My article on Russian ZX Spectrum clones – ‘The Land Where the Spectrum Lived On‘ – has just been published on Kotaku UK. This was a fascinating article to research and write, but it took an absolute age – there’s not a huge amount of information on the Russian Spectrum scene in English, so piecing together all of the various bits of info took forever.
I’ve known for a while that the Spectrum was big in Russia in the 1990s, but I didn’t know much about it, or exactly how big it was. When I heard that someone managed to port DOOM to the Spectrum, my interest was piqued, and I decided to find out more – which is how I ended up pitching this article. The many, many Russian sequels to Dizzy were probably the most interesting things I found while researching it. There are already tonnes of official Dizzy games, but if you add in the Russian sequels, the number is easily doubled.
The other really interesting thing to come out of writing this was discovering the Dendy – a wildly successful Russian clone of the Nintendo Famicom, complete with shameless rip-offs of various Mario games. Apparently 2 million of them were sold!