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Vectron - Opinions? (Intellivisionaries)

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We're covering Vectron in the next episode (31). The general consensus seems to be the game is too difficult, doesn't make sense, and no one gets past the first couple levels.

 

Personally, I don't feel this way, as I played the heck out of it as a kid, and have been playing it again leading up to the episode. Without a doubt, the game can be frustrating, and it has its flaws, but it is one I really enjoy playing, and I feel like I'm pretty good at it.

 

What say you? We'd like to include viewpoints from Atari Age in our coverage.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my Keyboard Component using Jack's Conversational Intelli-talk cassette

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The game never grabbed me.....I got it after the crash when games were discounted a lot. I picked up a couple of dozen titles that I didn't have as well as helping my friend buy an Intellivision II and Burgertime plus dozens of other games dirt cheap.

 

I plugged it in.....looked at the weird game play.....started to read the instructions and said 'to heck with this!'....unplugged it and meant to learn how to play it some day.......that was in 1984........

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I rode my bike out to the local Murphy Mart (Target type Store) to get this one night as a young teen when my parents left me alone for once. I blew thirty bucks on it because it looked cool and futuristic. I liked the computerized title screens, but felt the game was impenetrable. I thought maybe I just wasn't that bright, and was later gratified to see that many others shared my opinion.

 

I have no particular desire to go back to it again, but even if I did, it would be difficult to emulate it because I think it uses all 16 positions of the disc. I suppose it's on the Flashback. I hope you can produce an interesting podcast about it that makes me want to play it again now that 30+ years have gone by.

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I love this game. Always did. I never found the control to be terribly difficult, but maybe that was just due to persistence. :P

 

Graphics: Awesome! Loved the vibrant use of color, the awesome font, animated text.

Sound effects: Loved those, too. The sound with the spark that traces out text between levels, bonus block, etc. The buildup when you finish a level... great stuff.

 

Getting deeper into the game to get to the blue meanies and prizms was always super exciting.

 

One of the keys is to be able to get the hang of toggling between freestyle and 'locked' control. But if you had glitchy controllers, or ones with dead spots, the game would definitely drive you crazy. You really do need all the directions in the lower half of the disk to be working well, or you'll burn through energy quickly.

 

It's really kind of a clever 'raster-friendly' take on Tempest -- which perhaps is one reason why this game is one of my favorites.

 

You need to develop skill to blast the E-PAK (memory may be failing here) before it gets corrupted, flip to freestyle, and pick it up so you're invulnerable and able to build your blocks quickly - after going back to 'locked' mode of course.

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To this day, this is a game I really want to enjoy. I probably just need to play it to death until it comes to me. Tron Solar Sailer used to be just as frustrating for me but now I really enjoy TSS and hopefully Vectron will follow suit! I'm hoping for some tips, strategies etc from this episode to help guide me along the way. :)

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I played it in spurts as a kid.

I do recall sitting down with the manual on a few occasions and giving it a thorough reading.

I like the game, but I've not played it since.

All this talk is starting to get my Vectron-juices flowing. I think I have new reading material for a future visit to the throne room.

 

I like the sounds and graphix, and I wonder if an Intellivoice enhancement would add to the experience.

Joe Z has previously posted the level 99 rom - that is the last possible level in the game. Clear that level and you win!

It was posted in the Which Intellivision games are winnable? thread.

Or more directly here: http://spatula-city.org/~im14u2c/intv/dl/vectron99.rom

Anyone up for a level 99 challenge?

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I played it a lot when it came out and I liked it for the most part.

 

I seem to recall the control of it was weird, so now I will pull it out today for future review!

 

Thanks for sparking my interest again!

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I remember reading about it in anticipation before the release (one of the Intellivision newspapers), but didn't get it until log after the crash. Then I couldn't remember why there was such a build-up: the game was h-a-r-d. The graphics were great but I felt like the game was unplayable. I promised to come back to it "later" which never came... I am sure that if I played it right now, sure as I am sitting here typing this, I would suck at it once again.

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I don't remember sucking at Armor Battle or Sea Battle or Utopia nearly as much. Are you doing those games for 2017?

 

 

I remember reading about it in anticipation before the release (one of the Intellivision newspapers), but didn't get it until log after the crash. Then I couldn't remember why there was such a build-up: the game was h-a-r-d. The graphics were great but I felt like the game was unplayable. I promised to come back to it "later" which never came... I am sure that if I played it right now, sure as I am sitting here typing this, I would suck at it once again.

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Vectron (along with Maze a Tron) is one of those games that looks so interesting, but I never took the time to figure out. I really need to some day.

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Vectron (along with Maze a Tron) is one of those games that looks so interesting, but I never took the time to figure out. I really need to some day.

 

For Maze-a-tron, I had the maze part figured out, and I liked that part. When it came to the MCP portion of the game, I used that time to take a break, use the restroom or grab a drink/snack while the MCP was doing whatever it wanted until I was thrown back into the maze.

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I've given Vectron some time. I read the manual and tried a couple different control options. The game begs for twin stick control. This would be a fun one to see for XBLIG or the PS Indie game offering.

 

It feels like a sort of design project rather than a playtested game. It manages to use all of the side buttons and the 16 directions, but the gameplay mechanic of not being able to move just stinks. I found myself wondering if I was in "freestyle" or the other movement mode and ended up testing my controllers on other games to make sure my side buttons were working (they were). I can respect what they were trying to do here, but a few simple changes/hacks would really help the game.

 

1) Play a sound or give me a visual cue when I switch into freestyle. If I know what mode I am in, I can actually plan what to do.

2) Use the upper half of the disk to switch to freestyle

3) Just get rid of the movement limitation completely. Let's try to play with precise & slow free movement and add a game variation that requires switching (or don't because that part is not fun).

4) What should I do when the E-Pak is not reinforced besides wait? This is a bad design choice that the player will lose a life and must avoid yellows. Give me a way out of this no-win situation besides waiting for a reinforcement that may never come OR I may not be able to pickup.

 

With all these things wrong, this doesn't get any votes for best game from me or even a playable game. I have tried to play it as part of the Xbox 360 Gameroom app and that was a little more fun, but not enough to make me want to go back to it.

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Interesting opinions here. I'm going to reserve most of my comments for the episode, but I will definitely talk about the posts here in the review.

 

But I will say while it does feel clumsy at first, if given enough time (which most of us did as kids because there was usually a very long period of time between new game purchases, so we MADE ourselves play whatever new game we got), the game is payable, and enjoyable. Yes, it can be very frustrating, but once you grasp the concept, and the controls, it makes sense (like Steve said above).

 

There are definite strategies to use on different levels, and with different 'nasties' (as they are referred to in the manual) And there is a lot of switching between normal and freestyle modes, again, depending on the level and strategy being used.

 

I'll go into more detail in the review.

 

Oh, and if anyone wants to submit a score, we'll read them out on the show.

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I got Vectron around Christmas 1982. Had it for about a month before returning it to the store. I really liked the visual and sound effects but decided the game is just not good enough. Like many Intellivision games you have to read the instructions. But still this game has issues.

 

Controls are a problem, I don't like using both right and left side buttons in an action game ("claw grip"). There's only a handfull of Intellivision action games that do this and it makes it awkward and uncomfortable. Controls in these games should be symmetrical; use either the left or right side action buttons for right or left handed people. Using an emulator you can remap all the disc and button functions however you want. You can even setup dual disc control and use the disc to move and enable freestyle. If you have the Nintendo DS version you'll see they remapped the disc fire actions to the touch/key pad.

 

I'm not sure if fixing the controls is enough to save this game. You have to get through 16 levels to see all the different enemies and the game gets frustratingly hard.

 

I'd like to have seen the game play changed so movement is controlled with the disc as a spinner control; no need for a freestyle function. Vectron was inspired by the game Tempest, it would have been nice if it captured the speed of movement from that game.

Edited by mr_me
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I got Vectron around Christmas 1982. Had it for about a month before returning it to the store.

 

They let you return an opened game after a month? Wow!

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Never had it BITD, but first discovered it sometime in the late 90's and quickly dismissed it. First impression was that the controls seemed broken and the game wasn't compelling enough for me to want to stick with it. Probably didn't have the manual, but wouldn't have mattered much as I believe action games should pretty much be 'pick up and play'. If you need a manual for such a game, probably more trouble than it's worth. And that philosophy has rarely - if ever - let me down. ;)

 

That said, some of the comments and explanations here have me semi-curious about Vectron again. Will have to give it another try sometime soon... or not. Probably not. Think I'll just watch a YouTube vid of it instead. lol

 

-edit-

 

Just watched some... and_I'm_spent. You guys and gals have "fun" with Vectron. :rolling:

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They let you return an opened game after a month? Wow!

Consumers Distributing and only at Christmas. The idea was that you'd have a few days after Christmas to return gifts. But we bought the game in early December and played them all month.

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Never had it BITD, but first discovered it sometime in the late 90's and quickly dismissed it. First impression was that the controls seemed broken and the game wasn't compelling enough for me to want to stick with it. Probably didn't have the manual, but wouldn't have mattered much as I believe action games should pretty much be 'pick up and play'. If you need a manual for such a game, probably more trouble than it's worth. And that philosophy has rarely - if ever - let me down. ;)

 

...

Not with the the Intellivision. I liked complicated games and I liked reading instructions. Definitely a difference in philosophy from Atari. [That "easy to learn, difficult to master" philosophy was necessary for arcade games to suck quarters from you.] Edited by mr_me

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Not with the the Intellivision. I liked complicated games and I liked reading instructions. Definitely a difference in philosophy from Atari.

 

Not just Atari, but any action or Arcade styled game. There exist lots of great and complex Intellivision games, but they're more along the lines of strategy games of course. Natural you'd need and want to read a manual for strategy games. Unnecessarily and overly complex action games though? Especially ones designed around the Intellivision controller that uses so many buttons as you pointed out. Like I said, more trouble than it's worth. Saps the fun right out for me.

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I got Vectron around Christmas 1982. Had it for about a month before returning it to the store. I really liked the visual and sound effects but decided the game is just not good enough. Like many Intellivision games you have to read the instructions. But still this game has issues.

 

Wow! I've always heard of Americans 'taking things back' to the store. I thought that was an 'American thing' . However, in Hamilton, the custom was really 'unless it is defective and you need a replacement, you own it!'......I'm really shocked to hear that you got a return after a month.

 

I once bought a 'Synth' for the C64 at the local Commodore Computer Store.....and, from the description on the box, it seemed really cool....it was fairly expensive, so I was expecting a real keyboard that plugged into the joystick ports and used the program. I was shocked when I opened the box to find out that it was some plastic piece of crap that overlayed onto the C64 keyboard and looked like the kind of plastic airplanes made in Hong Kong in the early 70s. I took it back, literally a couple of hours later, and insisted I get my money back. I guess I really should have known because it was too light to have been a real mini keyboard. They pointed this out and they refused to refund my money and take it back until I made a big deal about how much money I had dropped there and threatening a boycott and to tell everyone how they sold me this piece of crap for a ton of money.

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Consumers Distributing and only at Christmas. The idea was that you'd have a few days after Christmas to return gifts. But we bought the game in early December and played them all month.

Man did I love that store , so many memories purchasing Games /Toys ext there. Flipping through their catalog and the excitement of seeing them go in the back room and bring your purchase to the counter.

Lots of Christmas time memories.

For sure.

 

Cheers 🍻

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Wow! I've always heard of Americans 'taking things back' to the store. I thought that was an 'American thing' . However, in Hamilton, the custom was really 'unless it is defective and you need a replacement, you own it!'......I'm really shocked to hear that you got a return after a month.

 

My mother sells fine jewelry. People buy expensive pieces all the time, use them for a wedding or other special event(s), and then return the pieces six months later.

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Man did I love that store , so many memories purchasing Games /Toys ext there. Flipping through their catalog and the excitement of seeing them go in the back room and bring your purchase to the counter.

Lots of Christmas time memories.

For sure.

Cheers

I liked their tiny pencils ;)
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I joined Mattel Electronics in January 1982. When I started, the company was located in a small area on the first floor of the Mattel Toys office building.

 

When I started, The Mattel Electronics staff had already filled up the area allocated to them, so Mark Urbaniec and I were put in cubicles on the second floor, mixed in with people who designed catalogs, I think (I can't remember what they did actually...).

 

Anyway, while I was trying to get up to speed on how to program the Intellivision, I would chat with Mark about the game he was developing, which at that time was called "Vectrix".

 

The game was inspired by Tempest. Mark said management wanted something fast action and abstract. It was fun to watch it develop.

 

Eventually, Mattel converted an old warehouse into the "Mattel Electronics" building. Mark Urbaniec and Keith Robinson worked in cubicles across the aisle from each other, and they would compete with each other trying to add cool effects into their games (Keith was working on "Solar Sailor" at the time...)

 

I always liked the look and sounds of the game, but had mixed experiences playing it. Occasionally I would have a good run and quickly finish a level and feel good about it, but as the game progressed I felt more and more powerless, lurking in the shadows waiting for an energy boost to keep me alive while annoying bird like things picked apart the structure I had worked so hard to build...

Edited by catsfolly
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