14th of January 2018 – Finale!


A few days ago I sent Karl Quappe on his journey around the world – in 16 incarnations he will visit 6 countries.

What I mean by that – Karl Quappe is finished. I got all overlays and all other materials – and was finaly able to build all cartridges I wanted and send them to their designated owners. Some Karl’s have already arrived at their destinations – and some people liked to share their gift on social forums (which I am totally ok with).

I couldn’t help but notice some disappointed sentiments of people that this version is not for sale.
Being a collector myself (yes – by now I must admit I am a collector too) – I can understand that.


Development Vectrex stuff is one of my hobbies, I do it in my spare time and often I have fun with it. I never intended to make any profit of it – and I most probably never will.

I am very open with my developments.

  • 20 years ago I wrote VPong and Vectrex Frogger and released those to the public domain (incl. source)
  • I wrote several routines (curved lines, 3d, sample player, ym player etc) [some with the help of others] and made the sources available
  • I wrote many documentations (which sometimes only contain guesswork – yes) and made them available
  • I wrote Release and placed into public domain (incl. source)
  • I “wrote” Vide for all all to access (inclusive source code)
  • I “updated” Karl Quappe – and released it to public domain (incl. source) – see download pages
  • and probably many other things I can’t remember

Since I placed all Vectrex ROMs (of myself) into the public domain – everyone – can build cartridges of their own. You can build them for yourself – or you can sell them. Whatever – they are as such “totally free”.

David (Packrat) asked additionally if he was allowed to build and distribute them (Karl Quappe + Release) – I told him “Public Domain – please do! But keep in mind this is not exclusive!” He got my “ok” in April 2017 – I don’t know what the current status is though. But theoretically you might have been able to “buy” Karl Quappe since then. And probably ARE able to buy sometime in the future.

All that being said…

I shipped each version of Karl Quappe with following letter, which might explain things still a bit more:

Dear Vectrex colleague,                                                 09.01.2018, Düsseldorf, Germany


with this letter you receive your copy of

Karl Quappe

formerly known as Vectrex Frogger.


About two years ago I came back to the Vectrex “world” after nearly 15 years of absence. I was surprised that after that long time I was still well remembered by a lot of people. Many people have been extremely kind to me over the last 24 months.


Late 2016 I decided I would like to revisit my first Vectrex release and bring it a bit “up to date”. Very soon I resolved that again I would not sell the game and that I would make it publicly available. But also I soon decided that I would like to do ONE special edition for the people that in various ways have been kind to me – and/or became “Vectrex friends”.
This is the version you hold in your hands. I will not list here your doings – you will know why you received your copy.


Have fun!

All Karl Quappe editions belong (at the moment) to those 16 people. If anyone of them decides to sell their version – they are welcome to do so, I don’t mind. But I know I said “thank you” where it was due. If you ever meet a person with a Karl Quappe gifted from me – you can be assured that in general that one is a nice person (at least to me 🙂 ).

*(Which doesn’t mean other people are not nice… Geee – one has to be carefull what one writes these days…)



Also included in the letter was a short list of points that brought the physical release to life. I probably will not do another physical release myself.

A small history of the physical making of this release.

  • November 2016: starting new Version of Vectrex Frogger
  • December 2016: name change to Karl Quappe
  • December 2016: decision to do a cartridge + eEprom to save highscores
  • January 2017: start on overlay drawing and instructions, ordered “standard boxes”
  • January 2017: Overlay “ordered”
  • January 2017: Karl Quappe finished
  • February 2017 (I think): bought at an ebay auction 5 differently colored transparent cartridge shells (fitting colors yeah!)
  • March 2017: First print version of the manual – the colors are pale and the cut was done wrong!
  • March 2017: ordered special edition boxes
  • April 2017: got the ordered special edition boxes -> beautiful!
  • May 2017: got the ordered “normal” boxes -> also beautiful – but slightly to large
  • May 2017: thinking how to do box inlays? Thought about thermoforming, ordered some hardware to do that
  • June 2017: after some arguing with myself -> ordered a second run of boxes
  • June 2017: after the election in UK, the printer got time to do my overlays. The color used didn’t agree with the overlay material the colors appear “cracked” (green overlay 1)
  • June 2017: after again arguing with myself – I ordered a second run of overlays (from a different printer)
  • June 2017: did a second run of printing the manuals. Colors seem fine – cutting Ok, I stick with these!
  • June 2017: all hardware has arrived (pcbs, eproms, eprom programmer, soldering iron,…) so I manufactured all cartridges
  • July 2017: second run of overlays arrived – well not cracked – but in my eyes unusable, they are “foggy” (green overlay 2)
  • July 2017: after again arguing with myself I ordered a THIRD version of overlays (same manufacturer as the first version – only now in BLUE colors instead of green. Also it seemed both older overlays did not stick to my design (one background white was missing))
  • August 2017: second version of “normal” boxes arrived – ok (these are the boxes used)
  • August 2017: again realizing that I have two left hands, I am not good enough to do a cast blank. Ordered styrofoam material to use as inlays
  • September: Inlay arrived
  • November: ordered overlay sleeves (instead of envelopes which I previously intended to use)
  • September, October, November 2017: different messages from the overlay manufacturer that this and that was broken/wrong/not working…
  • December 2017: 3rd run of overlay seems to be finished – waiting for them
  • 8th of January 2018: Overlays arrived (3rd version -> the blue ones) doing all packaging. Writing this. Tomorrow I’ll visit the post office with 16 parcels


And finaly I included (since I know there ARE collectors out there):

For the collectors amongst you following data:

  • the version is not numbered
  • as of now I distribute 11 “normal” special editions (I ordered 15 boxes, 2 I kept for myself, 2 boxes are damaged)
  • the material of the box is not as good as I would have liked it to be, but that can not be changed. Also I fear the colors will change over time. My little boxes of the same printer start to show a tint of red. 2 of the boxes you guys received have very small defects – I am sorry for that, I don’t know who of you have these boxes – I randomized.
  • there will be no more of these boxes, since the frog pictured on the box was given to me for this boxed version only – if there ever will be a Packrat version – it will definitely be different
  • there are 5 “special” special editions. Each of which features a uniquely colored handmade box – you will probably have seen photos on my pages.
    These boxes are made in remembrance of the “Protector”-box of Alex Herbert – a great Vectrex personality who I never had a chance to be in contact with – since he was only “active” during my absence. Kudos to you Alex – if you ever are able to read this!
  • these special editions also have colored cartridges (fitting the box color) and a different text (featuring the color edition)
  • each box includes 3 overlays (XXX – you only got two, since I didn’t have any green ones left – and you said you kept one for yourself anyway – you got an extra empty sleeve)


I am not perfect. If you think you also deserved a copy of Karl Quappe – blame it all on me. I am getting older – I might just have forgotten you.

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6 thoughts on “14th of January 2018 – Finale!

  1. Alan McClelland

    Congrats to you and your stellar work over the years! I love both Karl Quappe & Release. I think some of friends would agree with that as well that have played it. Some of my personal favs since I went down the Vectrex rabbit hole. Much like how I feel about Kristof Tuts masterwork games be better than the original arcade games. I feel the same about Karl Quappe! Plus, Release I feel is one of the most original, addictive and just plain cool games out there. The gameplay pacing with the music is like no other thing out the for the Vectrex. Keep up the excellent work!

  2. GeoAnas

    Great games and tons of great releases over time, specially tailored for our cherished Vectrex console, coming from a great developer that I personally consider a good friend to me. Frankly speaking, I feel honoured to meet you Christopher. Time to better make a special controller for ‘Release’ now, I think…no more excuses… 😉

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