What is Vectrex32?

Vectrex32 is a project to bring the Vectrex Arcade System into the 21st century by controlling it with a 32 bit microcontroller (μC). The major benefits are that more powerful games can be written and writing those games will be easier, thus enabling more people to do so.

I thought of multiple approaches to adding a 32 bit μC to the Vectrex. The one I settled on (for now) is a Smart Cartridge (“SmartCart”) that plugs into the game cartridge slot on a Vectrex. It contains a 32 bit microcontroller on which games or other applications can be written, and a dual port memory chip that is used to send commands to the Vectrex.

Although the Vectrex has not been manufactured since 1984, people are still writing new games for it. These games are usually written in 6809 assembly language, and the skills required are rare. With the SmartCart, games can be written in interactive interpreted BASIC. It is my hope that the SmartCart will enable more people to write games for the Vectrex.

Who is Behind Vectrex32?

I am a software engineer and an electronics hobbyist. I bought my Vectrex back in the early 1980s, when it was still in production. At the time, I owned a SwTPC 6809 computer that I programmed in assembly language. The 6809 was a beautifully architected microprocessor, and I greatly enjoyed programming it at the time, but I have no desire to do it again.

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