the retro (ad)ventures

Amstrad PCW emulators

Since the PCW was the first computer I could ever play with, it's understandable that I unavoidably feel the urge to once again experience those glorious two tones of green... even if via an emulator!

I'm afraid that I haven't managed to get any PCW emulator up and running yet. From time to time I resume my research but I have yet to find one emulator that works with my system (ideally it would also emulate the floppy disk noise--that would be terrific).

I'll keep trying.

Correction: with a bit of effort I managed to get JOYCE up and running, and also found a few disks to play with. Read on for information on how to get a working PCW emulator in Ubuntu! :-)


Multiplatform emulator (it's built with SDL).


Read on for learning how to compile JOYCE in Ubuntu 10.10 (this computer already has a development environment set up, i.e. gcc and various dev libraries have already been installed)

  • Download the sources for Unix from the downloads page
  • Extract the file contents
  • To compile: bash cd joyce-2.2.4 ./configure make
  • Wait for it to compile!
  • Then bash sudo make install

If you don't install, and you try to run ./joyce-2.2.4/xjoyce, you'll get miscellaneous errors such as:

I/O warning : failed to load external entity "/home/sole/Joyce/Boot/joycebt.xml"
I/O warning : failed to load external entity "/home/sole/Joyce/joycehw.xml"
JOYCE will emulate a PCW 82048 (or 92048)


First time JOYCE is executed (by invoking xjoyce) you get an option for "Setting up boot discs properly". Press enter and select "Disc file..." in the next menu.

Now you need to browse to the place where you have one or more .dsk disk images for things like Locoscript or CP/M, as the Amstrad PCW isn't very useful by its own (no BASIC on ROM!)

These images aren't freely available for copyright reasons, but you can find them on the Internet. For example here.

Download the appropriate images and extract the .dsk images to your ~/Joyce/Disks folder (it's created by the emulator the first time it boots).

Browse to and select the CP/M image, press enter, continue. Name the disk as CP/M when asked, press enter again.

You can add more boot discs now. Maybe LocoScript? Press Yes, repeat the previous operation (Disc File... etc).

When done you get the welcome screen:

JOYCE welcome screen

You can now press 1 or 2 to boot from the discs you set up in the previous steps! :-) (These discs are in Spanish so you might have problems if you don't understand Spanish. Me... this is the exact version of the first software I ever used so I'm truly at home there! haha)

But before running, let's set it up to look green. Which is the proper thing for a PCW to look!

For the settings:

  • Press F9
  • Press F6 (settings)
  • Choose Video
  • Choose green screen
  • Choose EXIT
  • Save settings (press OK)
  • Exit

Now press ESC to go back to JOYCE if the blueish area with options is still on top.

The colours are now much better! :-P

Now just boot with whatever you like. Enjoy!

Locoscript welcome screen

Some hints: there are games in the page I linked. There's also an Spanish Amstrad forum where a huge Amstrad PCW compilation ("Megapack 2011") has been assembled. It includes many things, from mags to software, though fundamentally in Spanish. Here's the relevant post.

Remember you can press F9 while using JOYCE to reboot, go back to JOYCE menu, change settings, etc...

CP/M Box


This emulator seems terrific, sadly it's just for Windows and the author doesn't seem interested in doing a port to any other system :-(

Developed by a Spanish guy --proving, once again, how strong the Amstrad market was in Spain back in the times!