ZX Spectrum True Color

What is ZXSTC?

ZXSTC is a ZX Spectrum 48K emulator created in C# .NET for Windows. Timing, including emulation of contended memory, border, screen and sound is correctly emulated. Loading and saving of both snapshots and tapes are supported. The supported file formats include: SNA, Z80, TAP, TZX, WAV (load only). The following joystick interfaces are also supported: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair.

Besides emulating ZX Spectrum in original mode, ZXSTC can handle an extended mode invoked whenever a snapshot mod is loaded. Extended mode is capable of displaying true color backgrounds and true color sprites in four independent planes at a higher resolution than the original one. Due to this graphical upgrade option the emulator is named ZXSTC, which is an abbreviation for ZX Spectrum True Color.

The Mission

The mission of this site is to create and build a snapshot mod library of the 100 best ZX Spectrum 48K games. Hopefully this can be achieved with the aid of the community. Modders who want to create their own snapshot mods and upload them must register. A benefit from creating an account is the ability to rate the snapshot mods. Modders can revise their own snapshot mods and re-upload them. They can also refine shapshot mods originating from another modder. In this case it must of course contribute with a unique set of changes to be approved.

NOTE: It is not necessary for guests to register to download the emulator and the snapshot mods.

What is a snapshot mod?

A snapshot mod is a zip file comprising a collection of files for backgrounds and sprites for the extended mode to interpret. The original snapshot file is usually part of the snapshot mod. If so the snapshot mod can be imported directly in ZXSTC and will show up in the Load Snapshot Menu as a mode. Sometimes the original snapshot is not allowed for distribution and therefore not a part of the snapshot mod. As such it cannot be imported in ZXSTC. However if one owns the original tape there is still hope. In this case in ZXSTC set EAR to Line In. Connect a cassette player to the Line In of the PC via a jack plug. Load the program and follow the instructions in the comments from the snapshot mod page to create the snapshot. The created snapshot must carry the exact same name as the snapshot mod name. Now the snapshot mod can be imported in ZXSTC.


Extended mode has three modes, each encapsulating a different screen resolution:

  • Mode 1: 256 x 192
  • Mode 2: 512 x 386
  • Mode 3: 1024 x 768

Be aware the extended mode is quite CPU demanding and thusmore CPU threads are consumed for it to work. A dual core CPU should be able to handle both mode 1 and 2. However a CPU with less than 8 threads may experience performance issues when executing mode 3. Though withmost games a quad core CPU will suffice.