Varitalk (ITS) Review | Sinclair User - Everygamegoing

Sinclair User

By IT's
Spectrum 48K

Published in Sinclair User #39


After all those crashes and programming problems the last thing you may want to do is to make your Spectrum talk, but that is possible with Varitalk from ITS Software.

It works in a similar way to that old hardware warhorse, the Currah Speech Unit, but it is all done with software. The program is user-transparent - in other words you cannot see any results unless you do some hard work - and gives the Spectrum a library of 52 phonetically encoded sounds. A list of those codes is given on the instruction inlay.

The codes are easy to decipher. You type in a two-figure code, which represents a sound, into your Basic program. If you want a specific 'A' sound you would look at the section of codes beginning with 'A'. Each section has six types of sound. If you needed that 'A' to sound like the 'A' which is in FAR you would find that type of sound - FAR - is third on the 'A' list making the code A3.

Next you can put the codes into a special variable T$ and make one machine code call which enables the Spectrum to pronounce your message. For instance, 'TALK' requires the code 'T1A6H2K1'.

Varitalk is an excellent toy and we had a lot of fun playing with it. Unfortunately, all those codes can be a put off.

John Gilbert

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