Graham Toal's Vectrex games

Although most of the programs I've written for the Vectrex have been for educational purposes, a few of them are reasonably playable games. You can download the rom images for those below. All have source code available and a few may have some related artwork that can be downloaded and printed too.


DRAFT4 is a draughts (or checkers if you're American) game written in the 70's by an Edinburgh University student, Ken Chisholm. It was a self-improving AI game in the style of Samuel's Checkers. Originally written in the IMP language, I ported Ken's code to C and added a graphical interface; other than that it is primarily Ken's program. Due to the limitations of the Vectrex, this is not a self-improving version, but it does statically incorporate the results of many hours of self-improving play.

I made a release of this game for New Year 2021, but don't consider it the final release. There's a game position you can force that leads to an indefinite loop — Ken recently posted an update to address this problem (to a much later 2020 version of his program), which I'm in the process of trying to retrofit to this old code. In the meantime you can download the New Year version (0.8) below:


A few of the members of the Facebook group I hang out in ("Vectrex Fans Unite!") were complaining about a recurring problem in the Vectrex world, which is that there are some Vectrex games which were only released in very limited quantities, and that they'll never get a chance to play them as they're now very expensive. I'm not a big fan of creating artificial scarcity — especially when the games in question were often trivial. In fact I claimed that 'it was ridiculous to charge so much for a game that you could write in a day' and so I felt somewhat obliged to actually write a clone of one of those games in a day if I could. Well, I did bite off a little more than I could chew as it took me two days to write something similar to Der Luch's game, Obsolet, and that was before adding sound. Fortunately Brett Walach from the group rather enjoyed playing my version and volunteered to add sound, which he did expertly, with the result that the game feels quite finished, though we do have some ideas for future enhancements that may make it more of a game in its own right and less of an obvious clone.

The title of the game, "Ersetzt" ('replaced'), is a little poke of fun at the original, "Obsolet" (obsolete), as if to say that "Obsolet" has been replaced. I hope Sascha takes it in good spirits, we all love his games, we just wish they were a bit more widely available.


After those, I'm pleased to release a game that's all my own work. (Well, mostly). This is a version of the puzzle game, "Sokoban", where a warehouse-keeper (better translated in English to 'Stevedore') has to move crates around in a warehouse. It's a finished game and quite tough. The parts that aren't mine are the layouts of the individual puzzles, which come from various sources on the net. Turns out there was already a Sokoban for the Vectrex called "Vectoblox" that I wasn't aware of when I wrote this.


Wangle is a topography puzzle where you start with a tangled-up graph of nodes and connections between them, and move the nodes around until none of the connecting lines cross any other. There's actually some heavy computation involved in checking that the user has improved the board, which led to some original and clever code from our friend Malban (Chris Salomon) to perform the computation in the background while updating the screen in real time. The code to generate planar graphs (and thus guarantee that a tangle can be solved) came from github I think.


Another 1970's BASIC game revived for the 80's Vectrex! 3D Naughts and Crosses. (aka "X's and O's", hence Xandoz - nothing to do with the Sean Connery movie!)


This game has so many names. It was originally a wooden sliding-block puzzle called 'Klotski'. There's another Vectrex port of the same game called 'Rush Hour'. This one has a lot of different puzzles to solve and is a complete finished game. I even have a box and a cartridge label for it.


Volvo! is a recreation from memory of a game for the BBC Micro from the 80's. You drive a sluggish Volvo delivery truck around a town square, trying to make all your deliveries within a prescribed time limit. It's a very simple game but quite challenging!

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"Morse" is a training aid for learning Morse Code. Since the author is no expert, the quality of the implementation may be up for debate by seasoned Morse tappers, but it's free and better than nothing! I have some plans to gamify the training but for now it's just a simple input mechanism.


Like 'Ersetzt', this was another deliberate attempt to clone an artificially scarce game. I'm in two minds as to whether to include it here as I don't consider it fully finished or particularly enjoyable or playable, but then neither was the original from what I've seen in the Youtube video, and some of our Facebook group users seem to like it as is, so here you go... (it's on my list of games to improve when I have some spare time...)
I have a few other bits and pieces - games that aren't really worth playing at the moment or are tech demos which need some gameplay to be added - in the parent directory to this one. Feel free to look around and you are welcome to take and develop any source code that interests you.
Mail to Graham Toal