Here’s an Interesting read about the history of the Vectrex. The site layout might look a bit old now (retro) but there’s some great content here. I really enjoyed my visit so here’s the link -
Two and a bit days and counting until the release of the Vectrex emulator for ios devices and a new teaser trailer showing the app in action. Looking pretty damn smooth if you ask me.
Come on clock, count down already
Phew, a very looooong day today but one that has seen many, many laughs and a whole bunch of retro gaming goodness with friends old and new.
A cold, dark, wet and very early start for the RCM admins as we needed to meet up at HQ early enough to pack up around 30 computers/consoles, associated games, attachments and monitors, transport them all to the event in Derbyshire and have anything set up before the doors opened at 10am.
We must be getting good at this after all these years as we soon had everything organised, loaded up and ready to roll within record time. Who says bloke’s aren’t organised!….o.k, I got slightly lost on the way to the venue because I’d forgotten the postcode
We were met on arrival by our hosts Chris Snowden & Shaun Bebbington and got stuck into to setting up the three rooms with everyone’s favourite gaming gear.
Yet another TV for the pile Jim.
In this room we had the MB Vectrex, C64, ZX81, Atari 2600, PC Engine, Amiga 1200, Commodore 64GS, Atari 800, Nintendo Gamecube…
…and not forgetting the VIC-20
Into one of the areas linking the next room we had the BBC Master, Nintendo N64 and a Sega Megadrive/Sega CD setup and Karls Everdrive SD cart playing a rather funky looking port of Angry Birds…on a Megadrive!
I didn’t get chance to take a good look at this today but will certainly be giving it a try when I’m back there tomorrow.
The next room housed an Xbox 360, Nintendo Virtual Boy (was being a bit stubborn at the beginning due to a loose mains cable but we managed to get it going in the end), various hand held electronic games, SNES, NES, Sony PSX, Atari Jaguar and Chris’ iCade with Mame and various emus.
Finally, we had one of the smaller rooms housing a Sega Dreamcast, PS2 with twin steering wheel setup (I rather enjoyed a spot of 2-up rally action with Jim this afternoon), Amstrad CPC 664 and a Sega Master System.
There was also, various Commodore C16/Plus 4 hardware set up from Chris humongous collection. All in all i think that there was something here for everyone and so with the doors opened and a few eager retro gamers ready to get going, we had a coffee and got cracking.
As the event was being held on the outskirts of Derby City centre and only a stones throw away from where Core Design had their office, I thought ‘When in Rome’, I’d re-play some of the games they produced including Lara Croft – Tomb Raider, Chuck Rock and the AGA-Tastic Banshee. The latter is a game I didn’t really play a great deal when it first came out but had since rediscovered it a few years again. It’s certainly one of the finest looking Schmups on the Amiga.
A good start to the day
I don’t stand a chance of getting anywhere remotely close to the type of scores that Jackie was racking up on Drop Zone on the Atari. A real pro in action! Note the cartridge in the the C64GS…it’s a port of the classic C16 version of Kickstart.
Max was kind enough to show me his (wip) port of Cosmic Ark to the C64. Damn well addictive, can’t wait to see the finished results.
Well, my score on Mayhem on the ZX81 is improving, but my 51 is no match for Stu’s 65. The challenge has been set for tomorrow
After lunch and getting to know a few other folk that arrived this morning and then the now obligatory Soul Caliber tournament on the Sega Dreamcast. I was also looking at some of the emulators running on the DC, and noted the how well they ran from CD and in particular with VGA box, how crisp they looked. Mental note to investigate further on my own setup.
Checking out some homebrew games for sale. Mmm Commodore games!
Andy sampling a bit of Commodore Plus/4 homebrew gaming with Adventures In Time
Impressive (but unfortunately not complete) this next game plays and looks very similar to Amalyte on the C64 and has an amazing soundtrack thanks to the use of the SID chip addon cart that Chris has for his Plus/4. I forget the name of the game (X3no, Xe3o?) so I’ll take another look tomorrow and capture some footage.
One system that I don’t really play a lot on is the Atari Jaguar. Apart from the odd game of Tempest, I rarely sit down to explore some of it’s other titles and RCM has got quite a few so I thought I’d take a look at some of them this afternoon. I was certainly impressed by Power Drive Rally, Cybermorph and the conversion of Syndicate so that’s another note to take a closer look into the Jag.
More homebrew and I spotted a few new cartridges for the C64/C64GS including one of my favourites, the truly bonkers – Quod Init Exit. <see previos blog post - http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/c64-homebrew-quod-init-exit/
That pretty much wraps it up for day one. As always, bags of fun when the RCM chaps get together and nice to meet and chat with a few new people. Bring on day two!
Oh and one last thing..Beam Rider on the ZX81 – That little black box continues to surprise.
The Raven’s Retro Nest are selling the lite (uncased) version of their 72 in 1 Vectrex multicart until 15th November at a bargain price of just £29.99 which also includes world wide shipping.
I’ve had one of these cartridges for a few years now and is brilliant way way to sample every single Vectrex game (including variants, demos and Homebrew releases) in one cartridge for use on he original hardware.
See previous post from waaaaaaay back – http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/vectrex-72-1-multicart/
It’s a flippin bargain at the price and an essential purchase for any Vectrex owner.
Full details and a list of included games can be found here -
I’ve got one more day off work today and so I thought I’d take a look through the bag of goodies containing a few items I picked up from Play Expo.
As well as the Atari 2600 games and two homebrew Commodore C64 cartridges I mentioned in my last post I also picked up a small batch of early copies of Edge magazine. These include some the issues written at the time of the launch the 3DO, PSX and Saturn consoles or the release of a now retro classic game. The others I picked up contained articles of interest like this issue with a cover feature about Llamasoft and a indepth interview with Jeff Minter.
Free to all visitors of Play Expo was this rather cool event program which has been designed in the style of a tabloid newspaper At the time I only glanced at it but now back home I can appreciate how much work has gone into it. There’s some really great content here and such a great idea for a program design.
I also picked up issue 3 (and the early issue zero) of Retro Fusion, an independent retro gaming magazine produced by Chris Wilkins (Boyo). One of those great scene magazines written by fans for fans and produced to a very high quality.
I was rather chuffed to see that one of my own photographs appears in the magazine (the one on page 20 with Ocean Software guys Mark Jones, Gary Bracey and Jim Bagley) and as thanks, Chris personalised my copy with his signature. Mark Jones was also next to me and signed my copy too. As a fan of his work from early ZX Spectrum games, this really made my day!
You can read more about Retro Fusion and order a printed copy yourself (or digital version if you prefer) right here – http://www.retrofusion.me.uk/
So with these and a couple of issues of Amiga Future (and not forgetting the latest issue of Retro Gamer Magazine) that’s me sorted for magazines for a week or two.
I haven’t tried them yet but am looking forward to testing the new connection leads I picked up from the Tech-Shack. I brought one for my BBC model B and another for my Sega Megadrive/Master System. Each provide Scart/Composite as opposed to naff RF so I look forward to a much better picture on my TV. They also had a flyer for Commodore SD2iEC devices and a new MMC internal storage device for ZX Spectrum +3. There’s no details on the website yet, but i’ll try to get some more info on these. What is interesting is the low prices!
Amongst the flyers and info cards, one in particular caught my eye and is about a rather interesting Indiegogo project to build a UK based classic arcade hall in the UK. Sounds like fun? Head on over to www.epicarcadeproject.com for details.
One of the best freebies I picked up at the Expo was after chatting to a chap called Dan who is linked to the Vectrex Regeneration project. As you may know, I’m a huge Vectrex fan and this project aims to bring the Vectrex to the iPhone and iPad (Android to follow), complete with authentic Vectrex ‘buzz’, screen overlays and WOOT WOOT iCade support. All original Vectrex games will be included in the app as well as app packs that contain some of the harder to find homebrew releases. This is one app I’m eagerly awaiting and Dan hinted at a November release. Checkout the awesome project at http://www.vectrexregeneration.com/
We got chatting about all things Vectrex and I mentioned Dr Phu’s 21″ DIY Vectrex which he is very much keen to see. I’m sure we can set something up at RCM when Phu has it working again (see previous blog post – http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/wip-demo-of-dr-phus-homemade-21-vectrex/ ) Any-ho, admiring Dan’s Vectrex Regeneration Polo Shirt, he pulled out a spare from a pile in his backpack and gave me one. See me grin from ear to ear!
Penny Arcade have posted an interesting interview with the guys who are working hard on the Vectrex emulator for iPad/iPhone – Vectrex Regeneration.
In it they discuss how things are progressing and some of the obstacles they’ve encountered along the way. Like many, I cannot wait for this one and so it’s particularly exciting to read further news on what is going to be an awesome-ness app.
Here’s the link-
Had a fantastic day of retro gaming and catching up with old friends today as well as a sneaky peak at Richards (Dr Phu’s) homemade monster 21″ Vectrex.
There’s still a bit of tweaking to be had to get the graphics to display correctly but so far it’s coming along very nicely. I took my Vectrex multicart along with me so we could see it running side by side with the same gaming running on the original Vectrex. My iPhone pictures didn’t work out so well but I was able to play a reasonable game of 21″ Berzerk.
Richard and his baby.
I’m currently working on a set of reproduction Vectrex overlays (for the regular size Vectrex that is) and had taken my Minestorm overlay with me to work yesterday to take measurements and make comparisons with the ones i’d made via one of our enterprise laser printers. I still had it in my bag with me today so I thought we’d have some fun
…and a quick video of it in action.
One of my favourite old school platforms has to be the MB Vectrex console and my favourite modern day platform has to be the Apple iPad. Mash them together as an app and I would be a very VERY happy man if I could play Vectrex classics on the go.
‘30 years ago, a totally unique games console was launched using vector – not raster – graphics. It had such an impact that games are still being made for the platform today. We bought our first Vectrex in 1982 and we still love it! Built by Vectrex fanatics for a new generation of gamers. Vectrex Regeneration. Coming soon to iPhone and iPad.
From the press kit -
For iPad and iPhone.
All of the original Vectrex game releases included with the app.
In app purchase of new Vectrex indie and Homebrew games – please please please can someone include VeCave.
Full retina graphics mode for you lucky iPad 3 owners.
Can be played on a larger TV thanks to AirPlay.
Two player mode using additional Ipad/iPhone.
Auto Fire mode – Fortress of Narzod would be bonkers with auto fire : )
Game Centre compatible for high score posting and competition.
…and the best bit
As you can tell, am rather excited about this release….and let’s hope they release it soon!
Here’s a great resource for fans of classic vector based arcade game –
Here you’ll find whole heap of info about the companies that produced them, the games themselves and plenty of photos, marquee, artwork and flyers etc.
Although its not been updated for a while, the diary of the restoration of classic Star Wars cockpit arcade machine is well worth a look.
I’ve been playing quite a lot of Atari’s Lunar Lander whilst on holiday via the Atari iOS collection as well as being reacquainted with my MB Vectrex and so this was a rather nice place to visit inbetween gaming sessions.
May I also recommend these three brilliant remakes of classic vector games from http://tardis.dk/wordpress/
Rip Off (windows)
Omega Race 2006 (windows)
Omega Race 2009 (windows/mac)
Am back from our week away exploring Manchester, the Lake District and Liverpool and whilst in the area ‘up north’, I popped in to see my good mate JT and also to take a looksee at his latest retro gaming goodies.
Not only having a one hellava monster Jamma cab, JT now has a lovely new/old Silent Scope gun. Couldn’t shoot for buggery with it myself therefore had to hand it back to the marksmen to see how it’s done
Whilst sampling TMNT 2 on JT’s Capcom Impress cabinet (which might I add, is a pleasure to play on and am seriously thinking about getting one of these cabs myself), modifications on my 48k Speccy began.
Composite modding and the results compared to RF is amazing. Thank you very much mate.
Now maybe JT can explain how this works much better on his own blog than i can, but was hugely impressed with a conversion of the Mega CD FMV classic Road Avenger playing on a standard SNES!
I also collected my MB Vectrex and a few other bits whilst i was thetcance I’ll be testing out my DIY colour overlays before I send it down to the Retro Computer Museum.
…but before that, I still have a few days off work and intend to hook up my DivIDE to my modded Speccy for some static free gaming – thanks again JT!
I’m still hopeful that someone somewhere might be able to help me track down a copy of VeCave for the MB Vectrex or indeed for emulation via ParaJVE (see previous post – http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/homebrew-gaming-weekend/ ) but until then I thought I’d have a look around Apple app store to see if there’s anything that’s similar.
The first is iCave which pretty o.k. It runs lot faster than the Vectrex version but then maybe the Vectrex homebrew version is in fact a lot slower compared to the original Palm OS/Windows 3.1 original? The turning arc of your worm is very quick and so keeping it level is quite challenging as you navigate your way down the cave tunnel and around the block obstacles. Touch screen control works really well here.
iCave also let’s you change the colours of the cave terrain, worm and obstacles via three RGB sliders found in the options menu. Bight orange, pink and yellow anyone?
O.k, it’s doesn’t have that intense phosphor glow you get with the Vectrex, but it looks pretty close? No?…no, didn’t think so too
The second game is called SFcave.
Here, your worm’s turning speed isn’t so quick and with rapid touches, it fairly easy to keep it in a straight line. This means it doesn’t quiet play the same as VeCave but compared to iCave, this is much more fun to play….especially during moments when there’s hardly any room between cave roof and floor. One of those games that makes you think ‘how the hell did I make it through there!’
SFcave also offers a selection of level enhancements such as moving obstacles and playing a level in reverse. Unlike iCave, SFCave is free app, although you have to purchase the rather bizarre looking 3D 1st person version.
Red 5 standing by!
I’m also on he hunt for other homebrew versions and clones of SFcave for PC or older computers. I’v found a rather cool looking 2008 version for the Commodore c64 and also this video from a PC w.i.p project. Sadly, it’s an old video with no further updates therefore I’m not sure if it was ever finished?
Of course, there’s always the immensely popular Jetpack Joyride which is loosely based on SFcave mechanics. Such a great game that gets better each time you play.
Does anyone out there have any recommendations? – especially for the ZX Spectrum?
I’ve been up north in Manchester today to indulge in a day of retro gaming at an event dedicated to the wonderful world of homebrew games. Playing any number of classic games on older systems is always great, but as i’ve discovered today, playing and discovering new (or at least very recent) homebrew titles with the usual crowd of retro gamers and friends has been bags of fun.
Heading off early on this glorious spring type day…soon to change and was a bit of a (nice) surprise to enter a brief winter wonderland when driving up high in the Pennines.
It’s a shame I only had my phone camera with me, it really was beautiful up here.
No time to waste, got to head off to get my game on.
I must be getting used to finding the Lass O Gowrie pub, the venue of the todays event, as I didn’t need my GPS this time, despite white knuckle ride into the heart of the city centre on a busy Saturday morning – make one mistake and it seems you may be going the wrong way on a one way street :-s
It’s nice to be at ‘The Lass’ again and it’s been a quite a while since I was last here. Eurocon was held here in 2010 and what a great weekend/event that was.
Upstairs, retro computers and consoles were set up and despite this being a small event, there was a whole stash of titles to play. After saying hello’s and catching up my friends I spotted a Vectrex console and Jon’s shoebox stuffed full of Homebrew cartridges.
Scanning through the pile of carts i noticed quite a few here that I’ve not played or have only seen screenshots/YouTube videos. It was great to finally play games like Protector (Defender), Vectrexians (Galaxians) and Omega Chase which looked and played every bit if not better that the Midway classic Omega Race that it’s based on.
VeCaves – never heard of it, but was I in for a treat!
VeCaves is one of those utterly simple yet hugely playable games that becomes very addictive…and I spent ages on this one. Simply press button three to increase your snake, worm,light trail-thingymebob’s altitude or let go of the button let gravity pull you down. With this rudimentary control, you have to dodge and avoid obstacles and try to last as long as you can without hitting anything and your score increases.
VeCaves quickly became very popular with the attendees today and so it wasn’t long before a bit of a of competition was formed. You wouldn’t think by looking at my video footage that I scored the highest (1012)…although in my defense, it was only my second go when I shot this..the sun was in my eye..my controller was faulty etc etc
A really nice collection of Colecovision and Atari homebrew games. Road Fighter on the Coleco was really good as was the Atari 7800 homebrew port – Asteroids Deluxe with its rather novel 2-up battle and co-op mode.
Homebrew gaming on the Acorn Atom computer.
I couldn’t get a good shot of this rather excellent Bomberman clone on the BBC Micro. Shame we couldn’t get the joysticks working properly either.
I had my iPad with me and so I passed it around with c64anabalt running on the Commodore 64 emulator and it appeared to be well received keeping a few busy whilst I practised for the next tournament on a popular event favourite – Castle Crisis on the Atari 800xl.
Now I’ve heard how great this Warlords clone is, especially when played with four players and yet, until today I’ve never played it before (pretty sure i have Warlords for my 2600) Even though i was no match for the pros, it was such a great laugh to play and my thanks to Helen for introducing me to it.
Although the event was quite a small affair compared to others, it’s focus on just homebrew gives it a unique approach and I hope they’ll be many more to follow. It’s something we ought to consider at he Retro Computer Museum.
When I got back home, so hooked on VeCave, I’ve started to research online to see if I could buy myself a copy for my own Vectrex. Sadly, it looks like only 100 copies were ever released and examples have been traded on eBay as high as $1000. Damn shame.
Wow, I was only saying the other day how I’d like to add more Vectrex coloured overlays to my collection (Berzerk in particular) and what do you know, two come up on eBay for a very low price.
Both arrived today.
The first is for the game – Rip Off. It’s not a game I’ve played very often before but am really starting to get into it in a big way and this overlay (if somewhat basic) adds a splash of colour and useful for a visual aid when them robbing buggers enemy ships start to come in think n fast.
Here’s the second.
At first I was a little concerned about the large number of surface scratches on the overlay, but once fitted to my Vectrex and with the game running they all seem to disappear.
I’m so happy to finally have my own Berzerk overlay, now I won’t have to battle out in black & white but super cool neon blue
As an added bonus, this overlay actually came with the Berzerk game cartridge. I already have it in my game collection so I’ll either trade it for another game or use the outer case as a new case for my 72-1 Vectrex multicart.
Next on the list is a Scramble overlay.
Taking a (short) break from all those Commodore shenanigans I had an idea to run the most excellent Vectrex emulator (ParaJVE) on my vertical mini Mame cab side by side with my actual MB Vectrex console.
As you can see, I’ve still not got around to painting my mini Mame cab yet due to having way too much fun actually playing with it. Work will recommence shortly!
ParaJVE is by far the best Vectrex emulator out there and includes such great features.
- Customisable graphics options including vector glow, anti aliasing, Vectrex console chassis and persistence settings to recreate that famous Vectrex phosphorous glow.
- Accurate reproduction of the coloured overlays for all the commercial, demo and home brew games.
- Like for like sound emulation including that authentic Vectrex buzz.
If you’ve not tried it before, or in fact have never played on a Vectrex console before, it’s well worth checking out ParaJVE.
Emulated – Minestorm
Actual – Minestorm game with transparent overlay.
Scramble is one game I’d really like for my Vectrex because I really like the colourful overlay. I don’t have the original game cartridge/overlay yet, but I’m still able to play the original rom via my 72-1 Vectrex Cartridge. Of course, the emulated version is complete with reproduced overlay.
After Scramble, Berzerk is another of my favorite games on the Vectrex, indeed any port of this game gets a thumbs up from me, but on the actual console with the analogue controls, it plays really really well. The minimalist graphic overlay is produced perfectly on the emulator.
Side by side Vectrex Berzerk – ‘Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert’….etc etc
Pole Position may look pretty good on the emulator, but it’s a bugger to play without analog controls. On the Vectrex, it’s much better…I so wish I had the colourful overlay though
ParaJVE not only contains all the original Vectrex games, but also has got quite a few homebrew titles like Defender clone ‘Protector’ and a great conversion of ‘Thrust’ complete with custom overlay. Many of the homebrew titles are also present on my 72-1 multi cart but sadly these two are missing. There are other Flash carts out for the Vectrex that will enable me to transfer Trust so maybe I’ll take a look at these in the near future.
As you can see from the screenshots above, I don’t really own many overlays for my Vectrex. In fact, the only one I have is for Minestorm. Occasionally the odd one will pop up on eBay but usually ends up sold for quite a hefty price.
I came across a site providing instructions on how to create your own DIY overlays and although they’re tricky to reproduce and results may vary, it’s something I’m going to be trying over the next few weeks.
Here’s a quick video of me loading Minestorm on both my fake and real Vectrex.