|Mateos Vectrex Rewritable Multigame Cart|
|Developer||Juan Félix Mateos|
|Released||January, 2014 (4in1)|
(Second and 16in1 models)
There have been several multicarts available for the Vectrex, such as the Sean Kelly Multicart and the 72 Game Multicart. However, the Mateos Vectrex Rewritable Multigame Cart is a flashcart that can not only store multiple games on it, but they can also be changed out. The Cart also comes with a pause button, which the original Vectrex did not have.
Cart functions, capacity and usageEdit
Each MVRMC can simultaneously store several games, which using its switch can choose a different game to be stored and played. Thirty two kiloBites (64kB for the latter two Carts) is the maximum store capacity of each slot and they can be rewritten thousands of times. The Vectrex should be turned off when the player wishes to switch to another game.
The MVRMCs also include a self-lock button that can be pressed to pause or continue a game while being played on a Vectrex, an extra removable button that can be attached onto the built-in pause button, a pre-installed game and save slots for at least four games or cartridges. Several versions have been released, all of which work in conjunction with the Mateos Vectrex Burner-Dumper in regards to adding or changing games. The Carts work with PC, Mac OS or Ubuntu computers.
On all models, the MVRMC must be attached to the Mateos Vectrex Burner-Dumper (or MVBD). A USB cable (not included with purchase) can then be attached to the user’s computer and the MVRMC in order to transfer ROM files onto the Cart. The correct slot should also be chosen beforehand as to where the user wants whatever game to be placed on the corresponding slot on the Cart. Once the USB cord is attached and is connected to the user’s computer, the Cart will appear on the computer as an external drive. The user can then drag and drop a game or demo ROM from their computer onto the Cart, then safely disconnect the drive and it will be ready for use.
ROMs can also be copied from actual Vectrex cartridges, although instead of attaching the MVRMC as previously stated, the user will attach a cartridge onto the MVBD instead, then follow the rest of the aforementioned steps as per usual, although they will copy, drag and drop the ROM onto their computer first. The MVBD and cartridge can then be safely ejected, then the aforementioned process of attaching the MVRMC to the MVBD will be repeated, although the ROM will then be dragged and dropped onto the MVRMC from there.
The original MVRMC, the 4in1 model, was released in January, 2014. It had a sliding switch for users to select what game/cartridge they wanted to store when copying and playing ROMs on their Vectrex. The second model is the same, although with a slider switch added, which was used to select between an up to 32kB-sized games or a 64 kB game (as a 64kB game would not run if the slide wasn’t in the proper position). This was released in March, 2014. Each Cart could hold up to four 32kB games, two 64 kB games, or one 64Kb game plus two 32kB games.
The current model, or 16in1 Cart, was a vastly changed and expanded version over the first two models. Also released in March, this version could hold up to 16 games/cartridges total maximum. The slider on the original model (used in order to choose what game/cartridge the user wanted to play or store) was replaced by a rotary dial, which an external plastic dial that could fit over the built-in dial was also included with purchase, making the original dial easier to turn.
An upcoming version of the Cart has some additional features planned, such as compatibility with the Atari Lynx (which will require a firmware update in order to make this possible), compatibility with the Gamate Bitcorp console and Vectrex RAM compatibility in order for AnimAction to run (as a modern day reproduction cartridge has never been known to have been made available from homebrewers for sale due to the additional RAM that the game originally came with).
- Store several games in each MVRMC cartridge and rewrite them thousands of times.
- Use the MVRMC´s button to pause/continue games.
- Once an MVRMC is detected on a person’s computer, there is no onscreen indication there is a ROM file in one of its slots, even if there is indeed a ROM present.
- When there is no ROM in a slot that is selected for play, Mine Storm will run. The pause button will still function for the game however, which was not available on any version previously.
- Labels are available to download and print out for the second version of the Cart from the official hackersmesh web site, which comes with a blank list for Vectrex owners to fill in as to what games are in what slot. There are also templates available on the site as well to print out, showing where people can drill holes in their modern day Vectrex reproduction cartridge cases so they could fit their MVRMCs into a case if they wished.
- Mateos offered to upgrade buyers’ original 4in1 MVRMCs without the size switch to the size switch version for free if someone wished, just as long as they paid for shipping, or if they were a previous customer and bought a new Mateos Vectrex Burner-Dumper and/or Cart they would receive a 40% discount. He also offered anyone a Cart for free if they had a 64kB game in development since no single Vectrex game to date is 64kB in size.
- The first five MVRMCs that were sold came with a modern day Vectrex reproduction resin case. All other orders since have come without a case.
- Mateos is currently working on a developer cartridge that would allow users to test code on the Vectrex without unplugging and replugging the cartridge into their machines.
- Official site
- jfmateos YouTube channel with videos showing how to use Carts
- Positive review from VectrexMad!'s first News Corner issue can be downloaded from here
- Click on the tabber below for a review of the 4in1 and 16in1 models.
I acquired the original 4in1 and the 16in1 MVRMC models. Here are my thoughts on them:
With the 4in1 model, when I found out it could only hold four games, initially I was disappointed, due to something like the 72 Game Multicart having a whopping four megs’ worth of Vectrex stuff on it. However, it didn’t take me long to realize two things: one, that still isn’t bad, as that means it’s three less times you would have to swap cartridges in and out, and then two, with the right multicarts, you can actually fit way more games than just four. For instance, if you were to load up All Good Things (five games there alone), Protector/Y*A*S*I, Vaboom!/Vectrace, Spike Hoppin' and Thrust, that equals 13 games, due to all the multiple and/or hidden games on those carts. So that’s pretty decent, actually.
There being no indication on a person’s computer that there is a ROM present or not wasn’t a problem for me when you load games. The Cart itself can be pretty difficult to put in your Vectrex for the first time around though, although I recommend getting a modern day repro cart from several individuals that offer them from time to time and place it in there. It can also hurt your hand a bit as well when trying to put it in your machine, but then, you shouldn’t have to take it in and out much, I’d think.
Upon initial testing, I put a homebrew cart on it (All Good Things, I do believe), a GCE game from back in the day that I own (probably Bedlam), a game I’ve yet to own, but played it a bit at gaming expos (Spinball), a game I played from back in the day, but have yet to own (Cosmic Chasm) and a demo I had never tried before (We Wish You A Merry Christmas). All worked without a flaw except for the demo, although it might be one of those ROMs that don’t work correctly on a flashcart (or is it supposed to flicker on and off and play the music in slow motion? Yeah, I didn’t think so) or was a bad ROM dump in the first place.
The pause button isn’t in a great place since, upon a real intense situation, you’re probably going to lose a life or whatever by reaching over for it. However, I’m sure putting it on an extension cord so it would be closer to the player would increase the price of the unit, and it’s better to have one than none at all for almost all of the original GCE game lineup, along with some homebrews that don’t have a pause function either (the aforementioned Spike Hoppin').
The included removable plastic button to go on top of the pause button I don’t need, plus they’re small and could get lost, but it was nice to have that included though for those that want it, along with a pre-installed game.
I’m not really sure how to rate these, but I’d give it at least an 8 out of 10. It could be rated a little higher, I suppose, especially with the really nice touch of the addition of a pause feature.
Then there’s the 16in1 big brother. With the additional removable plastic dial, it moved too smoothly for me to tell how many slots I was passing by as I turned it, so it’s of no use to me, but others might prefer it (and, again, it’s removable). The extras of printing out a template to drill holes in a reproduction cart and a list of games off the official site are nice touches. I would say I had a problem with loading two 64K carts though, although that’s probably due to the USB plugs on this computer I’m using right now going out, so this isn’t affecting my score on this Cart. I also had a game somehow pop up on a slot where I’m sure I didn’t put it; this happened twice, but again, with this USB plug being wonky, that could’ve been the culprit (plus -- and also again -- this isn’t affecting the score). Using a USB plug on another computer proved to be no problem.
This is a pretty killer item! Again, I’m not sure how to rate this, but I’d give it a 9/10; others might want to rate it higher. I’m pretty happy with it and no serious Vectrex owner should be without one.
(Review by Darrylb500)
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