20 December 2012

Vectrex VecMulti Review





Hi!
   In this post I´ll be reviewing the Champion of the Vectrex Cartridges: Richard Hutchinson´s VecMulti



   This cartridge is the most advance at the moment for the Vectrex console. It´s a Micro SD card Vectrex multicart with support for every game available.


VecMulti Package Contents
   The unit I bought from Richard it´s a "bare bone" one. He has no cases left so the VecMulti production is momentary stopped till he receives new cases.
   My VecMulti consist in a VecMulti board, a 128Mb MicroSD card and a cartridge sticker.


  

   I opened up one of my old original Vectrex cartridges and swapped the original board with VecMulti one. The board fits perfectly on the old case and the process took no longer than 2 minutes.

   Then I inserted it on my European late model Vectrex and turn it on. I really was surprised of seeing the VecMulti working in full glory as there are known problems with Vectrex Multicarts and newer Vectrex games running on the Vectrex later models.
   After a nice intro, the cart goes into the game selection menu. It consist of a series of 4 games pages. You can move between the different pages using the Vectrex control joystick left and right. You can launch any of the four games in each page with the Vectrex control four buttons.
   All the games in the MicroSD card are shown in the menu in an alphabetical order for easy finding.
   This menu it´s an easy and relatively fast method of accessing the games stored at the Micro SD.



Installing games
   The MicroSD card has two directories:
   - Games: where you save your Vectrex games
   - Utils: where two utilities are stored (ROM_patcher and VecMulti)
         ROM_patcher is a tool for fixing games which conflict with the menu
         VecMulti is a file loader for use in developer mode.
   In the MicroSD card root there is a utility called "MenuMaker.exe". This little program is used to (re-)create the VecMulti menu.

   These are the steps you must follow to install new games on this cartridge:

   1.- Copy the new games to the directory: Micro SD card:/Games
      Rename the games file extension to ".bin". This step maybe be unnecessary but I haven´t tried "*.vec" file names yet.

   2.- Run the program Micro SD card:/MenuMaker.exe




   3.- Push button "MAKE"
   4.- Wait till it says "FINISHED" and then close the app
   5.- Carefully insert the Micro SD card back into the VecMulti cartridge.
   6.- Try the new VecMulti Menu you´ve just created.
   7.- Technical info. The games are stored in their original format in the Micro SD Card:/games folder. The "MenuMaker" app creates another copy and stores it in the card´s root directory using filenames like "XX.men".
MenuMaker "About" menu

NOTE: MenuMaker executable has been tested on a Windows 7 Ultimate X64 environment.


Technical details.
   The board can be connected to USB/Serial for development.
   The micro SD card must be formatted in FAT filesystem.
   The micro SD card must be less than 2Gb size.
   The card socket is a 'push-push' type (i.e. push-click card in, push-click card out).
    Games file name should be less than 14 characters or automatically will be trimmed before being displayed on the VecMulti menu system



   And now a little video showing the VecMulti cartridge in action



Pros:
   Works with all Vectrex games
   Nice, easy and fast game menu selection
   High quality board

Cons:
   This is the "perfect" Multicart solution for the Vectrex system. Really there is no "con" against it. The price tag is high BUT you pay what you get, a high quality product.
   Some people should say the cartridge must be open (very easy operation) to access the Micro SD card, but ALL the Vectrex games can be store in any Micro SD card so this operation it´s not going to be very frequent.

1 comment:

  1. I like this blog very much and I think that it has a lot of interesting information about video games and about Android.
    Ark-iyos, make new posts like the ones that you have already posted and, congratulations!

    ReplyDelete