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Homebrew, 2016

The original 1979 arcade game by Sega/Gremlin -using a monochrome monitor without overlay- nonetheless can claim the honor to be the very first game where you have to gobble up plenty of dots to clear a level – shortly afterwards made enormously popular by Pac-Man.

In 2015 when I was programming Robot Arena I actually saw a dead but complete and pretty nice, all-original Head-On cabinet nearby which was meant to be disposed of and thought I should rescue it to restore it and get to know the technology (a bit). This uses pretty ancient hardware as you might expect – the same monitor Space Invaders uses, only w/o overlay. And a Z80, ancient EPROM types, dedicated audio and TTLs for the gfx. Back then I hauled it up to store it in my attic for a short while until another working pcb or other spares might appear.

Shows you how naive I was and new to the arcade hobby: years later and it is still sleeping in the attic and not one single pcb or spare in all those years appeared. However, since I had it fresh at the back of my mind when Robot Arena was finished I was wondering whether I could get a similar game up on the Vectrex.

My Head-On for the Vectrex looks similar – and getting a stable labyrinth with plenty of dots up was most of the challenge – but is more of a timing/puzzle game, esp. in the first levels since these are reproducible because I deliberately did not enable the randomized behavior for the enemy there. So the challenge is first to figure out how to gobble up all the dots first – and then the next challenge: to get all these dots driving down each lane only once for a huge bonus.


  • Reset Highscores
  • Game Info: ”                      This is a version of Sega/Gremlins 1979 black and white arcade game Head-On. My version is more a puzzle and timing game – esp. the addition of perfect levelplay. This started mainly out of a curiousity whether I could draw stable mazes with plenty of things. Plus I had a dead, unrestored Head On cabinet and tried to appease my guilty conscience in not restoring it by programming this game, maybe it would spark some interest. Several years on now and the arcade game is still in storage..                     “
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