Time to visit the good ol' days

MetroSpec, the Windows Phone ZX Spectrum emulator, has come out of beta and is now well on its way to the Marketplace. We originally covered the app back in July when we got some hands-on footage of the emulator in action, and were super excited to see the first Windows Phone ZX Spectrum emulator that isn't tied to a single title, where users can download and enjoy a wide variety of content.

Developed by Starquake Mobile (website), MetroSpec packs a number of useful features that are sure to make the experience that much more complete. With game states that can be exported to SkyDrive allowing users to continue on the larger screen from a different platform / emulator, the ability to import games from both SkyDrive and a known web server, and a number of intuitive features ensuring the UI is efficient and easy-to-use, it's definitely worth checking out.

MetroSpec App

During its beta test, MetroSpec jumped two versions and hit 1.2. We reached out to the developer for a list of improvements and changes applied to the emulator since we last looked at it and it seems a lot of development has gone into getting all the finishing touches just right.


  • Accelerometer support. Play your retro favourites using motion control. Play classics such as Manic Miner / Jet Set Willy, by tilting your phone, and tape for jump / fire.
  • Completely rewritten game control engine, providing a control sensitivity option that works allows play on both large and small display devices.
  • Added an in-game reload button, to allow the reload of the current save state (should you have just been killed by that hard to beat boss).
  • Added an in-game reset button to allow the game to be reset, and reloaded from the initial memory snapshot or tape file.
  • Improved download management options e.g. retry, pause, cancel
  • Programming in Spectrum BASIC is now possible, and the virtual keyboard now supports “optional” stick shift keys and vibration feedback.


  • Support added for the popular .TAP / .TZX tape files as hosted in the huge 10,000+ archive at World of Spectrum ( TZX support is partial at present, standard loaders, turbo loaders, and custom loaders such as Alcatraz, BleepLoad, and SpeedLock 1 all load fine, but Speedlock 2 and above protected games will not load. Being worked on ;-)
  • Use tape format files, and really get the retro experience, as you “groove” to the sounds of a ZX Spectrum loading from a virtual tape drive.
  • Variable emulator speed from 40 – 100% just to make that boss a little bit easier to beat ;-)
  • Improved virtual keyboard and screen visibility in Spectrum BASIC landscape mode. The lower portion of the screen and keyboard are now both visible at the same time, so you can actually see what your typing.
  • Exporting save states to Skydrive now takes advantage of recent API changes to allow the upload of non-media files, so you no longer end up with a .jpg that you have to rename.
  • There might be an easter egg in the About screen now ;-) It was disabled in the beta’s.
  • Removal of commercial games due to possible copyright issues (even though some of the games are 30 years old), and the inclusion of a selection of community homebrew games that have been developed over recent years.

 Be sure to check out our early walkthrough of the app itself and what we can expect from the submitted emulator (prior to the two updates above).

We've been informed that there's more on the horizon and we're excited to see where MetroSpec goes from here and how it'll be received by the community. The app, once approved, will be available as both free and premium apps. The free version is ad-supported with the limitation of only three save state slots. Premium version, which is confirmed to be £0.79 ($0.99), will remove the advertisements and open up more save slots for further use.

MetroSpec is expected to be made available within the next couple of days, and we'll be sure to announce when it's live on the Marketplace. Hold on tight folks, we're almost there.