Active from 1982-1984
Motorola MC68A09 @ 1.5 MHz
1 kB RAM
The Vectrex was an innovative home console that never quite caught on during the initial videogame craze of the early 80s. With a high aftermarket asking price, fewer than 30 original games, not to mention its large size and built in screen making shipping one cumbersome at best, it seems like the kind of system that only a true fanatic collector could love.
But the Vectrex has one important thing going for it. There is no other way to experience home vector gaming. You just can't emulate the crisp lines and smooth movements of a vector screen. It is a unique, refreshing experience that kids raised on modern consoles and iPads will still enjoy.
Vectrex also enjoys the only proper ports of vector arcade games like Star Castle and Rip Off. Strangely, it also boasts the only official port of the standard bitmap arcade game Scramble, an early horizontal helicopter shoot ‘em up that was quite popular for its time.
It also benefits from one of the largest and best homebrew game libraries available for a cartridge-based system (only the Atari 2600 can rival it). Many are ports or “clones” of classic arcade games. John Dondzila’s carts and the amazing Protector (a Defender clone) by Alex Herbert are highlights.
Unless you are a completist, you can skip the crazy expensive 3D imager and light pen. But do yourself a favor, pick up this system, some of the standard, common games and a few homebrews, you won't be disappointed.
- Eric Ruck / Ben Langberg