Directv Has The Worst Customer Service of All-Time
Aug 19th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I’m still amazed at what I’ve been through today.  I’m hoping that this turns up in some searches, so people can see what they are in for.

I had been a Directv customer for about nine years. Due to the recent global economic collapse, I cancelled service in July. That went very smoothly. In June, I received an automated call that said that I would have to upgrade my receiver going forward, so knowing that I would have to do that anyway, it seemed like a good time to go without TV.

Things picked up for me, financially, about six weeks later. As it happens, I received an e-mail from Directv with an offer to sign back up. The subject of the mail was, “Come Back And Get Over 150 Channels For Only $29.99/mo For 12 Months.” That sounded like a good deal. They’d rather not have me go to Comcast, I was perfectly happy with them for years… this seemed like it would work.

The e-mail stated that I had to call a phone number to take advantage of this promotion. The promotional code was WBK7. I spoke with a CSR for about twenty minutes and we got everything taken care of. (Or so it seemed!) They were able to schedule a technician to arrive the next day.

The next day arrived, and the tech showed up on time. It’s at this point that I should describe my setup.

I have a single dish, attached to my house. The co-ax cable goes into a “flat” wire, which is placed between a screen window. The other end of the flat wire goes back into more co-ax cable, and then into the receiver.

The tech said that I needed a new flat wire. He said that would be $16. He also said that I would have to have a protection plan at $4 a month, indefinitely. Alternatively, he could drill a hole through my house and install it that way.

Well, that was totally unacceptable.  I’m fairly certain that he was going to try to drill through solid concrete, so that was out of the question. Furthermore, my setup had been perfectly adequate for years. There was no logical reason that they couldn’t use the existing flat wire.

The tech wouldn’t budge, so I got his supervisor on the phone. Directv contracts all this work out, so I was surprised to find that the supervisor wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t authorize the tech to use the flat wire and he wouldn’t waive the moronic, monthly “protection fee.” I was amazed – if anyone reading this happens to know me in real life, I think it’s fair to say that I don’t get worked up or agitated about anything. The audacity of this clown really pissed me off.  I told the guy, “well, forget it then,” and he was totally happy to let this sale fall through.

After this, I called Directv proper. I got one of their CSRs on the phone, who realized that while the contractors couldn’t give a shit who does and doesn’t stick with Directv, the corporation itself did. He told the tech to go ahead and give me the new goddamn receiver. The tech had to confirm with his boss, however, and who knows what was said, because he came back down ready to do what I wanted them to do 40 minutes previous.

The tech gave me the new receiver, blah blah, everything was working.

At this point, I had no confidence that the rebate was going to happen. I went to and was told that my account was not eligible for a rebate! Well well well! The desperation was pretty transparent, and I guess I was just supposed to be relieved that service was working at all. I called Directv, and got an all-new, all-different CSR.

She told me that my account wasn’t eligible for a rebate, because I had not been away long enough. Of course, this wasn’t mentioned on the e-mail, wasn’t mentioned by the original CSR, wasn’t mentioned by anyone. I asked to speak with her supervisor.

Another 40 minutes passed, and all the while, the gal on the phone told me that nobody could do anything, that it was impossible for me to get this rebate, that the fourth law of thermodynamics involved me never getting this stupid rebate. At this point, it became personal. Not between me and her, but between me and Directv.

The supervisor never got on the phone with me, but did instruct the CSR to tell me the following:

– Tomorrow I am meant to logon to Directv’s website.
– At that point, I’ll see my rebate option show up.
– I can, at that point, get the goddamn rebate I was offered in the first place.

I’ve got zero faith that anything is going to be different tomorrow. I guess we’ll see! You read about horrible fucking customer service all the time, but it’s still a thing to go through it yourself. And I am totally motivated to stick with Directv forever. I honestly like what they offer, and having experienced their competitors when I originally moved out here, Jesus Christ, Directv is the best option. But they’ve got to fix this, this entire episode was a joke and I’d rather go with someone else than ever try to repeat this process again.

UPDATE: I logged into my account and checked their website just for the hell of it. As it turns out, I did not have to wait until tomorrow. The rebate link was there and worked. Halle-frigging-lujah.

2009 PGA Championship Final Round Update
Aug 17th, 2009 by Pinback

2009 PGA Championship Third Round Update
Aug 15th, 2009 by Pinback

Well, maybe it’s not quite over yet.

In one of the more aggravating days I’ve experienced as a Tiger Woods fan, I got to watch him basically kick the ball around the course, making lots of pars, while everyone behind him magically turned into world-beaters, all of them having the rounds of their lives, knocking in miracle shots like they were eating potato chips, and turning what should have been a runaway into a nail-biter, and I use that not as a metaphor for excitement, but as an admission that many of my fingers are actively losing blood as a result of the gouges I bit into them earlier today.

Thankfully, mercifully, due to a stone-cold, you’d-never-make-that-shot birdie at the 14th, and Padraig Harrington fucking up the last hole, he still has a two shot lead. And even more thankfully, the gaggle of douchebags making a charge generally choked properly toward the end of the day, leaving only two real challengers left.

Let’s take a look at them now, as we try to choke back the bile of this day of anguish.

Tiger is at -8, which is where he was yesterday after the 17th hole, so it can be said that since then, it’s been a pretty gruesome grind.

Y.E. Yang (-6) : Tiger’s playing partner tomorrow is Y.E. Yang, the winner of the Honda Classic earlier this year, and who matched Tiger’s first round of 67 today to launch himself into the final group of the weekend. He is a fierce competitor with a will that refuses to— wait… I’m sorry, did you say Y.E. Yang? WHO THE MOTHERFUCKING FUCK IS Y.E. YANG, AND WHY IS HE PLAYING IN THE LAST GROUP WITH THE GUY WEARING THE RED SHIRT TOMORROW? This can’t be happening. Y.E. Fucking Yang. Although after today he is the most recognizable golfer in the world to one Ice Cream Jonsey, because of two simple words: Magenta pants. Well, I’ve got two simple words for ol’ Y.E. Yang: No Fucking Way. THREAT LEVEL: I GOT YER Y.E. YANG RIGHT HERE.

Padraig Harrington (-6) : Fucking Paddy, man. On Friday he hit what was possibly the greatest golf shot ever hit, from the lip of a bunker, like 250 yards, to 10 feet. It was cute, then. It was like, “aw, poor Paddy, gonna lose, but at least we have these nice replays of that amazing shot.” But he is really trying to make that shot be one that they’ll play a hundred times, going, “here was where the momentum turned!”, and “here’s where he showed the heart of the competitor that would lead him to victory over the so-called ‘legendary’ Tiger Woods!” If this happens, I will kill myself, for real, live on this BBS. This absolutely cannot happen. The “Padraig winning” thing, not the “me killing myself” thing. Who cares about that. THREAT LEVEL: I WILL KILL MYSELF LIVE ON JOLT COUNTRY BBS.

So what was setting up to be a ceremonial stroll around Hazeltine, while I sat on the couch and drank myself into a stupor with a goofy grin on my face, is now a hard-bitten war around Hazeltine, while I sit on the couch and drink myself into a stupor with a gnarled grimace on my face. And then possibly killing myself, live on this BBS, at the end of the day.


2009 PGA Championship Second Round Update
Aug 15th, 2009 by Pinback

Let’s do our best to pretend that Tiger’s bogey at the last hole means struggles are ahead, and that even though he now has a four shot lead, there are still people with a chance to make this even remotely interesting.

Tiger leads at -7. There are five players four shots back at -3. There are two at -2. I can’t go any lower than that with a straight face, so let’s get to it:

— The (snnkkkrr) Challengers! —

Vijay Singh (-3) — If you can believe it, Tiger and Vijay will be paired together tomorrow in the final group. Vijay did nothing today, but he went out early before the weather got bad, so his lackluster 72 was actually good enough to put him in the final group. I am guessing he will put away all of his “Tiger Who?” hats before tomorrow’s round. Anyway, if that’s all he could do in the morning, he would be toast even if he wasn’t playing with the Man, and the various pressures that brings. THREAT LEVEL: ALMOST ZERO

Brendan Jones (-3) — Another one of those that took some advantage of the early good weather. And I still don’t know who it is. THREAT LEVEL: ABSOLUTE ZERO

Lucas Glover (-3) — The U.S. Open champ is still hanging around. He was threatening to really put some pressure on today until some late stumbles. Who knows? THREAT LEVEL: SLIGHTLY MORE THAN ZERO

Ross Fisher (-3) — Was having the round of his life, tied for the lead, until he bogeyed the last two holes. Plays well in majors. I still couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, but if he has another magical day tomorrow, and doesn’t give it all back at the end, hey, I’m looking for any excuse to build some drama here. THREAT LEVEL: VERY, VERY LOW, BUT NOT ZERO

Padraig Harrington (-3) — Was genuinely threatening until he fell apart on the back nine. He’s a tough guy, though! If anyone in this lineup can do it, I think it’s him. THREAT LEVEL: LOW, BUT AS GOOD AS WE’RE GONNA GET AT THIS POINT

Ian Poulter (-2) — One of those “any minute now he’s gonna be great” guys. But he isn’t. Put on a nice run earlier in the day (again, with better weather than Tiger had to deal with), but his pants are way too goofy, and he is a loser. THREAT LEVEL: LOSER

Lee Westwood (-2) — Was going to be in second place, paired with Tiger, until he three-putt from about two feet on the 17th hole. Has the talent, but not the stones. Sorry, Lee. You’re outta here. THREAT LEVEL: OUTTA HERE

Aaaand that’s pretty much it. Put this article among the many others being written around the internets right now, trying to put some sort of spin on this story other than “this tournament is over.”

(But this tournament is over.)

PGA Championship First Round Update
Aug 14th, 2009 by Pinback

PGA Championship First Round Update

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods fans don’t have to suffer through much, but one of the things we do have to suffer through most of the time is lackluster starts in majors. Every major, he comes in touted as the man to beat (true) and that if anyone else wins it would be a miracle (not true), and then more often than not, my man tends to lay a bit of an egg on Thursday. That’s okay, makes the rest of the week more interesting (see 2008 US Open thread.)

But, sure would be nice to get off to a hot start once in a while. Well, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the challengers this week.

As usual, I will immediately discount anyone behind Tiger in the standings, since I don’t remember anyone ever catching him from behind in a major, since 1998. So let’s run down the list of those tied with, or ahead of Tigs:

Not a goddamn person. Tiger opens with a flawless, effortless 67, one shot clear of the next competitor, and two shots clear of every other checkered-panted dork out there. That’s what I’m talking about.

But because that doesn’t make for a very interesting update, let’s assume for the sake of saving this godforsaken website that the tournament isn’t already over, and run down those list of reasonable challengers, which I will define at everybody at -1 or better, because come on, if you’re at even par, you’re already five back of the greatest golfer in history, so just pack up the goddamn clubs.

Challengers listed in descending order that they show up on the leaderboard when I click on “”:

Padraig Harrington (-4) : He won the last two majors last year, and then fell off the map. His swing was a mess. He couldn’t make a cut. But then he found something, and last week nearly stole Tiger’s 70th win until a ruling at the 16th hole rattled his nerves and he took an 8. So, even though I’d like to say this is a done deal, in all likelihood it’s stacking up as Tiger v. Paddy II: Mick’s Revenge. THREAT LEVEL: EXTREME

Robert Allenby (-3) : Ranked 30th in the world, he’s one of those “hang-arounders” that you know his name, see his face occasionally, but isn’t usually made for the big stage. Though I do know his name and might be able to pick him out of a lineup, so we won’t totally dismiss him yet. THREAT LEVEL: MEDIUM

Matthew Goggin (-3) : Interesting Golf Fact #1: Nobody with three “g”s in their last name has ever won a major. THREAT LEVEL: LOW

Hunter Mahan (-3) : One of the young guns from whom great things are expected. And yet, he’s only won one tournament, and wouldn’t you know, this young gun is 27, by which time the tournament leader had already won about 100 majors and 5,000 tournaments. THREAT LEVEL: MEDIUM-LOW

Alvaro Quiros (-3) : I’m sorry, I meant to click “PGA Championship” but clicked “Daily Jumble Puzzle” instead. My bad! THREAT LEVEL: WHO???

Vijay Singh (-3) : Well, look at that, our old nemesis. Still 12th in the world, but you really haven’t heard much from ol’ darkie there for a couple of years. Back in the day, I’d say this was some serious cause for alarm. But Vijay, you’re old, you’re washed up, you’re ugly, you’re stupid, and most importantly, you can’t putt. How the mighty have fallen. THREAT LEVEL: MEDIUM-LOW

David Toms (-3) : David, we all know you, we all like you, you’re a previous major winner, you seem like a good guy, but your time has passed, and you had one good round, and goodbye. THREAT LEVEL: LOW

Paul Goydos (-2) : Who couldn’t have fallen in love with Paul Goydos’ good-guy routine at last year’s Players where he took Sergio to the limit? Nobody. Who thinks he has a chance at winning this tournament? Even fewer than that. THREAT LEVEL: NONE

Thongchai Jaidee (-2) : Interesting Golf Fact #2: Nobody named “Thongchai Jaidee” has ever won a major. THREAT LEVEL: THONGCHAI JAIDEE???

Graeme McDowell (-2) : Interesting Golf Fact #3: Nobody with an “ae” in their name has ever won a major, particularly if they were ranked 49th in the world at the time, and three shots back of Tiger Woods. THREAT LEVEL: AE

Lee Westwood (-2) : Most will forget that he was one putt away from joining the Tiger & Rocco show in the already-legendary 2008 U.S. Open. He’s a good guy. He’s got game. He’s 13th in the world. He… Yeah, he’s good. THREAT LEVEL: MEDIUM

Michael Bradley (-2) : The funny part is, I went onto to look up the current world rankings. The first page of the rankings goes up to #102 (59 year-old Tom Watson). So I hit “search” and typed “michael”, and not only was his name not on the page, but nobody else with “michael” in their name was on the page. THREAT LEVEL: TOM WATSON, AT BEST

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (-2) : On the broadcast, they list his name as “Gonzalo F-Castano”, which I always read as “Gonzalo Fuckin’ Castano”, or at least I would, if I knew who he was or had ever heard of him. THREAT LEVEL: ABSOLUTELY F-NONE

Soren Kjeldsen (-2) : Interesting Golf Fact #4: Nobody whose last name begun with what looks like a typo has ever won a major. THREAT LEVEL: TYPO

Ben Crane (-2) : Ben Crane is most famous for making Rory Sabbatini go apeshit because he spends so much time praying to Jesus in between shots that you could fall asleep waiting for him to hit a 20-foot chip shot. While I appreciate the concept of irritating Rory Sabbatini, even Jesus can’t save you now, Ben. THREAT LEVEL: NONE

Hiroyuki Fujita (-1) : It must be hard playing golf after eating all those hot dogs. THREAT LEVEL: NATHAN’S

Rory McIlroy (-1) : Rory is this year’s Anthony Kim, the true young stud who is going to take Tiger’s throne, except he can’t find it through his cabbage-patch lettuce which clouds his eyes with scraggly curls and his ears with the laughter of onlookers. THREAT LEVEL: LOW

Bo Van Pelt (-1) : Interesting Golf Fact #5: Nobody with three names, totaling less than 10 letters, has ever won a major. THREAT LEVEL: NONE


Rich Beem (-1) : For those golf historians among you, you’ll remember that Rich Fucking Beem won the PGA Championship in 2002, the last time it was at this very same golf course (Hazeltine), and he won by one shot, over one Tiger Fucking Woods. He is enjoying some rejuvenated popularity this week due to this history. This is the only part of this week he will enjoy. THREAT LEVEL: NONE

Anders Hansen (-1) : Sorry, hit Jumble again. THREAT LEVEL: HUH??

Geoff Ogilvy (-1) : Geoff Ogilvy is a stud, and currently 8th in the world. Four back of Tigs is a tough climb, but I will be very quiet and respectful here. THREAT LEVEL: QUIET AND RESPECTFUL

Brendan Jones (-1) : I don’t know who this is. Apparently he is 64th in the world. THREAT LEVEL: I DON’T KNOW WHO THIS IS

Lucas Glover (-1) : Won the U.S. Open this year. You’d think I’d be all apeshit, since if he wins this, not only does he keep Tiger major-less for the first time since 2004, but he will get Player of the Year, even though he’ll have won fewer than half the number of tournaments Tiger has. In truth, though, I think he has zero chance. But since even the spectre of him winning is so terribly horrible, I will have to weight it super-extra heavy. Which all leads to THREAT LEVEL: MEDIUM

Luke Donald (-1) : Luke Donald was supposed to be this great awesome young golfer and like so many of them he’s done nothing and will do nothing, eat a dick Luke Donald. THREAT LEVEL: NONE

So that’s it. Tune in tomorrow when, God willing, we’ll have a richly deserved blowout on our hands.

(Interesting Golf Fact #6: Tiger’s real middle name is, for reals, “Tont”.)

Interview with Vectrex developer Alex Nicholson
Aug 2nd, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

(Note: I am moving articles from the old JC site to this one. We begin with an interview with Alex Nicholson, developer of Spike’s Circus and Logo for the Vectrex. This interview originally ran on April 19th, 2006.)

The Vectrex is an 8-bit video game console that was released in 1982. It had its own monitor, so finally Mom and Dad could fear the Russians on the evening news in peace while you pretended to be a space ship, a vacuum cleaner, or even more unlikely, someone racing in the Tour de France. CGE stopped making Vectrex units in 1984.

Alex Nicholson is a retro programmer from the United Kingdom and has released Logo for the Vectrex…in 2006! Alex’s release includes a physical cartridge, an overlay, printed instructions and a perfectly designed box.

In fact, there are a small number of developers creating fantastic new software for this decades-old piece of hardware. As one of the leaders of the new generation of modern-day Vectrex games, we here at JC interviewed Alex to ask how the release went and what’s in store for the future.

Alex’s website, which features info on all his in-development wares, is located at

JC: How did you come to be interested in the Vectrex? Did you have one when the system was new?

AN: Heh, it’s a classic story. I always wanted one but never got one. They were always very expensive and I was eight or nine when they were out. I made do with my 2600, but I
never forgot them. One day I was chatting with my girlfriend about childhood and I mentioned I had always wanted a Big Trak toy (also from MB). So what do I know, but she goes and gets me one for Xmas from eBay. It was really cool. So it took me a while to figure it out but eventually I realised eBay could get me other things I had always wanted, so 3 months later in March 2005, I bid for my first ever Vectrex.


JC: Bringing a programming language to the Vectrex is certainly not an easy task. Logo is a very interesting choice, and I would say a clever one for the Vec because the same group of people who enjoy the nostalgia of the Vectrex were probably learning Logo in school while growing up. What inspired you to choose Logo?

AN: Thanks, actually that was my line of thinking, but it seems Logo and home computers in general were less popular in America than in UK. So whilst we may have grown up with BBC Micros etc., especially in our schools here in UK, Logo didn’t do so well across the pond. Let’s hope it does now :). I wanted to do something different for my first release, it’s hard to follow Protector, so I knew it had to be a departure from the norm. I wrote a few games, and spent a fair amount of time working on an RTS, but I didn’t think it was a good launch title. Eventually in February I decided to write an large and ambitious game and this would require an icon based command interpreter. I decided to approach it in stages and by prototyping this environment as part of Logo, I was able to test the UI concept and produce something a little unusual at the same time. (Yes, that does mean Logo is just a milestone to something else.)

I wrote Logo in such a way that it’s not limited by my own creative vision. I’m hoping the users will produce some really cool stuff in it; I’ve had a few pictures for my art competition already, and it’s stuff I hadn’t thought of, so that’s made me really happy. It means I satisfied my goal to transfer the creative onus to the user! :)

JC: Were there any unique challenges in development?

AN: I learn something with every game I write. I’m still a novice. I enjoyed optimising the code, increasing the number of glyphs I could draw. Logo held a particular challenge in that it requires RAM to hold both the user program and also the output draw screen. The RAM was only ever used previously in Animaction. I used a PCB developed by John Maccallan (repro 3D imager hero) and he was with me step by step helping me with development hardware. Regarding the RAM, the Vectrex has to draw everything 30 times a second, so when you write a Logo program to draw a square I need to record those vector lines and bang them onto the screen over and over again. Actually, it was easy to draw the final result, (Turtle Lightspeed On) the hard bit was slowing it down so it (the turtle) added one line at a time. Messing with the beamdrift parameter also shows some of what’s going on inside, as the Vectrex needs to be recalibrated every dozen lines or so, regardless of what the user wants the turtle to do.

JC: Did you learn Assembly programming for this, or were you already well-versed?

AN: As I said, I bought my first Vectrex in March 2005, so a few months after that I bought a book on writing an assembler for the Dragon Microcomputer in BASIC (it has the same processor). I studied this and it taught me the fundamentals of Assembly (using the registers, etc.), and then I was able to follow the fantastic programming tutorial by Chris Salomon (thank you Chris). I used the Vectrex PC emulators for a while, and I thought things were going OK, until one day I managed to put my code a real Vectrex… boy was that a shock, it looked terrible. The Vectrex is old-school (analogue components and stuff) and there’s no substitute for programming on the real thing, so now I don’t use emulators.

JC: The overlay for Logo is really sharp, and placing the glyphs on it is a stroke of genius. Are you planning on including overlays for your future releases? And for our readers who are wholly unfamiliar with overlays, how on earth did you take it from concept to finished product?

AN: Thanks, I wanted to produce a complete package; as a collector myself it was important to produce something people would actually want on their shelves.

I think Logo benefits from an overlay- it’s kinda a quick reference guide, and the colour green is just a nice bonus. Most of the classic games don’t really need them. I have some more ideas on how to really use the colour concept an overlay provides, and, you know, actually use the colours as part of the game. I talked to guys who had made overlays and I had some ideas that might improve the process; eventually I made them myself to test my theories. I’m pleased to say that my methods have been an influence on the forthcoming release of Color Clash from Revival Studios, in fact, CC improves on my overlays. I’m confident that everyone will agree CC has the most fantastic overlay ever produced.

The boxes were by far the biggest hassle, each one was hand made, this is why it’s a limited release! I couldn’t handle making any more. I’m not sure what will happen in the future; if I need to make any more by hand, I can’t see me making more than 20 or so for any future games. There have been some developments this year, though, that may change that. We’ll have to see what options become available.

The manual was also a challenge-on one hand I wanted to give users a chance to learn and use Logo, but on the other hand I didn’t want to drown them in information. In the end I settled for 16 pages with a bigger download PDF for those who want it.

If anybody wants to make their own overlay/box though, I can tell you all you need is a regular inkjet printer. I made everything using that, with a bit of effort. I think the nature of the offering depends on the game- some might have boxes and overlays, some might not. I’ll assess each individual case.

JC: To move that many Logo packages must have been exhilarating and exhausting. For instance, just producing and assembling the boxes must have taken a significant amount of time. Was there anything you learned from the process that you think will help as you ship your next game?

AN: Yes, the boxes took as much effort as writing the code. I know it’s a sad conclusion but I learnt I wouldn’t make 80 or so boxes by hand again. Overlays are pretty easy though, I’m confident releases can include those and they really finish the presentation nicely. It’s nice that people appreciate them though, it *almost* makes cutting and sticking them worth it! ;)

JC: Is Spike’s Circus the next game you think you will release? How would you describe its gameplay? It looks like Art of War, a real-time strategy game, is also in development — we would love any nuggets of information about any of your future wares that you might wish to drop!

AN: I think Spike’s Circus probably will be the next one. It received favourable reviews when I demoed it a RetroGamDag in the Netherlands. I need to settle on the options. It has scrolling support already, but I actually find it more enjoyable without the scrolling. I just need to decide what to include and what not to. Spike’s Circus has a funny little plot: it’s 20 years on and Spike is settled with Molly and owns a circus; he actually employs his old nemesis Spud as the Lion Tamer. Spike has to make Spud redundant, as Lions (and caged animals in general) aren’t so popular nowadays. Spud gets mad and takes his revenge by kidnapping Molly. His plan is to humiliate Spike and that’s where the game starts. (Spud will actually sing this plotline on Vecvox as part of the intro.)

I’ve also just started working on an old-school game called Star Sling. We’re kinda spoilt nowadays with massive 32KB Roms to play with. I want to try to write a game with the original cost restrictions. Scramblewas only 4K so I’ll try to fit it in 4K, maybe 8K at the absolute max. It will focus on playability and two player head to head. (If I can capture the intensity of Nebula Commander I’ll be delighted.) SS will probably be come out soon. I want to keep the production costs low too, so I can distribute it really cheaply.

Something I think that is underutilised on the Vectrex is the analogue joystick, only Hyperchase used it out of the original games. Both of these and AoW all use the analogue stick. I think there’s a lot of fun to be had with it. (although the reason noone uses it is because it is VERY heavy on processor cycles)

JC: What Vectrex games — both original releases and those of the new batch — do you enjoy the most? Is there any kind of genre that you prefer over another?

AN: Mine Storm is of course everyones favourite of the originals. I likeScramble too, it’s just good fun. Shame it repeats so soon, but that’s the 4K limit getting in the way. Maybe one day I might do a Scrambleextended version. Unless someone releases Vectrex R-Type first!

For homebrews, I love Thrust by Ville Krumlinde, I think its just a perfect conversion, closely followed by Protector by Alex Herbert. I really rateNebula Commander by Craig Aker too, I think it’s the finest 2 player game by a long way. When you’re playing you forget to blink!

I like stuff that’s original and different, I remember the joy of the original Lemmings on the Amiga, if I ever experience that feeling of originality again I’d be delighted. March 2006 featured announcements of four releases, I don’t think the Vectrex has ever been so busy, long may it continue.

I think the one to watch with be George Pelonis’s 3D Star Fury, George has been at this a while and coding for the 3D imager is REALLY hard. I’ve had a dabble programming for it and the timing is so critical. If George pulls it off (and it all sounds promising) I think it will be the dawn of a new era. Maybe be a new epoch to follow Protector!

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