Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Peer Johannsen

Weird Science - Tales from the Vectrex Academy Lab

Vectrex Game Project Title


Project Status

  • Final debugging phase
  • Physical cartridge release by Sean Kelly, including box, overlay & manual
  • Scheduled for November 2023
  • Vector Warriors: Please send me an email!


  • Bottom-of-the-screen skill shooter
  • A much advanced and improved version of a certain older project:
  • This is "The Count" as I had always wanted it to be

How To Play

  • "Greetings visitor, and welcome to my castle. Come in and enter at your own risk! I am Count Vecula. And I love to count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Easy, isnít it? Itís as simple as that. Let us play a little game. We will play for a price. Nothing much, just your soul. All you have to do, is count. Make no mistakes, and you will live. Miscount, and your days are numbered. If you can count all the rooms in my castle, then I will let you go. There are numerous rooms in my castle, and they are not all accounted for. You might encounter strange things on your way, and you must count them all. Don't be afraid. I am your counterpart, and I will always be close. I only want your best. I have played this game countless times before, and I have never lost count. Now, get ready, and take a bow. After all, I am the Count, and you can always count on meÖ"
  • Objective: visit all rooms of the castle.
  • Count (shoot and eliminate) all objects of each room from 1 to 9 before the clock strikes midnight.
  • Always shoot the lowest number which is active and visible next.
  • Hitting the wrong number results in various penalties...

  • Button 1: pause game
  • Button 2: reload the bow immediately (auto-reload takes longer)
  • Button 3: move with double speed
  • Button 4: hold-and-release to draw bow and shoot arrow
  • Joystick left-right: move bow sideways
  • Joystick up-down: accurately draw bow and use button 4 to release (alternative to using button 4 only)
  • Player selection allows for a single-player mode, or for a two-players-taking-alternating-terms mode.
  • Game selection determines the initial level of difficulty and the number of bows given.

Tactical Advice (also see game manual)

  • Up to four arrows can be shot simultaneously.
  • Arrows can be shot with different speeds, depending on how much the bow is drawn.
  • The fastest arrow is not always the best choice.
  • There are levels in which accurate timing and slow arrows are essential.
  • Make use of buttons 2 and 3.
  • Also use the joystick-up-down method (see above) for drawing the bow.

  • The castle has a certain layout, and there are various ways to traverse its rooms.
  • Some ways might be less or more difficult than others.


  • Peer Johannsen



  • These are early versions of the box art and the overlay, designed and created by Sean and Stephen, giving a hint at what the final release will look like.

Personal Note

  • This project originally started under the name of "The Count" as an educational example for the students of my Vectrex Academy class back in 2017. It somehow grew out of hand and evolved into a full Vectrex game.
  • But then at some point, for various reasons, I grew tired of it and simply could not bring myself to finishing the last bits of the project (which was basically "just" the definition of the levels and their sequence). So I buried the whole thing in the crypt, locked the basement door, and did not think of it for a long time.
  • After years of silence, there was suddenly noise coming from the basements again. The creature seemed to have woken up. So I finally readied myself for a last confrontation and went down and opened up the crypt. The coffin was wide open, and the creature was alive.
  • I set out to "just" complete the final definition of the levels and their sequence, and to leave everything else as it was. But while at it, I accidently started to also polish and change some minor stuff. And suddenly the fun and joy of programming and working on a Vectrex project was there again. I changed some major stuff as well, threw out some ballast, and added several new features which had meanwhile come to my mind. By now, a lot has changed. To quickly summarize, I think I have now made "The Count" the game as I had always envisioned it to be. The result turned out to be quite different to the original version. I believe the new version is much more advanced and has improved in many ways, so I also started thinking about a new title.
  • And at last the creature spoke to me and told me its true name: Beware the rise of "Count Vecula"!


  • The game is written entirely in C. The code uses the original Vectrex BIOS routines only to interface with the hardware and thus should run fine on any console and emulator.


  • Overlay: count_vecula.png
  • Game manual count_vecula.pdf
  • These are prototypes. The overlay & manual coming along with the physical cartridge release will look differently.
  • Downloads are free and for non-commercial use only. Use at your own risk.
  • Please respect the copyright and credit the author and the origin of this game.

Latest modification on 10/27/2023, 11:30
  • Page updated