The World of Spectrum is the world's biggest archive of Spectrum related materials including tapes, disks, type-ins, cover scans,
instructions, inlays, magazine scans, documentations, emulators, tools, utilities and many other things. It's no wonder that
newcomers to the site often find it a labyrinth of data and information that can be hard to come to terms with.
This guide then mainly serves the purpose of a F.A.Q., and is split into five parts for easy navigability:
What is WoS?
The WoS is the world's biggest and most popular archive of Spectrum related material. It plays host to a huge archive of software
including utilities, games, tools, type-ins, TR-DOS games, et al. The archive also includes documentation, instructions for games,
magazine scans, tape inlays and other assorted stuff. Go ahead, click on the Archive! link on the WoS
homepage to find all the goodies (notice the scrollbar)!
Who runs this thing?
WoS is the brain child of Martijn van der Heide. It was started by him in 1995 as a website dedicated to hosting Spectrum games but
it soon grew into a behemoth hosting anything and everything under the sun that was remotely connected to the Spectrum. He provides
the hosting capabilities and resources to run WoS and is the lead maintainer.
Apart from Martijn, there are co-maintainers who help run the site and manage the contents on a daily basis. The other maintainers
are Andy Barker, Steve Brown, Tony Barnett, Paul Hurd, Juan Pablo López-Grao, Philip Kendall, Gerard Sweeney and Lee Fogarty.
Indeed much of WoS's growth and usefulness is due to the dedication and commitment of all the maintainers and contributors in making
WoS what it is. A more indepth rundown of who does what can be found on this page.
What is the Spectrum anyway?
The ZX Spectrum is a home computer that was released in UK in 1982 by Sir Clive Sinclair's company - Sinclair Research. It is
credited with single-handedly launching the home computer market in the UK and catching the imagination of the public - right from 5
year olds to middle aged housewives. Its technical specs included 48K memory, 3.5MHz Z80 microprocessor, a sound beeper, an external
expansion port, multi-command rubber keys and employed audio tapes as a tape storage device. But such was its simplicity,
versatility and great design that software companies were soon jumping on the bandwagon to write various kinds of software for it.
Hundreds of companies were setup overnight in bedrooms of budding programmers. It wasn't long before computer magazines dedicated to
the ZX Spectrum were born and various books were written teaching people how to use the ZX Spectrum. Despite its relative
limitations, innovative and skilled programmers came up with amazing games and software that caught the fancy of the public at large
and it wasn't long before the machine went on to become one of the best selling 8-bit machines of all time. The ZX Spectrum also
spawned various clones all over the globe. Russia, Spain, America, India, Italy, Portugal, et al too saw their own versions of the
Spectrum and sparked the public interest in various degrees. While ZX Spectrum officially demised in 1988, various little computing
groups and magazines kept it floating for a couple of years more, but ultimately with the collapse of the 8-bit market, the Spectrum
too was gently laid to rest.
Today, it lives on in the hearts and minds of hundreds (if not thousands) of nostalgic Spectrum users around the world; Specchums
(as spectrum users like to refer to themselves) have taken it upon themselves to keep the memories and nostalgia of the Speccy (as
the Spectrum is affectionately known) years alive. Even today there are programs being churned out for the Spectrum and people are
doing all kinds of wonderful, innovative things that keeps the magic going in various ways. As long as there are Specchums around,
the speccy will live on.
How can I help?
Considering the tremendous scope and scale of enterprise that WoS is attempting (collection of everything that has anything to do
with the Spectrum), it's no surprise that there are plenty of projects that are going on simultaneously. Apart from the official WoS
projects, there are numerous private projects that enterprising individuals have taken on in aid of the speccy community. You can
help by contributing to any of the projects that you can be of service to. No contribution is minor or trivial. Every little helps!
You can find all the current official projects in the next question. To know about personal projects or find out more about the
Speccy community in general, check out the WoS Forums.
(Note that monetary donations are not taken by WoS).
These are the current active projects on WoS. Each of them has a maintainer or two. You can get in touch with them if you wish to
know more about the projects or contact Martijn who will put you through to the relevant person(s).
Note: material from any country, in any language is preserved, not just the UK.
The TZX Projects
Maintained by Martijn van der Heide, Steve Brown, Andy Barker, Tony Barnett and Juan Pablo López-Grao.
As far as projects go, the TZX project is probably the mother of them all. Its goal is no less than converting every single piece of
software commercially written for the Speccy to a digital format. More precisely, it seeks to convert the software saved on ordinary
tapes to the TZX format, which will allow anyone to download the games and run them in an emulator. The TZX format is designed to
accurately reproduce data (albeit maybe a little cleaner) stored in tapes, so that the original data is preserved, which is why it's
also known as the Spectrum Tape Preservation project (STP). The hardworking project team has managed to TZX
thousands of tapes but there are thousands more that need to be done. Most of the pending ones are those programs for which the team
simply doesn't have the original tapes! Some are programs that the team is aware of no copy at all has been found yet. Those are
listed in the Missing In Action (MIA) section, and the team will be grateful if you could with either:
a) Provide a TZX of the tape yourself.
b) Provide the original tape to the TZX team, if you do not know how to TZX it. The team will return the tape to you after the TZX
c) Sell the tape to the team at a mutually beneficial rate. Please note that WoS is NOT a profit making organisation. Everything is
run for free by individuals who pay from out of their own pockets and as such any monetary relief is much appreciated.
The Spectrum Disk Preservation (SDP) Project
Maintained by the TZX Project Team.
Similar to the TZX Project, the Spectrum Disk Preservation (SDP) project aims to preserve +3 Spectrum disks in a
digital format - the DSK format in this case.
The team is the same as TZX Project so the aforementioned points apply to this project too.
The Spectrum Instructions Preservation Project
Maintained by Philip Kendall.
The purpose of this project is an important but often neglected one - that of collating and preserving
the original instructions
that came with a program. There are thousands of games for which instructions are simply not available even if the games themselves
are! If you wish to help, simply head to the Instructions Project page and see if you can help out in providing the instructions for
any of the games mentioned on the "Instructions Wanted" list.
The Spectrum Screenshots Preservation Project
Maintained by Gerard Sweeney.
This project aims to obtain loading and in-game screen images for all entries.
The Spectrum Inlay Preservation Project
Maintained by Martijn van der Heide.
This project aims to scan cassette and disk inlays
for all titles in the archive.
The Spectrum Books Preservation Project
Maintained by Martijn van der Heide.
This project aims to scan all Spectrum-related books.
The Spectrum Magazines Preservation Project
Maintained by Martijn van der Heide.
This project aims to scan all Spectrum-related magazines
(either exclusive or multi-format, any language).
Where can I find such and such game?
Clicking on the Games link from the Archives will take you to a page with links to games organised by the alphabet. Click on the
letter that corresponds to the name of the game to go to a page listing all the games beginning with that letter. For example to
find the game "Zynaps", click on the Archives link then click on the Games link, which will take you to the alphabet index page.
Click on the letter Z. You will presently see a list of games beginning with the letter Z. Scroll through the list to find your
Alternately, you can use the Infoseek engine to search for a game in the database. See the Sinclair Infoseek
section to know more.
How do I download a game?
Whether you use the Infoseek engine or navigate via the alphabet index page, you will ultimately end up in the
Infoseek database page for that particular game. This page, among other things, will give you a number of links (or not depending on
the different formats that the game is listed under) to the game in question. Click on one of the links to download the game on to
Tip: Prefer the TZX format links to other formats since it's a more accurate representation of the original data. Snapshots (.z80,
and .sna) should be your last options if nothing else is available.
How do I play it?
Well if you have an emulator, it's easy enough. Just load it in to the emulator and you'll be on your way. How you load it in will
vary from platform to platform and emulator to emulator but most of the time it's a simple operation of finding the "Load" option in
the emulator, navigating to the folder where you've saved the downloaded game file and opening it. Most emulators support Auto
Loading wherein simply opening the game file will automatically load the game. Sometimes you have to type in LOAD "" to load and run
the game - just like the old times!
Make sure you are in the correct "hardware mode" while loading in a game in an emulator that emulates different Spectrum models.
Some 48k games do not work in a +2 environment while 128k games usually do not work in a 48k environment (unsurprisingly).
The process for loading TR-DOS games is slightly more involved depending on which emulator you are using. You'll be better off
reading the emulator documentation to know what precisely you are required to do.
Alternately, you can play the games directly on-line without downloading them on to your computer. To do this, click on the small
Spectrum icons next to the links in the download section. This will open a browser window where a Java based emulator will run your
Why do you keep 2 images of all games?
Thanks to the powerful TZX format, it is possible to store a program in its original form, without
taking too much space.
When a game is archived in this TZX format, it's finished and it will no longer be necessary to look out for better versions (there
Because not all platforms have emulators that support TZX files (or don't have one that allows flashloading), we always keep a
non-TZX version along with a TZX image. We strive for TAP files that are as close to the original as possible (just the custom
loader taken out), but Z80 files are kept in the cases that no TAP file is available yet.
Where are the ROMs?
Amstrad has kindly allowed people to freely distribute the Spectrum ROMs and they can be found
If by ROMs you mean games, well, you won't find any such thing here. Except for a tiny selection of games made available on the
ZX Interface II,
Spectrum games are NOT ROMs! They are either snapshots or tape images and they can be found in the archives.
I've uploaded some material and it's still not on the site!!?
There are a couple of likely reasons for the delay in processing your material. One could be that there are way too many items
backlogged already so your material has probably been queued too. Maintainers are subject to the rules and vagaries of life too,
unfortunately! The other reason could be that the material you have supplied has been distribution denied by the copyright holder
(Ultimate games for example) so it would not be uploaded on WoS. If there is an inordinately long delay, you would do well to
get in touch with Martijn and check with him.
Is this similar to Google?
Well not really. Infoseek is primarily a Spectrum database search engine. It currently has indexed thousands of database entries
pertaining to software titles, authors, books, magazines, instructions, inlays, screenshots, et al. It goes without saying that it's
an invaluable tool in locating resources in the labyrinthine maze of data that resides on WoS. If you are looking for something in
particular, Infoseek should be your first stop in your search.
How can it help?
As mentioned before it is a useful resource location tool. Not only does it allow you to hunt down an item of interest but it also
gives you a list of resources that are related to the original data. For example, if you were to search for the game
"The Hobbit" in Infoseek, it will not only give you the
download links to the tape images, but also list instructions, inlays, screenshots, reviews in magazines, company information, among
You could also search for authors, books, companies or hardware titles.
How do I use it?
Just click on the Sinclair Infoseek link on the homepage. This will take you to a search page. Simply
enter the information you are looking for in the left pane and the category that you wish the engine to look in the right pane. For
instance, if you are looking for books written by Robert Speel, you could enter
"Robert Speel" in the left pane and select books from the categories on
You will presently be selected to all related material available for the author "S. Robert Speel".
There are a few more advanced search options available to help you filter and narrow down your search. These are listed on the
How do I register?
Head to the Forums page and click on the Register link. Note that you cannot post a message unless you are
Umm... I'm confused about which forum to post on!
The entire forum is divided into different sections that serve to keep related topics on a particular subject together. So you have
sections devoted to categories like Games, Hardware, Emulation, Development, et al. If you have a query, try and post it in a
relevant forum section. You are much more likely to get a quicker and helpful reply. If nothing else, there is the Chit Chat section
that's a catch-all category that covers everything NOT related to the Spectrum.
Why has my post been deleted??!
Congratulations! It's not an easy feat to achieve considering the considerable er... variety of posts that are made on the forums.
Your post could have been deleted due to the following reasons:
a) You flouted the rules of the forum regarding posts related to distribution denied games. Please read those rules again.
b) You have been excessively abusive, rude and/or aggressive to the point of being a nuisance to everyone on the forum and as such
your post doesn't belong on a forum such as WoS Forums.
c) You have double posted.
d) It's not been deleted but moved to another thread where it probably belonged to in the first place. Check the other sections.
e) You've managed to piss off the maintainer of the section for some reason.
Can I talk about other machines here?
So long as it's not the commode 64! ;) Just kidding! You are welcome to talk about any machine you wish. Just don't get us started
on "which was the best machine" debate all over again, that's all!
Why can't I post any photos or images?
Because you aren't allowed to! The idea is to reduce network load and allow people to browse through the forums quickly and
efficiently, no matter which connection they have. You can link to photos and images though. You aren't allowed to embed them in
your post, that's all.
How can I send a personal message to somebody?
There are three ways to do this. First the easy way: Click on the user id from any of the forum threads and click on "Send private
message to...". The other way is to click on UserCP then click on "Send Private messages" from the Control Panel on the left, or
alternately click on "Quick Links" from the top of the forum menu, select Private Messages, then click on "Send Private messages"
from the Control Panel on the left.
Click on Send a Private Message link on top of the forums page. You'll need to know the name of the member (the username/alias under
which he or she posts) that you wish to send the PM to.
Why have I been banned from FTP downloads??!
Probably because you've been using up valuable WoS bandwidth by leeching or have exceeded the maximum number of FTP file transfers
allowed. If it's the latter, wait a day or two and the restrictions should have been lifted. If you genuinely believe you've been
banned unfairly or without any apparent reason, get in touch with Martijn.
Please make sure you've read the Acceptable Use Policy statement first.
Can I have a CD/DVD with all the software in WoS archive?
WoS has decided to not distribute to the content in any form of media. This is to protect the copyright permissions that individuals
and companies have given WoS for distribution of their software and IPs. However, the TZX Vault does provide TZXs of software on
CDs, as does Zenobi Software. Try and get in touch with them;
see this page for contact details.
The Sinclair F.A.Q.
The Sinclair F.A.Q. is an information repository that serves to explain every last known detail about the
Sinclair range of computers (ZX81 to +3). You will find much technical stuff in there and even some lesser known details of the
inner workings of the Spectrum in there. The complete details of the different tape formats may be found in it too. The F.A.Q. is
maintained by The Cabal.
However, since that F.A.Q. is no longer maintained, for technical details you may want to see the
Tech Info wiki.
It now contains a significant number of corrections/improvements over the CSS FAQ.
This F.A.Q. has been written by Arjun Nair and was last updated on 2 April 2006