inputs into the OS. I’ve tried to work out how to do it myself but get lost as the documentation I have found doesn’t really with help coming at it from that angle.

Until such time though, there are plenty of plug-in USB adaptors for controls. Though PS2 adaptors seem to be a lot cheaper than Ataris.

John Sousa avatar

I guess for maximum realism one should find a way to connect membrane keyboard to the Pi.

The membranes are still sold on Ebay.

Bring back the failing “M” keys.

Muppet64 avatar

So can I write a font designer using Basic and Machine Code then totally fail to impress my girlfriend with this achievement?
That would be an amazingly accurate emulation ;-)

JamesH avatar

Is is me, or was the person playing a bit pants at Jet Set Willy?

bob_binz avatar

You mean Manic Miner? If so, yes. Although I never could get passed the bogs in Eugene’s Lair myself, so I have no room to talk!

JamesH avatar

Sorry, I meant JetPac.

MartyG avatar

Lunar Jet Man was superior.

Never did find that trailer ;)

Andy avatar

I am truly awful at games. Especially when i’m videoing myself.

eFoz avatar

This is just FANTASTIC! speaking as someone who for years was “always getting round” to building his own ZX Spectrum and every few years breaks out the emulator and plays Jet Set Willy I think it’s time for a good long wallow in nostalgia!

Just wanted to also say what a great initiative this is and how you guys have done an excellent job in managing the little setbacks – keep it up – can’t wait to get my RPi :)

Mario avatar

any one tried MAME? would love to see Metal Slug X and MvsC here!

GilDev avatar

Cool ! Can a SNES emulator can be ported too ? =)

Stuart_r avatar

Just hope I can work out how to install these emulators lol

Mario avatar

I don’t know what distro you will use, but if you use debian:

apt-get install zxsnes (just an example). voila!

Stuart_r avatar

Seems easy enough ;-)

Anton avatar

I’m almost speechless. This is just incredible – the memories…! How many times I played those gems…
Thank you.

Andy avatar

Glad you like it! :)

n3tw0rk5 avatar

Roll on playing Jet Pac!

Jesse avatar

Looks awesome! I’m hoping that several legacy console emulators will have ARM support by the time we get our hands on a Pi. I’d love to see if it’s powerful enough to run an Nintendo 64 emulator.

terracotta avatar

I would love to see an Amstrad CPC emulator. I am guess it shouldn’t be too hard to emulate (it was Z80 based as well).

Andy avatar

That was another machine I wanted to get working before the Beeb@30 show. Personally, I think the CPC is one of the best 8 bit machines.

Alan Heath avatar

I would like to get the CPC emulator working as well. I have (a long fried and dead) 6128 case thats waiting for its new innards. Getting the emulator to work would be icing on the cake.

Chris avatar

I’ll go sit in a corner and cry for my Pi now…

Chris avatar

9,999 RaspberrryPi’s to be FIXED and 10,000 more to be made and I can’t run anything until I get mine at the end of JULY!

I’m expecting updates on what is going on in the manufacturing department… Did you source the correct parts yet???

darkcity avatar


Frank Lund avatar

Is this a full emulation that extends to requiring Blu Tak to retain the memory and a cold carton of milk to avoid overhetaing?

mahjongg avatar

That was the ZX81, not the Spectrum.

Joefish avatar

Not another one?
Forehead, meet desk.

Frank Lund avatar

Is there any chance of a Pi emulator to run on 1 of my BBC Bs or Jupiter Ace?

Davespice avatar

Nice video. Although I ended up muting it because the music did my head in :)

murak avatar

I am no frend of this comment system, there is often problems with “Copy this password”. Anyway I am a friend of RPi and when I read this news I thought of this song wich I feel has the same spirit as what the RPi team is trying to do. It even mentions Elite!


Lets grab a beer.. sorry Pint and sing along!

scep avatar

Re the comments system: if you log in to the forums then you can post comments with no details / password copy required.

Nice video BTW :)

Jeff avatar

And this should be considered cool?

Do you know the Spectrum is nearly 30 years old?

JamesH avatar

Yes, it’s a legal requirements in the UK and many states for this to be regarded as Cool. Anything who thinks it isn’t cool is subject to a $1000 fine.
Or so I heard. I also heard something about Justin Beiber NOT being cool under pain of torture and death. That was Cornwall I think.

David avatar

Reading these comments is bringing back lots of memories of owning a Spectrum as my first computer. I think Atic Attack was my favourite game at that time although Jet Pack was good too.

Can’t wait to see the sprite colour clashes again….

sam_scribbler avatar

Yeah, I guess you could look at it as somebody running silly old games on underpowered hardware.


You could look at it as an homage to the grandfather of personal computing.

Think about it. The computer that kickstarted an era of creative inventing and programming being emulated on the computer that’s going to kickstart a brand new era of fresh creativity. I don’t know about you, but it gives me chills just thinking about it.

Besides. If we couldn’t have at least a little fun and games with our computers, they would be downright insufferable, now wouldn’t they?

Thomas avatar

Excellent News. But isn’t the game in the Video called ‘Fred’?

Phil avatar


Bloghissimo avatar

Wow!! This project is wonderful!! yeah!! :D

Krotow avatar

Wish I would have this device at 1991 :(

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