How to load games to ZX from a PC with Linux

edited May 2012 in Hardware
This worked for me and this howto can probably be improved upon.

In this thread a personal hardware issue was resolved, viz. stereo leads can't transfer sound to the ZX. The next challenge was to get a suitable file and transfer it to the ZX; some sound issues as you'll see. It's written from a Linux perspective but the tools, playtx and sox, are cross-platform.

First, download Tomaz Kac's playtzx app here

Since I was using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin, there were dependencies as Tomaz' converter was probably written for a different Linux flavour. The following, especially the first two lines seems to cover the bases:
sudo apt-get install build-essential
sudo apt-get install automake
sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Post edited by blesbok on


  • edited May 2012
    To compile and install playtx:
    Untar it in a suitable directory of your choice.
    Make the configure file executable:
    chmod +x configure
    Now avoid using sudo (root) by pointing configure to your user directory; a directory /home/username/local/bin will be created to contain the binary; run that configure file:
    ./configure --prefix=$HOME/local

    make install
  • edited May 2012
    You're ready to convert your first file to an audio format; in this example Paddington's Garden Game:
    cd ~/local/bin
    ./playtzx -au ~/pathtothetzxfile/Paddington\'s\ Garden\ Game.tzx ~/zxspectrum/
    Unfortunately it didn't work in this format and volume so we change the format and up the volume with sox:
    sudo apt-get install sox
    change the format from .au to .wav:
    sox paddingtonsgardengame.wav
    double the volume (note a new file is created):
    sox -v 2 paddingtonsgardengame.wav paddingtonsgardengamev2.wav
    Power up the ZX Spectrum and give the command (using keyword on J key)
    LOAD ""
    Notes on volume: System Settings --> Sound --> Output --> Output Volume was 100% for Paddington and 75% for Manic Miner and this can be adjusted with the applet on top of the screen. In both cases it was full volume on the media player.

    Connect the leads from computer speaker socket (normally green) to ZX ear through a stereo to mono adapter.

    Open the file (here paddingtonsgardengamev2.wav) with your media player (Totem Movie Player in my case)

    Hopefully you'll see it load and you're just minutes from playing a game!
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