Images from playvectrex.com (thanks Brett), originally
Some images have been manipulated by me to make the screen show up better.
From an ex-GCE employee :
"Here is a heads up on a future eBay auction. I have a VECTREX
Cartridge Tester that is the last of its kind. There were only a few made
and all the others were in Hong Kong and long since deceased. There were
maybe 10 made and the cost was about $3,000 to $5,000 each to make. The
auction will not be for a few weeks but I thought I would let you know in
advance. It is very cool and the last of its kind. I doubt that anyone has
heard of them. It is made from a vectrex and has a custom ROM in it. It
reads cartridge check-sums. It was used in Hong Kong as the final test on
all cartridges before they are boxed and shipped. I was looking forward to
posting it on eBay just to advertise that it exists. If you still want it,
let me know and we can work something out.Every Hong Kong made cartridge you
have was tested on one. It is a Vectrex. It is modified to read checksums.
You put in the Cartridge. Turn it on. Push a Button and it reads the
check-sum. Then next cartridge. It will have a $500 starting price on eBay.
It is "the rarest Vectrex ever"
Editor's note : I'd say the color
prototype is a fair bit rarer still :)
From Frank Bartsch :
"I´m selling my collection of old video games and old home
computers. Here I´m selling a Vectrex main unit, which has been modified to
a very special one for testing purposes: THE GCE CARTRIDGE TESTER It looks
like a common console, but after switched on, you can see it´s speciality
on the screen. This console comes from USA and out of old GCE equipment. GCE
is the company, that sold the Vectrex in the 80s. This unit has been built
for testing the game cartridges. This is a colletors must-have I think. I
think that there will not be more of them around in our Vectrex-community.
ATTENTION: I´m selling this unit WITHOUT the controller (as any
Vectrex-collector has one) and without a game cartridge. But I will add a
power converter for 220V in Europe.."
The serial # is 106320 A Made in Taiwan
The screen says:
"GCE CARTRIDGE TESTER"
"HOW LARGE IS CARTRIDGE ?"
"BUTTON #1 = 2K"
"BUTTON #2 = 4K"
"BUTTON #3 = 8K"
"PRESSING BUTTON STARTS TEST"
So I plugged some carts in for testing.
Here are some results:
BEDLAM (4K) is FDB3
SPACE WARS (4K) is 991C
RIP OFF (4K) is 2087
There are no sounds all in this little
program. The Button 4 has NO function at any time. The joystick even has NO
function at any time. When you plugged in a cart for testing and have
started the test, the next little screen appears:
4 K CARTRIDGE
And a little bar which shows the working
progress (from left to right) is ON the words "FORMING CHECKSUM".
When done, the next screen appears, which
is the same like the first (now only with the checksum-result at the bottom).
From Chris Romero :
"From what I know of this unit the only difference between the cart
tester and a regular Vectrex is the ROM. The ROM is a specially built pieces
of software that does only one thing. Checks carts."