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I want to program dead consoles



In addition to the 2600 & 7800, I have the desire to program the Vectrex. I grew up in the golden age of video games and vector games were part of the magic. The Vectrex also uses a 6809 - the processor I first programming in ASM.


In brief, the way the Vectrex draws vectors is:

1. Set the Y velocity

2. Set the X velocity

3. Turn on the beam

4. Turn on the integrators which change the X/Y velocity into X/Y position

5. Wait for timer to expire

6. Turn the integrators & beam off

7. Repeat


Back in the day for Atari this sequence was handled by a simple state machine which read a series of instructions stored by the main program. Years ago I thought it would be interesting to do something similar for the Vectrex by doing all of the movement via an interrupt routine which would return to the main program during step 5. Unfortunately, I've since learned the timer isn't for that many cycles so there's no point.


But I also came across an interview with Christopher Salomon, who worked on the original DOS Vectrex Emulator and created VFrogger. He pointed out the Vectrex is a dead machine. No matter how much people enjoy it, no more will ever be made. (Especially for the Vectrex with it's vector CRT.) We might play games via emulators, but that hardly recaptures the magic of a true vector display.


But it got me to thinking, I noted on another forum that games like Pac-Man are now over 30 years old, so the vast majority of machines which still exist are likely in private hands. Well the same could be said for old consoles. So why put a lot of effort into creating for somthing that's already dead?


'Cause it's cool, I guess. And current platforms just don't have the same level of to-the-metal programming which I enjoy.


And part of me still wants a Vectrex...


Recommended Comments

Please seriously consider programming for the Vectrex!

I have spent the majority of money on games and accessories for the Vectrex, and I don't have all that many things really.

I don't know what kinds of profit these home-brews make, but consider these facts.

Lots of excellent home-brews are not available as rom files. Best example would be Vector Pilot (Time Pilot). That limited edition game with two overlays was around $80.

Also I spent $80 for Warrior, also a limited edition that hasn't even been completed yet.

$38 spent for Debris Revisited from the author's webpage (there's one on eBay for $40).

There's a game called Sundance which I never saw in the arcade, but there's no test rom and it looks like a puzzle game so I wasn't interested. You can get the game for $30. Did you see how much the three limited edition box set of Sundance went for on eBay? $320 ?, $342.37, and $520.00!!!

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