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Interface 2

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Best search term:  (zx,sinclair) interface (2,two,ii)
Availability:  Uncommon, cartridges rare
Typical value:  £20-£40, cartridges £25-£35
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Interface 2 was a combination of joystick and ROM cartridge ports, launched in September 1983 at a price of £19.95. It was poorly received and disappeared without trace inside a year. Only ten titles ever appeared on Interface 2 ROMs, none of which sold particularly well in that format:

  • Backgammon (Psion)
  • Chess (Psion)
  • Cookie (Ultimate)
  • Horace and the Spiders (Melbourne House)
  • Hungry Horace (Melbourne House)
  • Jetpac (Ultimate)
  • Planetoids (Psion)
  • Pssst (Ultimate)
  • Space Raiders (Psion)
  • Tranz Am (Ultimate)

Today, these cartridges are rare collector's items.

The reasons for the Interface 2's failure were not hard to find. Most obviously, the cartridges were simply too expensive (at £14.95 each), especially when compared to tapes which sold at only a third of that price. If you could buy Jet Pac at £5.95, was it really worth another £9 not to have to sit through three minutes of loading? The joystick port, although useful, was let down by its non-adherence to the Kempston standard. The vast majority of joysticks available for the Spectrum - many of which were better than Sinclair's own offering - were thus incompatible with the interface.

Quite why Sinclair decided to bring this product to the market is unclear, but it may have been inspired by Timex's TS 1510, a device produced to allow the use of cartridges on the TS 1000 and TS 1500.

Sinclair also produced a joystick, in tasteful matt white, to plug into the Interface 2's non-standard ports. Four years later, Amstrad surprised many when it too rejected the Kempston standard and incorporated Sinclair joystick ports into its Spectrum +2 and +3 machines. In contrast, most Sinclair clones followed the market leader and used Kempston-standard joystick ports.

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Chris Owen 1994-2003