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Saturday 20th February - Missing your pads?
There's a very common problem with my Vectrex consoles and I suspect other Vectrex owners have this issue too; - I have a few controllers and most are missing their feet.I decided to address this recently in an early Spring cleaning excercise.

The controllers lose their rubber feet pads over time. It's not surprising since the glue holding those pads no doubt has perished considering that the Vectrex is now more than 37 years old. Actually, upon closer investigation, for some of the pads they are still present but it looks like their thickness has shrunk or rubbed down over time.
Measuring existing pad dimensions
Lose more than one pad and if you are using the controller as intended on a flat surface, the whole controller can end up skidding across the table during frantic game playing activity. Even worse though, the skidding action will put more stress on any remaining pads, and eventually the bottom of the controller surface will rub and get scratched from the surface it is on.

I took out my trusty callipers and measured an existing orphan pad: diameter 6.9 mm and thickness 1.3 mm. There is some tolerance to be accounted for the measurements as being rubber there is some movement when closing the calliper jaws.

What can one do? Finding the exact flat rubber feet replacement appears nigh on possible. You could punch your own feet out from a rubber sticker pad but of course you need the tools. Searching on eBay there seem to be no flat rubber pads with the right size but there do seem to be a lot of pads called "small silicon self adhesive stick on pads" or “bump ons” (the type often used on kitchen cabinet doors) with near enough the right dimensions (I ordered 7 mm diameter, 1 mm thickness).

So I ordered a set (take care to order black and not translucent) and they are perfect. With 1 mm thick pads the controller bottom just clears the surface it is on. Obviously, when applying the new feet, take care to clean away any of the old glue residues and old rubber gunk so the pad recesses in the controller appear empty.

With my next purchase of pads I think I'll go for 2 mm thickness to get slightly more clearance. The result is a very stable positioned controller on a table and with no risk of the controller getting jettisoned when I’m frantically hitting button 4!
Removing old pad residue

New Bump-on rubber pad stickers

Sunday 3rd January - Happy New Year !!!
Another year gone, and boy what a year. Any sort of reflection on last year and one has to mention the “C” word. All our personal lives aside, the COVID19 pandemic even impacted on our Vectrex hobby; Vectrex homebrews come from all over the world, and we all experienced delays for international purchases, slow updates from the Vectrex community in general and even a COVID19 virus inspired Vectrex music demo that played tinkly music-box tones from the DNA code of the COVID-19 virus was released.

From my own experience, I know I was late in shipping out overlays to many customer because I would often arrive at the post office in lock down, to see a queue of 20 persons, and decide to go back home and try on another day.

Vectrex highlights for me last year were the release of Malban’s Vector Blade game, Malban's release of Vectrex Berzerk Ultimate. and the announcement of the finding of a couple of unknown hardware and software prototypes.
The hardware prototype foud was yet another Vectrex case design that was never released, and the software prototype was an unknown game called “A crush of Lucifier”. This game is still not in the public yet, but the discoverer Steven Salter, is attempting to extract the binary and promises he will share with the Vectrex community. The game itself is an unreleased prototype but the gaming mechanics presenting you in a 3D space envrionment look quite advanced for a 1983 game.

In the background Thomas Sontowski continues to update and improve his VecFever offering and shortly before the end of last year he released a “Christmas” firmware update with completely new menu software, new games and new Vector MAME emulators. The first thing to note is that the the VecFever is truely international, with its menus and many of the included games available in English, French and German.
New to the VecFever are also ports of the RPG games Akalabeth and Dungeons of Daggorath. If your are into shoot-em-up type games, these are definitely not for you, but these slower role playing games do offer a different genre to the Vectrex platfrom.

Thomas, has also included VecFever optimised versions of some of the original GCE games including a faster, smoother graphics version of Web Warp. You can now even run Jereon Domburg’s 2015 tech demo which he calls Voom. This binary allows you to roam around in a Doom like 3D environment on the Vectrex. For the latest VecFever firmware (V2.22 at time of writing) you either have to go to his website, or contact Thomas direct if you don’t have the website login details.

The only criticism made about the VecFever cart is that it is so good that everyone wants one and there are not enough to go around. Currently there isn’t any sign if more will be made. There have been other carts released such as Brett Walach’s Vextreme and Graham Toal and team’s PiTrex, but they all offer different functionality, and it’s the VecFever thats at the forefront for me.

Last year, due to work pressures, I did not have too much time for my Vectrex hobby and indeed even updates to this website were slow. But a big thank you to all those Vectrex fans who have contacted me with comments about the website and offered Vectrex news – this helps to keep me going. Having dialogue and feedback with like minded Vectrex fans makes the hobby even more of a pleasure. I would love to hear from you if you have any Vectrex related news. Happy New Year!
A crush of Lucifier

Dungeons of Daggorath

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