Open Source PiTrex Boards Put a Raspberry Pi Zero Into a Vintage Vectrex Games Console

Australian maker OmberTech has begun selling PiTrex boards, designed to sit between a classic Vectrex vector-based games console and a Raspberry Pi Zero single-board computer. "The PiTrex cartridge replaces the CPU of the Vectrex video game console with the modern processing power of a Raspberry Pi Zero single-board computer," its creators explain. "With an ARM CPU running at 1GHz and 512MB of RAM, this system is capable of emulating vintage vector arcade games." "It also provides an easier, and much more powerful, environment for developing new games. Plus it can run Vectrex game ROMs loaded onto the Pi's MicroSD card akin to a multicart, by running a modified version of the VecX emulator." First released in 1982, the Vectrex stood out from the games console crowd by doing away with bitmap graphics in favour of arcade-style vector images - displayed on its integrated 9in cathode-ray tube. The machine was not a commercial success, but remains popular with collectors and homebrew developers — and it's the latter the PiTrex targets. Compatible with any model of Vectrex, the PiTrex hosts a Raspberry Pi Zero using its general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header and slots into the Vectrex using an edge connector. The boards, which are released under an open source licence, come fully assembled but without a cartridge housing; those looking to print their own can find a design on Thingiverse. More details on the PiTrex are available on the project wiki , while source code has been published to GitHub ; assembled boards, meanwhile, can be purchased from the OmberTech Tindie store for $29 plus shipping each. The PiTrex board replaces a Vectrex CPU with a Raspberry Pi Zero, for homebrew goodness. (📷: OmberTech)

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