Vectrex homebrewing godfather exiting the ring :(
The very sad news just erupted of Classic Game Creations stating on its web site that it will cease business on December 31. Hard to believe that the very first game homebrewer for the Vectrex is calling it quits due to too many projects and work. Lets just hope that someone will take it over and keep the games in production and wish John Dondzila the best for the future.
Vectrex label variations?/Rare paperwork, part 2
Any old school gamer that goes back to the Atari 2600 days knows very well that, with the console’s huge success, there was such a thing known as "label variations", due to Atari cartridge labels being in all lowercase letters/having a silver border around them, whereas other later ones were in all capitals, still later ones had picture labels, etc.
However, due to the Vectrex having pretty much zero third party support (as GCE created just about every single game for the console), it was a bit of a surprise to some to see recently that there actually are some Vectrex cartridge label variations!
Vector gaming forums member dgo posted several photos of some of his Vectrex collection, showing several game variation labels where the crest to the sides of the game titles were in blue, not the usual green that most of us are familiar with. All of these were the Milton Bradley brand as well, indicating that they probably all originated from non-U. S. markets.
Also, in the previous edition of the news, we told of rare documents that were shared on the same site, and more of that continued with a photo of a very rare Vectrex Club membership card, among other stuff! That can be seen here.
A rare video of the unfinished Cube Quest (which, interestingly enough, says "Cube Wars" on the title screen) was put up by YouTube user pepijn69. Another rare video (or maybe the only one) of performing repairs on an original Vectrex controller was uploaded by William Culver. And even though it was released as an unlockable game on the original version of Protector LE, what is believed to be the first video ever for Spike Goes Down was put up by pepijn69 (again)!
A Lego Vectrex Tutorial was also uploaded by Thelegoman99991. Yep, that’s right, he made a Vectrex (sorta) out of Legos! Granted, it doesn’t look much like our favorite vector machine, but it’s the thought that counts.
There was also the "Vectrex Autopsy" video put up by Stephanie McKeon, which, even though there isn’t much information presented, it gives us a safe view of taking apart a Vectrex for those of us who are too scared to do it ourselves, lest we were to shock ourselves without properly discharging the unit first.
Plenty of gaming videos included one of a few Shifted presentations by LaserActiveGuy. A brief rare 3D Minestorm video by koopasoldat was also uploaded since the last news update. Also -- and although its been out for a few years -- one of (if not THE only) the few videos of Vectoblox (this seems to be a recurring theme in this edition of the news) was added by LaserActiveGuy (which the same goes for City Bomber, which has also been out for a few years, but there hasn’t been many videos of it, which that can be seen here).
Tuawvideo also released a brief video in regards to an interview with one of the founders of the Vectrex Regeneration app, and theawesomegamr did a few videos on Melody Master, his Vec Fu demo cart, believed to currently be the only one in the world (see the last section of this news edition), and the Sulake slide demo for the Vectrex (on the vectrexmad channel) and the This is a non-playable demo (also on the same channel). Wow/whew!
Apparently not being content with Vector 21 and Royal 21 being the only card games for the Vectrex, and also not being content with not seeing any income of the exploding voodoo and/or zombie genres that is ongoing with many other current entertainment venues, FURY suddenly released the Hexed! game, mixing the horror and card genres (say what?). A video of it can be seen here.
After like two years of delays and all, the AtariVox+ hardware accessory was finally released recently. Sure, it can be used for the Atari 2600 and 7800 consoles, but it is also backwards compatible with games that make use of the similar predecessors of the VecVoice and VecVox, such as Y*A*S*I and Spike’s Circus, adding vocals to the games (and sound effects to others, such as Debris Revisited). Another version should also be available through the Atari Age store as well, complete with a different box.
And new homebrewers also enters the ring! A person (and his accomplice) going by his online handle of KidQuaalude announced and posted a ROM file to be played on Vectrex emulators or flashcarts for his Nagoya Attack game, which is based on the Japanese-released arcade game of Mini-Vaders. Here the invaders do not fire, and there are usually not many of them during a wave, but they are usually placed in certain positions on the screen where they will quickly move downwards and invade the player if they do not respond fast enough to them, ending the game then. The player’s laser base is also quite large, as well as the bonus U. F. O. that appears. There are also plans in adding voice to the game as well, making an additional game to use for owners of the VecVoice and/or an AtariVox+.
And if all of this wasn’t enough, that’s just one game! There will be another shooter paired with the game on an upcoming cart, along with a clone of the controversial Death Race arcade game, so keep an eye out (and possibly skull for the latter) for those. (You can read about and download Nagoya here, as well as read about it on the vector gaming forums- related thread here and see a brief video of it here.)
Also, for a while on his official site, the next game from Kristof Tuts (who created the Vectrexians and Vector Pilot games to rave reviews) looked like it was going to be Vector Hopper, a Q*Bert clone. However, now Vector Patrol, a clone of Moon Patrol, has since been moved up. So this looks to be an interesting development.
New and upcoming pages
A bit of a strategy guide was added to Gravitrex Plus, having a lot of tips in general, then specific strategies for every single planet on level one, along with tips for the included games of Patriots III and Paratroopers! The final two levels will be added for Gravitrex at some point; until then, if you need some tips, you can just go to that page and look for the tabbers under the Links section at the bottom, as Gravitrex has its own tab, and Patriots and Paratroopers share another.
Also, a new page was created for Vector Wars, which is a series of Vectrex-exclusive contests held by Retrocade Magazine, plus a new Thrust secret was added to the Vectrex easter eggs page and a poll was added for which similar games are your favorite, having Space Invaders-, Asteroids-, Gravitar-, Kaboom!-, and Missile Command-like games to be voted on (five separate ones to vote on all in one poll, in other words!).
Various Vectrex oddities
Finally, we close with a couple of Vectrex oddities that made us scratch our heads over. One was a video showing the original Vec Fu demo on a cartridge, along with a posting of an Irish overlay (?) and a version of Thrust that said on the box it was was from GCE and had its own overlay (??). Ok, so the latter two were just April Fools pranks, although the Vec Fu cartridge was legit, as John Dondzila can reproduce any Vectrex cartridge ever released (except for AnimAction, due to the included RAM), including homebrews, as long as he has the author’s permission. Dondzila confirmed this by answering theawesomegamr’s e-mail by saying "I think someone sent me the binary image of the game and asked me to burn it onto a cartridge."
So until next time, keep the Vectrex alive, and beware of pranks!