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2020
Monday 17th February - Vectrex Radio is back!!!
After around a year and half since episode 10, Vectrex podcasters Rick and Willie are back with Vectrex radio episode 11.

They announce that the podcast format has changed since the earlier episodes in that they now split the show into two halves, a review of one original Vectrex game and one home brew game will be featured. In this episode they cover Space Wars and VecMan. In actuality, they still briefly cover a range of Vectrex news and games.

Definitely worth a listen. And if you want to watch/listen to the previous podcases you can see here.

Thursday 2nd January - VecFever website
Thomas Sontowski, creator of the VecFever cart, has produced a website to support the VecFever. Here you can get the latest VecFever firmware plus all the latest vector arcade emulator games (you would still need to source the MAME ROMs). In addition he has included brief explanation about certain aspects of the VecFever and Thomas's other Vectrex projects. Visit the new VecFever site at www.vecfever.com.

*** Post Note *** - it seems I was a bit premature with this announcement, the VecFever website is still curretly being developed and whilst there is further content being added, the website is currently password protected.

Wednesday 1st January - Happy New Year !!!
Another year has gone by and the Vectrex community is alive and well. New hardware and software continues to be released. Astonishing for a games console that was released in 1982!

For me there have been two significant game changers for the Vectrex in recent times. The first is Thomas Sontowskiís VecFever and the various enhancements Thomas made to it in 2019, including the ability to play emulated vector arcade games which work in conjunction with specific MAME ROM set zip files. With this capability, itís now possible to play 28 original arcade cabinet Vector games on the Vectrex. I particularly like Battlezone, Red Baron, Star Wars, Tempest, War of the Worlds and Demon.
The only Criticism made about the VecFever was that there were not enough of these wonderful carts released but there are indications that Thomas is likely to make another batch for release in 2020.

Whenever, there is a game changer, a sure bet is that other solutions will follow and due to the shortage of VecFevers (Thomas made less than a 100 I believe), there are promises of capability and evidence for new cart solutions for release in 2020 from other home brewers. Namely, Brett Walachís VEXTREME (based on Sprite_tmís open source solution) and Graham Toal and teamís PiTrex. Like the VecFever, all these solutions share the fact that the cart contains a high performance modern day microcontroller used for processing the game code, with the Vectrex in effect acting as an output/input device for displaying the graphics, making the sound and getting the user input. This allows for graphic intensive games not possible on the Vectrex alone. The result for the VecFever are games that look and play near identical to the originals.
The second game changer is Laurence Bennionís ultraviolet glowing Vectrex overlays. Shining an ultraviolet light onto the overlays gives a unique glowing imagery with the Vectrex vectors. Depending on the brightness of the UV light, the vector graphics appear either below or above the overlay imagery. The result is almost holographic and it gives a unique visual quality not seen before on any other games console. My plan is to give a full review in 2020 including the use of different UV lighting techniques.

Regarding my own Vectrex contributions, progress has been poor. In the background Iíve been steadily selling out all my existing overlays. A new overlay released in 2019 was the Test cart overlay. I was able to make a like for like copy of the original through the support of Chris Romero and Roland Huber. These quickly sold out, and I have already ordered a second batch from my local screen printers. These should be available in February 2020. Regarding my other Vectrex activities, my Auto fire dongle, game, and website, I suffered a big set back in March last year:- a catastrophic hard disk failure! I didnít loose everything as I did make a backup a few months before, but I didnít have a copy of all my latest stuff - so the last few months and future months will be occupied recreating missing files. In addition, I am not back up to 100% productivity as many of the PC programs I used were either 16 bit or 32 bit and do not run on my new Windows 10 computer.

Iíve already mentioned particular home brewers in this blog but I would like to give shoutouts to the following home brewers: Thomas Sontowski, James Watt, Malban, Chris Binarystar, Richard Hutchinson, Chris Parsons, Robin Jubber, Brett Walach, Graham Toal, Chris Romero, Laurence Bennion, Razmasynth, Peer Johannsen, Bob Alexander, Sean Kelly, Frank Buss, David Flemming, Andy Coleman, and Jason Kopp. :- A big thank you for helping to keep the Vectrex alive with support and new developments!

Finally, I would like to say thank you to all those Vectrex fans who have contacted me with comments about the website and offered Vectrex news. 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.