Spectrum 48k Joystick Interface & Tape Loading Emulation

As per my latest post I have a nice cleaned up ZK Spectrum 48k. Now the most important part, playing some games! Now I don’t have a tope deck to load games, nor do I have a joystick interface. Here is what I did to fix that.

Below: the end product!

4 - All Set up iPad

First thing to do is sort out a joystick interface. Firstly I considered building my own Kempston interface. However after a bit of research I found good quality modern built interfaces were readily available at decent prices. I settled on an Angry Space Invader unit. These are a good price and offer a passthrough design, autofire, reset switch and a built in joystick tester. Also, damn they look cool! The eyes and mouth of the space invader contain LEDs for extra effect. Multiple retailers stock these. Some of the postage prices varied greatly to get to Australia, in the end I was happy with the price from Amigastore EU

1 - kempston2 - kempston


The interface is also keyed, so you can’t get it wrong when plugging it in.

3 - kempston in speccy


I have found there are plenty of options available for tape emulators. Speccy Tape is a freely available iOS application. It connects to the World of Spectrum database*, allowing easy transfer of TZX and TAP files. I am using this on an iPad2. To connect it to a Spectrum simply use an Audio cable from the iPhone audio socket to the EAR socket on the Spectrum.

*I did find that there was an issue with connecting to the World of Spectrum database from the Speccy Tape application to download games. To get around this, I simply opened World of Spectrum with Safari on the iPad, and clicked on whatever TAP or TZX file I wanted. When clicking on the download link, simply select to open with the Speccy Tap App. This will transfer the file into the application. They can be unzipped and placed into folders within the Speccy Tape application very easily.

For anybody new to using a Spectrum, it is very easy to load games with Speccy Tape. After connecting the iOS device to the Spectrum with the audio cable and launching the Speccy Tape application, find the game you wish to load. Speccy Tape will present you with tape style play/ stop controls.

On the Spectrum, after press “J” to bring up the LOAD command. Then press SYMBOL SHIFT + “P” twice to bring up double quotes. You will end up with LOAD “”. Press ENTER, then the Spectrum will be ready for the game to load.

In the Speccy Tape application, simply press the play button to begin the load. You can see the progress of the game loading, sit back and relax with the screechy sound of tape loads.

Couldn’t be easier to enjoy some classic Spectrum gaming!


5 - Chase HQ 6 - mm 7 - hoh

4 - All Set up iPad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *