The Minicade is a table-top arcade system that was built in 1982 by a society named ESI in the Boston area in the US. There are two systems known to exist. These two systems were found in the Massachusetts state. The Mini-cade is interesting for the Vectrex collectors because it's built arround a vectrex system. It's like if the Vectrex system was taken back to its original roots: after all, the Vectrex was made to bring home the arcade excitement.
I couldn't help spending all my remaining money in one of these systems. The 22 kilos parcel arrived a few weeks ago. Thank you Mister Ebay ;)

Before the Mini-cade was discovered, it was rumored to exist as several people reminded an arcade cabinet in the public areas playing Minestorm. This could be the system they saw.


Mini-cade parts

The Mini-cade is made of several parts: The Vectrex [1] in itself is enclosed in the wooden box. 4 holes have been drilled inside the black sheet metal for the lever and the 4 buttons to pass through. A real Vectrex pad is hidden under. The pad label is also a new one with a chrome steel color and the figures 1,2,3 and fire written under the buttons. A coin-op device [3] is located on the right side of the system. This one is linked to the red led [5] and to a Time-op PCB [7].

How it's operating: The system is turned on when the back door is closed. Like in a fridge, there is a button [8] detecting weither the door is or not closed. When the system is turned on, the red led "Time-op" lights [5]. The Vectrex is normaly working but the pad is not active. Actually, the link between the pad and the Vectrex has been modified: there is a Timer PCB placed between them both. The pad remains inactive as long as no coin has been inserted in the coin op. The red led informs the player that he must insert a quarter to play. When the coin is inserted, the red led is switched off and the pad is "free"...the player can take the control of the Minestorm ship. He can play during 1 minute and 30 seconds with the original setting. During this time, the player can even reset his game by pressing a small button [4] on the front. There is no lives limitation but only a time limitation.

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