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spaceship flying through space. Then the player is in-
vited to either start the game or run a screen calibration
Vectrex consoles being somewhat analogue in nature for
displaying Vector graphics can have different X and Y
drifts. As a result, each Vectrex console displays graph-
ics slightly differently. This can result in the screen im-
ages appearing tilted for some games on different Vec-
trex consoles. In addition, if a particular Vectrex is not in
good condition, graphics that should be visible on the
screen can be presented just off the edge. On a game
like the built in Mine Storm, screen tilt and offset can be
barely noticeable because all the objects on the screen
have their own distinct movements and are not normally
positioned close together at regular distances. However,
with a matrix of objects extending across the screen such
as in a Space Invaders type game, the screen tilt and
offset can be very noticeable. Vectrexians includes an
easy-to-use calibration routine to compensate for any tilt
and offset in order to give a near perfect picture. Provid-
ing a calibration routine is not new. Alex Herbert‘s YASI
Vectrexians by Kristof Tuts (Vectrex) space invader clone for the Vectrex also offered calibra-
tion. However, the Vectrexians‘ calibration routine is Available from Kristof Tuts (
much more sophisticated, but at the same time just as
kristoftuts/kristoftuts/index.htm) for about $77 US easy to configure. Four rows of aliens are presented on
Sound the trumpets! Beat the drums! For all Vectrex the screen and by using the joystick and controller but-
owners, it‘s time to rejoice. Homebrewer Kristof Tuts a/ tons, the player has to line up them up. Depending on
k/a Tutstronix has released Vectrexians! the condition of the Vectrex, this configuring time typi-
cally takes around 20 seconds.
For those not aware, Vectrexians is an excellent Vectrex
rendition of the 1979 Namco arcade game classic Gal- The only negative about Vectrexians is that once the cali-
axian. At the time, Galaxian advanced on the theme of bration is done, the compensation parameters are not
Space Invaders by having hordes of aliens that also swirl stored in the cartridge. This means that unlike Vectrex
and dive-bomb toward the player‘s spaceship. Addition- Yasi, the player has to configure the calibration whenever
ally, Galaxian was also the first ever color video game. they switch on the Vectrex and start the game for the
Prior to that, video games were black and white and used first time. What calibration does do though is make even
colored transparent strips to give the impression of color tired Vectrex consoles display the game as the author
– a technique later borrowed for the Vectrex console in intended. So it‘s worth performing the calibration every
the form of screen overlays. Although Galaxian used time for full game enjoyment.
raster scan color graphics, the game concept and graph- Game play itself involves the player shooting with his
ics representation has transferred well to the vector spaceship through the attacking waves of aliens. Each
graphics of the Vectrex. level starts with a wave of aliens moving left and right.
Vectrexians is already known to seasoned Vectrex fanat- As in the original Galaxian game, there are four types of
ics. The demo version of this game has been available aliens having different characteristics in terms of aggres-
for some years as a downloadable binary and has been sion and score value.
available on some multi-game cartridges. Early in 2007, At regular intervals, individual aliens separate from the
prospective purchasers could pre-register for the game, pack and dive-bomb toward the player‘s ship and at the
and in April of this year, Kristof announced that the game same time, drop a succession of missiles. With the num-
was available to buy. ber of vector lines used to provide detailed representa-
Although this is a homebrew, what you get is a real well tions of the aliens and the player‘s ship, and together
executed package rivaling game products from commer- with so much movement on the Vectrex screen, you
cial software houses. The game includes the cartridge, would expect a lot of flicker as can be witnessed in some
the overlay, a small manual, and a box to store every- other Vectrex games. However, with Vectrexians, this is
thing in; and oh, what an overlay! It has been profes- not the case. When the game is viewed via the overlay,
sionally made using silk screen printing, it is as well the flicker is near minimal. There is still some very slight
made as any of the original overlays, and it really does shimmering visible although this does not detract from
enhance the game with the vivid coloring. Likewise, the the game enjoyment.
game box is also very professional looking and would Like the original Galaxian when there are just a few
complement any gamer‘s shelf. The needs of Vectrex aliens left over and they are attacking, the dive-bombing
collectors are addressed, too. Each cartridge is shipped aliens perform low altitude, looping motions. Vectrexians
with an individual serial number (shown on the game also has swooping aliens which are accompanied by a
start-up screen and a sticker on the inside of the box). couple of escorts as in the original Galaxian. Shoot these
However, this is not a limited series. The first batch run to get maximum points.
is 150 games, and if there is more interest in the game,
Kristof has said that he will start a new production run. In terms of variety of game play, the increasingly difficult
waves of aliens may seem a bit repetitive in this day and The actual game play is near identical to the original Gal-
age, but this is a reflection of the original Galaxian game. axian with the exception of the start and end animation
For retro gamers, this won‘t be an issue. After all, there screens. When the game is first started, the player is
is a goal for the player – to wipe out all the aliens for treated to a 10-second animation of a 3D pre-rendered
(Continued on page 14)
13 | Video Game Trader Magazine | June 2008 |
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