Empire strikes out

January 1, 2013

Today I learnt a valuable lesson. The 1980s Star Wars arcade games don’t translate well onto home platforms, not even the mighty Amiga.  I fired up Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back today and was left feeling pretty underwhelmed when comparing the experience with my time spent in the cockpit of the original arcade cabinet.

It seems that when you strip away the cabinet itself and replace the original vector graphics with standard wireframe 3D, Star Wars loses appeal like a clean shaven Wookie. The conversion is reasonably faithful, with good sampled speech from the films and decent frame rate as you whirl around taking out Tie Fighters and Walkers but the whole gig pales in comparison with the arcade experience.

Probably a game best suited to being put on the Vectrex, and then having the Vectrex mounted inside a replica Star Wars cockpit. But then, if you’re going to go to all that trouble, you might as well just shell out a couple of grand for the arcade machine!

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My games room – wide angle style.

December 26, 2012

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Updated collection pictures

November 18, 2012

Just took a fresh round of photos to add to the collection page here, so if you’ve got a few spare minutes, head in and check them out :). As usual, as soon as I looked over the pictures I realised I’d left plenty of things out, but these will have to do. One day I’ll be clever enough to get a comprehensive gallery in here of everything I own.

Vectrex: Armour Attack

September 10, 2012

Armour Attack – though originally released as a full arcade cabinet – was virtually a shoe-in for conversion to the Vectrex in 1982. The arcade version shared so many traits with the Vectrex, they were both vector based systems, both using overlays to give the impression of colour, there was every compelling argument to add Armour Attack to the Vectrex library of titles.

I’ve never had the pleasure of playing Armour Attack on the arcade original but don’t cry me  a river just yet, because I do have a complete boxed copy for the Vectrex. The box contents have been spread out on the floor for your viewing pleasure.

Like the game itself, the manual conveys scenes of military carnage using ultra-simplistic images. Tanks? Sure – we’ve got tanks, but they’re just boxes with lines through them. Ahh, the never ending charm of the Vectrex.

Onto the game proper, and there’s not a terrible lot to figure out. You have a tank, you’re in a maze, and your primary focus is avoiding the fire of other tanks/jeeps/helicopters and executing them with barrages of ammunition.

There’s no music as such – being a Vectrex title – but there are enough bleeps and blips to keep you entertained as you navigate the maze trying to stay alive. The game is made more difficult than it should be by the limited Vectrex controls.

Stick movement only rotates your tank, you have to hold button 3 to move forward, and button 4 to fire, so you end up a bit all over the place when the action gets frantic. Not a bad game, but not one of the finest on the Vectrex. Maybe the arcade version had better controls? Anyone played the original and would care to comment?

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What’s the point of games, if not to play? :)

September 1, 2012

A few shots of the games room in action. Always nice to see a bit of a crowd enjoying the various retro games :).


January 28, 2012

There’s only one reasonable excuse – one plausible explanation – for why I haven’t updated the blog in so many days. Did the four horses of the Apocalypse trample me while I was sleeping, leaving me to wake up with hellish hoof prints all over the bedroom and evil horse shit on the bed? No.  Did someone strap me to a chair and force me to watch Star Trek: Insurrection so many times on repeat that my brain finally atrophied and my eyeballs turned to liquid? No.

So what then? Well it’s simple really, I finally scored my first Arcade cab!  Yes, that’s right folks, I finally own a circa 1993 dedicated Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine, and it’s been sucking up all my time and making blog updates seem like a distant memory. It’s very cool, the sound and visuals are top notch and the artwork is perfect.  There are a couple of minor things I’ll want to touch up / add (like the red/blue buttons and MIDWAY stickers on the sides) but for the most part, it’s picture perfect. Speaking of which, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, ladies & gentlemen I give you the new crown jewel of the collection :).

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