My  page

 

Contents

 Background

 The systems I own

 Current Projects

  Rounders

 Previous Projects

 VectRace

 Vaboom!

 My Games MultiCart

 Full blown MultiCart

 General Programming

 Favorite Links

 Return to my home-page

Background

In late 1982, General Consumer Electric (GCE) released the Vectrex for $199. The Vectrex wasn't just your average game console, however, and even to this day there has never been a videogame system quite like it.

The Vectrex was a completely vector graphics based system, hence its name. Vector graphics are the kind of graphics used in such popular games as Asteroids, Battlezone, Space Wars, and Tempest. At that time, most videogames used raster graphics, which utilized pixels. Vector graphics, on the other hand, are basically lines. The Vectrex also had its own nine by eleven-inch monochrome monitor. The system looks a little like a black Macintosh.

To compensate for lack of color and to cut down on flicker, plastic overlays were provided with each game to create some illusion of color (or at least put a pretty little border around the game). The Vectrex shipped with a built-in game, Minesweeper, an Asteroids clone, and one four-button joystick.

In early 1983, Milton-Bradley acquired GCE (and thus, the Vectrex). Milton-Bradley immediately expanded the Vectrex's distribution overseas. By summer, distribution had begun in Europe, but by March '84, sales were cut off.

From there, the downward spiral continued and the Vectrex was gradually phased out as the videogame market collapsed. Eventually, it was discontinued and all rights to the Vectrex and its related materials were returned to the original developers, Smith Engineering. Today, Smith Engineering has graciously condoned the not-for-profit distribution of any of the Vectrex's duplicable materials, including games, overlays and manuals.

Interesting sidenote: Abel & Associates converted the Vectrex into an "entertainment device" for use in malls or pizza parlors. For a quarter, you could have the machine perform the "Luscher Color Test" (yeah, that's a great application for a monochrome machine), in which you would pick colors in the order that they appealed to you. Then the machine would tell you about your personality. Wah hoo.

The Vectrex came close to coming back from the dead in 1988, when Smith Engineering thought about resurrecting the Vectrex as a handheld unit. Unfortunately, Nintendo's Game Boy was released the following year, and the idea was scrapped.

 

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The systems I own

 GCE VECREX + Controller, Released 1982.

SN: 0034335

Modified Sega Genesis controller,

Thanks to Rob Mitchell.

 

Auto Fire box,

Thanks to Rob Mitchell.

 

Modified Vectrex Light Pen (MVLP) S/N# 0001

Thanks to Brett Walach and Rob Mitchell.

 

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Current Projects

 

ROUNDERS

 Started June 2000

Introduction

Rounders is a game based on an original idea. This is basically a pong game where the center of the screen is the barier, which the ball bounces back from.

It may sound easy but as you get to play near the top of the screen the more challenging the game becomes …

 

New - As of today, 2/24/2001 the game is the first Vectrex game (as far as I know) that supports the Atari Driving Controller. To play, simply plug the Driving controller into controller port 1, the Vectrex controller into controller port 2 and start the game using the Vectrex controller. Please note that at this time, the button on the Driving controller is not in use.

 

Credits

Rob Mitchell for the original idea.

Instructions

Your goal is to get the higher possible score with 9 balls. To start your turn, press button 4.

There are 4 levels in this game:

Score/Hit

Player mode

Novice

1

Visible

Intermediate

2

Visible

Expert

3

Visible

Super!

3

Invisible

Sounds easy? – Give it a shot!

Cheats

Not available in that game!

Source code

Click here to get the latest source code.

Bin file

Click here to get the latest (demo only) version of Rounders (Updated 2/24/2001).

Overlay

Click here to get DVE emulator – Yet to be completed….

Screenshots

Intro. Screen

 Actual Game

 

 

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Cartridge

Not available at this point.

 

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Previous Projects

At the collectors meeting that was held in "Videogame Connections" on November 6th, 1999, I was one of the lucky guys who had a chance to see and play John Dondzila's VECMANIA. I was fascinated and decided to write my on games on this amazing machine. VECTRACE is my first game.

VECTRACE 1.01

January 2000

Introduction

VECRACE is my first Vectrex game. I developed it in order to learn and understand this fascinating machine. The game now supports both the original controller and the modified Atari 2600 paddle.

Credits

Brett Walach for the great assistance, ideas and comments.

Stacy Davidson for the great overlay done for the DVE emulator.

Instructions

Your goal is to complete, level 3 with maximum points. In each level, within a different given time, you must pass a given amount of cars as follows:

 

Time

Min. cars to pass

SHAPE*

Max. possible points

Level 1

45 Sec

35

10

540

Level 2

35 Sec

65

20

1470

Level 3

25 Sec

40

40

3120

For each car pass you score 10 point. However, in level3, passing the different looking car adds 30 points to your score, BUT, if that car passes you, you loose 40 points!!!

In case that the "min. cars to pass" number has not been reached and the time ends up, you loose one of your cars and have to restart the level again.

*You can hit other cars, but only for a short while - The shape statistics shows what is how damaged is your car. When this number gets to 0 you actually loose that car. The "SHAPE" value varies from level to level to improve your chances to complete it.

Cheats

    1. At the welcome screen, pressing button 2 instead of button 1 will also start the game - but - with no statistic labels printed. This mode has no flicker and faster response time.

Source code

Click here to get the latest source code.

(Will be activated when the development is done).

Bin file

Click here to get the latest version of VECTRACE (Updated 4/10/2000).

Overlay

Click here to get DVE emulator overlays - courtesy of Stacy Davidson.

The zip file contains overlays for all screen resolutions. To play without the original (on screen) labels press 2 (instead of 1) at the beginning of the game.

Screenshots

Intro. Screen

Level 2

Level 3

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Cartridge

Can be obtained from Mark Shaker through his web site

Winners

Yes! This also happens! The following section lists the people that completed all the game's missions and provided me with a photo of the end screen.

#

Name

e-mail address

Date

Picture

1

Al Backiel

Albackiel@aol.com

June 10, 2000

Here…

 

Congratulations !!!

 

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VABOOM! 1.0

March 2000

Introduction

VABOOM! is a modified clone of one of ATARI 2600's best games - KABOOM!

In order to provide the player with the same feel of the original game, it supports the modified Atari 2600 paddle controller

Credits

Brett Walach for the great ideas and comments.

Chris Salomon for the great programming assistance, introduction music support and text print routines.

Rob Mitchell for the modified ATARI 2600 controller. This really adds to the fun of the game.

Mark Shaker for the comments and support during the development of this game.

Instructions

Your goal is to catch as many bombs as you can. If you miss a bomb, you loose one of the 3 paddles you start with. Along the gameplay, the following shapes will fall down:

Heart - Catching it will add a paddle in case you have less than 3 of them.

X shape - Catching it will take away one of your paddles.

Diamond - Catching it will add 100 points to your score.

Once in a while a caught bomb will bounce back at the man at the top. In case it hits the man, two bricks that support the bar that the man is moving along would explode. In case you hit the man 10 times, all the bricks holding the bar are gone and the bar holding the man will fall to the bottom. At this stage, you start a bonus round! During the bonus round, missing a bomb won't remove any of your paddles, however, catching a bomb will add 30 points to your score.

Scores:

Regular bomb

- 10 points

Bomb @ bonus round

- 30 points

Heart

- 50 points

Diamond

- 100 points

 

Source code

Here it is… But, use at your own risk! I definitely can tell that this code is non-optimized, un-commented well and, sometimes - inefficient… (Updated 3/14/2000)

Bin file

Click here to obtain the latest version of VABOOM! BIN file (Updated 3/14/2000).

Overlay

Not available yet.

Screenshots

Intro. Screen

Game start

Level 1

Click on the picture for a larger image.

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My Vectrex Games MultiCart 1.0

May 2000

Introduction

 

In an effort to save cost and storage place for vectrex fans, I decided to have both of my games incorporated into a single cartridge. The game selection is done through an on screen menu. Every program in this cartridge supports both the original vectrex controller and the modified Atari 2600 paddle - including the menu game selection.

Bin file

Click here to obtain the latest version of Ronen's Games Cart BIN file.

Cartridge

 

Cartridge Label

 

 

 

 Click on the picture for a 300 dpi, real size image (when printed).

 

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My Full Blown MultiCart

June 2000

Introduction

 

I always had an idea how it should work. I think that I completely understand the way the old version (with the dip-switches works), and since I don't have (at this time) the currently sold multicart, I started looking into how can I build my own. I've never seen a working vectrex multicart in action, never opened one or played it. All what I did is implemented my own ideas in the best way I could think of.

Features

Prototype

A picture of the first working prototype is shown below:

 

Prototype picture

 

 

 

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Click here to obtain a version of the documentation.

As I stated in the document itself: My intentions are to explain the concept and nothing more. Under any circumstances, nobody should use this information to (mass) produce and/or sell multicarts based on this idea, using the exact same concept and/or code presented in this document.

The document can be best viewed with "Adobe Acrobat 4.0", click here to get it for free.

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General Programming

Line.asm

This short program demonstrates the usage of line patterns supported by the BIOS procedures in the Vectrex. I wrote this program when I developed VECRACE to learn the process. This program polls buttons 1 & 2 (controller 1) - for the movement speed.

In two words: the basic idea is to change the patterns of an existing line according to the "movement" speed.

Rom.asm

This program dumps the EXEC ROM of the Vectrex onto the screen. The starting address is 0xF000 and the end address is 0xFFFF. Use Controller1 buttons 1 and 2 to jump in 0x10 addresses steps or 3 and 4 to jump in 0x100 addresses. The BIN file is available here.

This is the first step in the effort to dump the EXEC ROMs into a flash…

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Favorite Links

Spike's Big Vectrex Page

For everything related to Vectrex and more…

John Dondzila's page

The one who inspired me to write my own games…

Mark's Video Game Manufacturing page

All what you'll need to make your own cartridges…

Brett's Vectrex Preserve

Everything related to the best home video game ever made…

Good Deal Games

Comprehensive site for video game related topics.

 

 

 

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Last Revised: February 24, 2001

This page had been reviewed 76047 times since Dec. 22, 1999