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Mine Storm
Minestorm

Mine Storm overlay.

Developer: GCE
Publisher: GCE
Genres: Flight simulator
Multi-directional shooter
Release date: 1982
Number of players 1-2, alternating
Platform Vectrex

Mine Storm is the built-in game that came with every Vectrex unit. It was also released in a 3-D version that required the use of the Vectrex 3D Imager and as a bug-free replacement cartridge called Mine Storm 2 (see Bugs section).

GameplayEdit

Gameplay is similar to Asteroids. The player moves around the screen shooting at star-shaped Mines of various sizes and mannerisms. Each screen has many dots, which can potentially turn into Mines; once a Mine is shot, two dots on the screen will turn into medium-sized Mines, which will then turn into two small Mines when shot (note: for the most part; sometimes, perhaps due to a glitch, a medium-sized Mine will just hatch one small Mine). When all dots have been turned into Mines on a screen the Minelayer will come out, laying Mines in it's wake until the player destroys it.

Making contact with any Mine, fireball, or Minelayer will destroy the player's ship and the game will end once there are no more reserve ships left (note: on some later versions, colliding with any piece of space dust or alien forces will also destroy the player's ship as well [see Trivia section]) . Extra ships are earned after every four levels are cleared. The Escape function acts as Hyperspace, which moves the player's ship to a random area on the screen in case of emergency.

Mine typesEdit

  • Floating Mines--regular "dumb" Mines that just drift around
  • Fireball Mines--these will launch a fireball when shot, usually right at the player's ship
  • Magnetic Mines--follows the player around
  • Magnetic-Fireball Mines--combination of the behavior of Fireball and Magnetic Mines
  • Space dust--looks like dots, acts like Floating Mines (on later U. S. versions only)
  • Alien forces--combination of Space dust and Magnetic-Fireball Mines (on later U. S. versions only)

BugsEdit

  • There are at least three versions of the game; the original U. S. release contains the infamous level 13 bug, where the game could crash and end if a player is able to clear out this level. An extra printed sheet was added to the instructions of the later U. S. versions advising players to press the reset button if their Vectrex screen went blank after clearing this level. Also, a Mine Storm 2 cartridge was made available for free upon request for Vectrex owners who wrote to GCE, which was bug-free, although it had many additional Mine Fields added, changes in the order of the Mines that appear (the Magnetic Mines make their debut during the second level, unlike the third on the second version of the game) and if there is any space dust or alien forces, they do not appear until very late in the game (this was tested up to level 51 without having either one appear). This is one of the most rare and sought after Vectrex cartridges nowadays.
  • In addition to the above glitch, the later U. S. version allows a player to make it past level 13, although the game behaves strangely, as there is a brief cinematic bit at the end of every level where the player's ship is sucked up from whatever area of the screen it is at to the middle while stars seemingly project from it (perhaps it is hitting warp to jump to the next level). If the player stays as close to the center as possible at the end of every level after 13, they will continue to advance; however, there are many times when a level skips several numbers for some reason. Also, if the player presses Escape or Thrust after they shoot the last Mine or piece of space dust, that could cause the game to end and take the player to the menu screen.

Trivia/notesEdit

  • Mine Storm is commonly mistaken as to being spelled as "Minestorm". It is clear by looking at the instruction booklet that came with a Vectrex unit or by starting the game either on a Vectrex or an emulator that "Mine Storm" is two words when the title screen comes up.
  • Due to it being the Vectrex's built-in game, Mine Storm never had a box.
  • Along with the version of the game that ends at level 13, on what is presumed to be the second version of the U. S. release truly ends on level 89, which there are several extra dots on this screen that will never hatch into Mines. There is also something that looks like a fireball that will not turn into smaller fireballs when shot. The player is either stuck here forever if they shoot all the Mines and space dust or they sacrifice whatever remaining ships they have by running into Mines or space dust particles. Presumably the third version is for the later Vectrexes that were released in non-U. S. countries, having a bit of code cleanup. There are no reports of the game crashing, some mine fields differ between the first and second U. S. versions after just a few Mine Fields, many levels were added and there have been posts online in regards to people making it to Mine Field 90 on the overseas version. It is currently unknown for how much longer these games can continue past that level.
  • In regards to the original level 13 bug, the "father of the Vectrex" Jay Smith had originally thought no one would get past level 13, since no one at Western Technologies could. However, after only one or two weeks after the Vectrex was commercially released, Smith's son Spencer beat level 13, causing his Vectrex to crash, prompting him to ask his father “Dad, what is this?” when his game ended.[1]
  • There have been many knock-offs of the game made from within GCE to modern day homebrewers. One was reportedly entitled Mine Storm III, supposedly having hundreds of levels (one must assume it was a bug-fixed version that would not crash) and there was only one copy made with a handmade, rather than a printed label[2]. A ROM file for a MonStorm (or "Monster Mine Storm") was sold off in regards to some Vectrex rarities in 2011[3], and a modern day hack called Mine Storm 3 was created, eliminating the level 13 bug. Also, the first 13 levels comprise one "stage", which the mines will start blinking on and off. The further the player gets into a game, the longer the mines will blink off, as with every 13 levels the player can make their way through, that will count as more "stages" that are completed.
  • Mine Storm (somewhat) made an appearance during the pilot episode of the Charles in Charge tv series. During this episode, Douglas Pembroke (played by Jonathan Ward) can be seen playing it, as the Minelayer can be seen at one point (although the game sounds were totally different), although when Charles (played by Scott Baio) asks him what he is doing he replies that he is "killing Martians". Charles prematurely ends Pembroke's playing twice by literally pulling the plug on the Vectrex during the episode.

ReferencesEdit

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