The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega got a ton of press yesterday, mostly by tech blogs copying and pasting a press release. The Indiegogo campaign, now successfully funded, resurrects the much-loved 8-bit computer as a kind of mini-console. It’s essentially an emulator — a Spectrum version of those tiny Master System consoles that do the rounds every Christmas.

However, the tech press didn’t seem to pause and ask two important questions: can you really run “all of the games” released for the system on this device, and how can the device come with 1000 games pre-loaded?

If the prototype and render images are in any way accurate, the first question is a flat no. The Spectrum was a very keyboard-oriented system for games, unlike rival the Commodore 64, which was largely joystick-based. Therefore, the expectation was most Spectrum users would control games using keys. The Vega, however, provides only four directional controllers and four action buttons. At best, the controls of all pre-loaded games will have to be remapped to whatever keys the Vega uses. Any game that requires more keys simply won’t be playable, which not only includes all text adventures but a fair amount of arcade efforts and other classics. (Good luck playing Elite with only eight keys, for example.)

The second answer, regarding pre-loaded games, is that I have no idea. I asked the people behind Vega for an answer and was met with silence. The Eurogamer reporter did at least ask about game rights and was told the Vega creators are “speaking with the owners of software rights to Spectrum games”, which is a far cry from “and we have the rights to 1000 games”.

Securing game rights is notoriously tricky at the best of times, but even more so when it comes to retro games. IP changes hands alarmingly quickly and so while the Vega team now has upwards of 100 grand to spend, it’ll need a ton of that to secure game rights, assuming it’s going to do this legally.

Of course, judging by the comment threads underneath reports of the Vega, quite a lot of people don’t seem to think games retain or should retain any copyrights at all. But that’s just flat-out wrong.

Update: Developer John Pickford, co-creator of the superb Magnetic Billiards—but also a load of Spectrum games—notes: They’re seeking permission from copyright holders but not offering a royalty. Instead they propose a charity donation. So the devs are expected to donate their work despite this device being sold for profit. I hope the copyright holders turn them down.