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The Core

Homebrew, 2017

After Robot Arena – which is best played using two analog joysticks – I was not quite finished in my mind with the ‘two joystick shooter’ genre but ‘the Core’ also was at the start a technical test for using curved ‘vectors’ in-game plus a small physics-like behaviour for the game elements. This mass and inertia, which the central core does affect when entered, and the boundaries which everything bounces off of give this game a quite distinct feel to it, different to Gottlieb’s Reactor game which it reminds me somewhat of, maybe since I have played it back in the day. Only touching an active barrier actually kills you here, though. This concept allows this game to be played just with one analog joystick very well, at least for me, once you understand the concept: you can select whether you thrust in the direction you are pointing at, or fire, or do both at any given moment with a dedicated thrust and fire button.

I am quite pleased with this quirky game; the actual game cartridge uses 64kb plus a 1-wire chip for permanent options and high scores with the music in the other bank, just like Robot Arena. And the scripted levels work really well.


Either two joysticks where one defines the thrust and the other the firing direction, digital or analog, or if one joystick is chosen buttons 3: stops thrust in a direction and 4: fires in a pointed direction.

The ‘PS2’ controller option is for Kokovec’s Vectrex-converted PS2-controller.


  • Reset Highscores
  • Music: On / Off
  • Input: 1 Joystick + Buttons / 2 Joysticks / 2 digital Joysticks / PS2 Controller / PS2 Controller, Swapped
  • Game Info: ”                           The Core is another example of a game that came into being while trying out some ideas – curves and a somewhat physical behavior here with plenty of enemies. And an internal scripting engine. Note the bouncing angles around the border for example or the hit/contact precision with that curved border. Not all that many levels but still I believe noone ever completed the game besides myself..  “

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