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What's the expected format for a new Vectrex Release?

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What do people expect to be included with a new Vectrex Release?

 

Is it expected to come in a box that looks like the original, with a 'professional level' overlay as standard?

Is the game expected to come in a cartridge shell that looks like the original?

 

It seems like the box and overlay add a fair bit of expense to a Vectrex release, have home brew cartridges been made available without this?

If so what's the basic release that people would accept?

 

Without a big box and overlay I think a cartridge could be released for around £15.00 - not making much if any profit here but that's not necessarily the point.

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Its up to what the developer / publisher likes to do and feels comfortable with really.

 

The most basic physical release is just the bare board.

Make it a lot nicer by creating a cart label and by putting the board in a Sean Kelly cart. For me thats a proper release already.

Artwork for VHS cases or such, a printed manual could enhance it further. Printed boxes are even better but not "expected".

Nobody "expects" an professional overlay. Most games come without it as they are a pain to manufacture. 

 

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It's whatever you choose to provide, from binary only to full boxed edition with overlay, plastic box protector and other bells and whistles.

 

@phoboz releases his games on a loose cart, I think they originally came with just a hand-written label (maybe they still do).

Vectrex – Atari and Vectrex (tjocktv.se)

 

AFAICT, he seems to have sold plenty because they're well done, fun to play and people talk favourably of them, I certainly enjoyed playing SpideX in the most recent Vector War X

 

And here's the thing...his games are on GitHub, you could download the code and make your own cart, so no wonder they're popular titles 😀

 

 

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I've got some Sean Kelly cartridge shells, and printed labels done (on sticky-back photopaper) I can probably do a small box better than a full sized one.

 

I was thinking of making a very small run of the latest build of my Circus Vectrex game as a handful of people have asked for this. 

 

I did manage to make a semi-decent overlay, but it was a lot of work, a printable transparent sheet, putting Tipex on the back of the stuff I wanted to have opacity, and a laminating wallet to keep it covered and give it strength. There's probably a better method, but this was a mock up!

Edited by gorf68
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Or get someone else to publish it such as Packrat Videogames...

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IMHO... Put the bin online for players; sell bare boards (optionally in an SK case with a label) for those few who don't have a writable cart, and hand-make at most two dozen in boxes with manuals etc for collectors, sell 2/3rds of them and keep 1/3rd back for when the crazy people start bidding the prices up 🙂  Post images for people to make their own overlay, labels, manuals, and boxes.

 

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On 7/4/2021 at 11:08 AM, D-Type said:

It's whatever you choose to provide, from binary only to full boxed edition with overlay, plastic box protector and other bells and whistles.

 

The question is what is the expected format.  I assume that means consumers' opinions.  Otherwise the question would be in what format do homebrewists prefer to release games.

 

As a consumer and Vectrex fan I expect to see a cart game with an overlay and instruction booklet.  The Vectrex is known for 2 things, the vector graphics and the overlays.  I would hope for a box as well (partly to store the overlay) but I understand the issues with physical releases.  And "box" doesn't have to mean faux GCE box (grey, grid), either, I would hope that some releases would have alternate looks, like how Activision, CBS, SEGA, etc. had their own consistent looks for Atari 2600/5200 releases back in the day.

 

But there seems to be 2 types of consumers.  There's the cheap "I just want the game" collector who seems to live in a cardboard box and therefore has no room for boxed games, just one multicart to store all the games and doesn't want to pay for the extra physical crap, and the normal(?) collector who wants the games to look like they existed back in the day, meaning packaging and plastic carts.  The latter will pay more for well-done complete games, but not stupid more.

 

And most of us in the latter group fucking hate "limited editions" of just 25 or whatever games to try to artificially drive up the price.  Especially if it's only a cart and instruction book (if that), there's no reasoning for short runs, make a million of them if it's just 1s and 0s.  Boxed releases I can see being limited to a couple hundred but that blows, too, there are (as mentioned) 3rd party options to make the boxes and overlays and sell as many as demand... demands, there seems to be a few pipelines that can reliably spit out boxed games that rival the official releases now that the plastic cart holders and paper overlay envelopes are being reproduced.  I can understand wanting to hand off the box folding/gluing crap to someone else.

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There have been some many types of releases, it really is up to the developer.  Cart-only, cart with small box, "budget" releases with PCB boards with no cart shell, CIB with and without overlays, VHS clam shells with carts and overlays, carts with hand printed white labels, separate labels/manual kits sold or made freely available to "upgrade" cart-only releases, no physical media at all (just a digital release)...  Seems the options are limitless. 

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On 7/6/2021 at 4:15 PM, TrekMD said:

There have been some many types of releases, it really is up to the developer.  Cart-only, cart with small box, "budget" releases with PCB boards with no cart shell, CIB with and without overlays, VHS clam shells with carts and overlays, carts with hand printed white labels, separate labels/manual kits sold or made freely available to "upgrade" cart-only releases, no physical media at all (just a digital release)...  Seems the options are limitless. 

 

True, but which one is the "expected" format?  I don't know.  Do you?  I can only speak for myself and guess from how others react to certain game releases.  I will say there seems to be a universal frustration with making us jump through hoops to get a game.  Why go through all the hassle to program a game, develop it, get it finished and packaged... and then have some kind of random lottery or only make 30 of them?  Design the packaging, hand it off to Packrat or somebody, let us buy your game and you get some profits for minimal effort after the programming.  If that's how that 3rd party arrangement works, I understand that the publishing/distributing party needs to get paid, too.  But if you can create the next Missile Command and everybody wants one (or two or three) then why reject those profits?  The only reason I can think of is that the developer knows the game ain't that great and wants to fake interest by having a limited release to force competition and selling out the batch.  If the game is really good or great then every Vectrex fans who hears about it will buy one since new games are few and far between.  It's not like the 2600 marketplace where AtariAge will come out with 10 new games, maybe 1 or 2 5200 games, 1 or 2 Jaguar games, etc.

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Well I was always going to make this a small release, and there won't be an overlay. My reasoning is that this is what I still consider a flawed game, but some people (on another forum) have asked me to put my latest version on cartridge for them.

I'll probably just send it to the people who asked for it, in a 'proper' cartridge with a printed label in a small box (old style design) for around £15. As they have already seen/played an older ROM of the game and know what they are getting.

 

This was basically a trial run for me and I'm not trying to inflate prices with a low release number, or even make any amount of money out of this at all. I would hope these never appear on eBay for inflated prices (although that may be naïve) assuming the people who asked for them actually buy them. I definitely don't intend to 'scam' people with subpar games.  I don't have the time, money, or inclination to make hundreds of boxes, overlays, and cartridges. And I honestly don't think 50, far less hundreds of people would be interested in buying it anyway. So don't think I could go the publisher route.

 

I am working on a game that I was looking at doing a proper release for, if I ever get it finished, but there seems to be some hate if you aren't releasing hundreds including an overlay here. Something I was never expecting. So if I finish the new game I may end up just sharing the ROM file! That's what I've done with my test stuff that was mostly made years ago.

 

Thanks for all the replies, this has opened my eyes to how people think about homebrew releases quite a bit.

To be honest it's put me off a little, I don't want to make hundreds of games nobody may buy, and I don't want the hate of only producing a small amount of games, and seen to be scamming/inflating value if people do want more. Which they may then say are sub-par and over priced to start with! Suddenly a hobby seems more hassle that it's worth. I don't know who is, but I never considered making these cartridges to make money. £15 pretty much covers what I spend to make the cartridge, labels, and box.

 

 

The game is an updated version of this (no sound in the video, it has title music and spot effects), id hope no one would feel cheated for £15 plus a few pounds P&P:

 

Edited by gorf68
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15 hours ago, gorf68 said:

I'll probably just send it to the people who asked for it, in a 'proper' cartridge with a printed label in a small box (old style design) for around £15. As they have already seen/played an older ROM of the game and know what they are getting.

If you do this, please put me on the list for a copy.

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I'd be in for a copy as well.  The games doesn't have to have an overlay to work and anyone wants colors, a generic overlay can be used.  :)

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I'd be in for a copy too.  Looks like it's good fun.  I have plenty of overlays which  look like they would suit your game.

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On 7/8/2021 at 3:32 PM, gorf68 said:

Well I was always going to make this a small release, and there won't be an overlay. My reasoning is that this is what I still consider a flawed game, but some people (on another forum) have asked me to put my latest version on cartridge for them.

I'll probably just send it to the people who asked for it, in a 'proper' cartridge with a printed label in a small box (old style design) for around £15. As they have already seen/played an older ROM of the game and know what they are getting.

 

That makes sense.  My view of "expected" assumed a complete game with all the "bells and whistles" (title screen, music, detailed designs).  What you describe is also cool and many collectors (me included) are interested in them as well but don't expect full packaging for.  A physical cart, ya, maybe an instruction booklet as well.  But I bought SpideX and NightEx and those are just carts with hand-written labels.  So don't look at what I wrote earlier as an all-or-nothing view, it's more for the complete Stramash Zone type releases, as in this game is so cool it could/should have been in stores back in the day.

 

On 7/8/2021 at 3:32 PM, gorf68 said:

This was basically a trial run for me and I'm not trying to inflate prices with a low release number, or even make any amount of money out of this at all. I would hope these never appear on eBay for inflated prices (although that may be naïve) assuming the people who asked for them actually buy them. I definitely don't intend to 'scam' people with subpar games.  I don't have the time, money, or inclination to make hundreds of boxes, overlays, and cartridges. And I honestly don't think 50, far less hundreds of people would be interested in buying it anyway. So don't think I could go the publisher route.

 

What you describe is different, especially being a request from fans.  In your mind it's not even finished or worthy of a physical release but they don't care, please release it.  That's cool.  Ya, I wouldn't sell it on eBay, I haven't sold any of my video game stuff on eBay and I have some rare games and controllers.  On the other hand, the only way I could get a couple 5200 homebrew games (Binary Star games?) was because someone was willing to sell them (at high but not stupid prices) so I can't pretend I haven't participated in that end of collecting.  But, again, I would have preferred buying the game from the original seller (or 3rd party) if it wasn't already sold out years ago.

 

I would suggest that if you get a lot of interest, like people keep asking for carts from you, you might consider the publisher route.  Design an overlay, you might be surprised at the demand.  And maybe not, I don't know how the homebrew community works, some games' popularity baffles me.  And some publishers do the cart-only releases, takes the hassle out of your hands.  I'm an old-school Atari gamer so a Circus Atari (or even better the Circus game from Exidy) port is very cool even if it's primitive by many gamers' standards.

 

On 7/8/2021 at 3:32 PM, gorf68 said:

I am working on a game that I was looking at doing a proper release for, if I ever get it finished, but there seems to be some hate if you aren't releasing hundreds including an overlay here. Something I was never expecting. So if I finish the new game I may end up just sharing the ROM file! That's what I've done with my test stuff that was mostly made years ago.

 

I wouldn't go that far.  The only "hate" I see is for promised but never delivered games (justified or not).  That's all the consoles.  Which means don't even mention it until it's almost finished, otherwise fans are waiting for months/years for something that might never show up and they feel entitled enough to cry about it ("But you said you were going to...").  I had no idea that the 5200 version of Tempest had been expected for over 10 years?  Don't care, happily bought the game when it was finally sold here.  And, like has been said, many Vectrex fans don't want the full release because that's more money and they don't collect/keep boxes so why buy that anyway.  That's not me but there are many collectors who only want a cart (or a ROM) so don't let 'complete' bother you.  And, again, a proper release can always go the publisher route.  I wish there was an AtariAge pipeline for Vectrex games (options for buying a box/overlay for extra $$ to go with the cart itself).  I know there are 2 or 3 options out there but they differ in how the games are released/produced.

 

On 7/8/2021 at 3:32 PM, gorf68 said:

Thanks for all the replies, this has opened my eyes to how people think about homebrew releases quite a bit.

To be honest it's put me off a little, I don't want to make hundreds of games nobody may buy, and I don't want the hate of only producing a small amount of games, and seen to be scamming/inflating value if people do want more. Which they may then say are sub-par and over priced to start with! Suddenly a hobby seems more hassle that it's worth. I don't know who is, but I never considered making these cartridges to make money. £15 pretty much covers what I spend to make the cartridge, labels, and box.

 

Please don't be put off.  Expectations are not demands or requirements.  Do what you want, it will be appreciated.  I would guess the only time scamming/inflating value comes into play is if/when a programmer says that he's going to make a favorite game (like a Vectrex version of Tempest, let's say) or an awesome-looking game (some new idea that would elevate the Vectrex to even cooler status), everyone clamours for it ("Oh my god, when will it be ready, I'll buy 3 of them!", "Me, too!")... and then the lottery/50 copies tops release news comes out.  That's when collectors get frustrated because come on, man, you see the huge demand, you could easily sell 200 of them without trying, etc.  You don't sound like you're that type at all so nobody would be "expecting" things you don't want to do.

 

On 7/8/2021 at 3:32 PM, gorf68 said:

The game is an updated version of this (no sound in the video, it has title music and spot effects), id hope no one would feel cheated for £15 plus a few pounds P&P:

 

 

I don't think anybody would feel cheated.  I like it, I might buy one (if you would allow me to) as a cart as well.  The game seems cool, and would take advantage of the analog aspect of the Vectrex control (move faster/slower), yes, like a paddle?  We need more of those.

 

Now, if you added more of the arcade game to it, make the dashes into balloons and have more animation for the guys on the seesaw, that's when I would hope that there would be a colored overlay and possibly a box because it would seem to be a complete port of the arcade version, that's all.

 

 

That could be a later release as well, if ever.  Do what you're doing now, especially since fans are requesting carts from you already.  Later, if you feel like developing it more into a complete game, not 'flawed' in your eyes, a second release with an overlay or something would work, too.  And of course some people would brag about having both versions, including the very rare cart-only 1st version, so you even satisfy those maniacs who collect every version of every game (Japanese, alternate labels, etc.) no matter how minor the difference.

Edited by ledzep

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Thanks for all the comments!

The original intent was to make this into that full version of the game, but this has sat on the shelf for years already and I honestly don't know if the 'final finished' version will ever be made ready.

 

 

The game I have been working on, is completely different.

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I expect nothing and am grateful for any time people put into making new software for “dead” systems. That said, this looks like a lot of fun, and I would love a copy too. People who get mad about low print runs ought to try making their own game sometime 😜 

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