AY-3-8912 Programmable Sound Generator

The Vectrex uses the AY-3-8912 Programmable Sound Generator (PSG) to produce music and sound effects. You can control the PSG directly from the SmartCart using the Sound() subroutine. Your first source for information on using Sound() should be the Vectrex32 manual, but you can read the original AY-3-8912 documentation here:

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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.

Welcome to Vectrex32

Vectrex32 is a project dedicated to bringing 32 bit processing power to the Vectrex Arcade System. The goal is to make it easy for nearly anyone to write games for the Vectrex.

To accomplish this, I have built the Vectrex32. It’s a cartridge that plugs into the Vectrex, connects to your computer via USB, and allows you to write, debug, and run games using interactive, interpreted BASIC. It has a 32 bit microcontroller on board and a dual port memory chip that is used for sending commands to the Vectrex.

This page shows the latest news about Vectrex32. You can subscribe to its RSS feed to be notified of updates. You can download documentation on the Vectrex32 dialect of BASIC and the details of writing games on the Vectrex32. If you already have a Vectrex32, you can get the latest firmware upgrades. If you want to buy or build a Vectrex32, read the Buy page. You can also contact me.