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Someone Turned This Raspberry Pi Cassette Into a ZX Spectrum Emulator

The Raspberry Pi ZX Spectrum emulator inside a tape.
Stuart Brand, MagPi

We’ve seen a ton of retro-inspired Raspberry Pi projects over the last few years, including an e-ink Macintosh calendar and an iPod that streams from Spotify. But nothing will prepare you for the weirdness of JamHamster’s ZX Spectrum Raspberry Pi Cassette.

The ZX Spectrum Raspberry Pi Cassette is like a retro nesting doll. It’s a Pi Zero W shoved inside of a cassette tape, obviously, but it’s also a ZX Spectrum emulator. Video and accessory ports line the sides of the cassette, so JamHamster can hook it up to any monitor and enjoy some Manic Miner or Jet Set Willy.

In an interview with MagPi, JamHamster explained the process behind this project. He had to shave the sides of the Pi Zero W with a Dremel to fit it inside of the tape, and to get that retro look, he had custom Boots C15 labels printed for the cassette.

The Raspberry Pi emulating ZX Spectrum on a screen.
Stuart Brand, MagPi

And because the cassette is super portable, it needs to boot quickly. JamHamster achieved an impressive 16-second boot time by overclocking the Pi Zero W (with some help from a fat heatsink) and reconfiguring the DietPi and Fuze ZX Spectrum software.

I should also point out that both the ZX Spectrum and the Raspberry Pi’s ARM processor were originally developed in Cambridge, England. It’s a fun bit of serendipity, especially since both computers have had a major influence on young people.

Now, this isn’t JamHamster’s first rodeo. The tinkerer has developed dozens of retro projects, which you can see on his Twitter.

Source: JamHamster via MagPi

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »