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INTERVIEW
George Pelonis

George is a modern day Vectrex game designer and programmer.
He creates new original titles that push the vintage Vectrex hardware.

MT> For those unfamiliar with your Vectrex projects, what are the basic concepts behind your two games, "War of the Robots" and "I, Cyborg."
GP> War of the Robots is a first person perspective action game which puts the player in a watchtower overlooking a robot-infested battle zone in Antarctica! Players can turn left or right while aiming with their crosshair to fire upon the robot enemies. A radar display alerts the player to the locations of the enemies, and also further enhances the "pseudo-3D" environment of the game.

I, Cyborg is a third person perspective action game (in the style of Dark Tower) wherein players control a cyborg character who has recently escaped imprisonment on a planet controlled by robots. Players must fire upon or avoid enemies and obstacles, while progressing through various locations. Ultimately, players will face-off with 4 nasty mega bosses, including the nastiest mega boss of all... Thunderhead!

MT> What are some features that your games include that are not typical of other Vectrex games?
GP> My games are atypical in that they are all original works. I don't do clones. I'm certainly not against other people doing clones (I buy and play most clones), but for me, one of the best things about writing these games is coming up with new ideas and interesting concepts that eventually become finished original games.

I think that another major highlight of my games is the extensive effort put into the graphics and animation. I, Cyborg has 209 different sprites! There are 16 different entities in this game (the cyborg, 11 different enemies, and 4 bosses), each with their own unique routines/attributes. Also factor in the injury/death scenarios, multiple environments, and special weapons.

MT> What inspired you to create new Vectrex games?
GP> Simply put, my love for vector graphics games in general. These games offer me a strange, yet welcomed solitude and coldness harnessing my every awareness, my thoughts... vector dreams and madness!

MT> You are not the first to make a new late release title for the Vectrex. Did you receive any help from others or is there anyone that you'd like to thank?
GP> For the most part, I learned how to program Vectrex games via trial and error. There were times that I knew that I could ask for help in order to quickly work through a problem, but I opted not to. I enjoy the challenge of figuring things out on my own. That said, when I first started out, I did (of course) read and learn from the excellent tutorials written by Chris Tumber and Chris Salomon.

MT> How did you approach creating a new Vectrex title?
GP> It was actually a childhood dream of mine to program a Vectrex game, but it wasn't until late '99 while surfing the internet that I stumbled upon John Dondzila's excellent Vecmania game (which I immediately purchased). Quite a while later, I found myself reading the tutorials, and eventually was well into a game of my own...War of the Robots!

MT> How many production hours do you estimate you spent creating each title?
GP> This is impossible for me to precisely answer. I work on my Vectrex games in my spare time, which means that sometimes I don't get to work on them at all for weeks at a time. Overall, I'd say lots and lots of hours! I like to work until my eyes become fiery, blistered vector seeds!!!

MT> How cool is it that Good Deal Games invests in your productions and promotes your games? How low is it that we promote a shameless plug into this interview?
GP> I'm a big fan of shameless plugs! ; ) GDG has always offered a lot of support for homebrews. My own experience...
Immediately following the release of WOTR, Michael asked me to bring my game to CGE2K3, and sell it from his booth! I gladly accepted, and was pleased to see all of the cartridges that I brought sell out in less than 15 minutes at the show!

MT>Please describe any technical roadblocks that you encountered during development.
GP> The biggest roadblock for me was getting I, Cyborg to fit on a 32k EPROM! I optimized and optimized and optimized the code, which really became all that I did during the last month or so of programming this game. The finished game stands at 31.9.... k!

MT> Tell us about your development environment. Do you create in a small basement closet or do you have a huge multi-level ultra-Vectrex development loft... or something a bit more modest in between?
GP> I have two functional workstations. The main station has a Vectrex "tied" to it, and serves approximately 80% of my Vectrex development needs. The other station is my Ultra-Portable Vectrex Super Station (an old laptop).

MT> Do you dream in monochromatic vectors?
GP> Yes I do!


MT> Aside from programming, what other steps are involved in releasing your new titles for the Vectrex?
GP> The creation of box art and the mass production of packages.
        The creation and implementation of the instruction manuals.
        The updating of my internet site http://geovector.tripod.com

MT> First "War of the Robots," then "I, Cyborg," what's next?
GP> I started working on a new title just a few weeks ago. I try not to be overly cryptic when talking about my games in development,
but I also keep the specifics a bit of a secret until the release date approaches.

Let's just say that late this year (2005), I will be releasing my third Vectrex title. This game will combine elements of classic games with more modern games to create a fantastically entertaining game for all!

MT> Furthermore, what are you looking forward towards in the Vectrex community?
GP> Here's my Vectrex "want list"...

Color Vectrex
Handheld Vectrex
Vectrex Computer System
More Peripherals
MORE GAMES!!!

MT> Yes, I think that we all agree that all those items on your want list would be very ideal!

GP> On a final note...
Christmas of 1982 was when I received my original Vectrex system (by the way, that unit is still in great working condition!). The Vectrex is a system like no other. Had it not been created, the home gaming world would have been unknowingly crippled. I don't believe that any other company was even considering such a console at that time. Jay Smith must forever be thanked.

MT> Agreed!

Good Deal Games strongly promotes the development and publishing of new
games on classic platforms. Heck, it is the basis of our mission statement.
So, more power to George and others like him - we salute you!

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