May 10, 2007

Retro gaming with a Vectrex

Actually, make that retro gaming with a Vectrex emulator, as I haven't yet managed to get my hands on one of these vector producing beauties just yet. Yes, despite blogging about a pretty interesting Vectrex auction over at Retro Treasures and despite being really intrigued by its compact 80s Apple styled design.

The Vectrex (first release: 1982 US, followed by a 1983 UK & Japan release), much like the admittedly beautiful Mac Classic of yore, came with a built in 9'' monochrome but crisp monitor, which unlike the Mac one, was capable of producing some impressive and quite 3d-ish vector graphics. Zooming and rotation effects were also available, while some rather ill-conceived screen overlays added a touch of color to the games. Speaking of games, only 28 were officially released for the short-lived console, but a vibrant homebrew community has added many more during the last ten or so years, as well as some quirky hardware add-ons. Oh, and it had a controller featuring a proper and obviously innovative analog stick.

The following video (created by the brilliant tr0d) will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the 8-bit Vectrex. The games showns are Mine Storm, Web Wars, Heads Up, Solar Quest, Hyperchase, Armor Attack, Spike, Berzerk, Clean Sweep, Spinball, Fortress Of Narzod, Scramble and Pole Position.

Now, to emulate the thing, you could either use the ParaJVE Vectrex emulator, the Vecx or the ultra impressive multi-machine emulator MESS. Googling around will get you most of the system's games. For further Vectrex info try the following:

Related @ Gnome's Lair: PSX: the PlayStation PDF guide, the best in online NES emulation, Shredz 64, retro features archive


  1. screen overlays - Muhahahaha!

    Plays pong with green screen

    "Hey look it's tennis"

    Plays pong with blue screen

    "Hey look it's ice hockey"


  2. What about Asteroids then?

  3. (fascinated by Caleb switching screen overlays......)

    ... very dangerous gnome.. Asteroids that is... not to be meddled with ....

  4. Plays asteriods with a screen of color oscillating death

    "hey look! It's asteroids!"

    Did I miss the joke?

  5. Indeed learned Mr. Elderly, but what about overlays? Or Calebs? What's the bloody UN doin'?

    No, Joe, Im pretty sure you didn't. Unless of course I did too etc...

  6. I've got asteroids... The doctor gave me some cream though, so I'm hoping they'll clear up soon... I hope so, as I've not been able to sit down for a week...

    The Vectrex looks cool! Saw the Retro treasures post...

    Is it the linear graphics typified by asteroids?

    If so there were two arcade games one tank themed, one Star Wars themed... Anyone know what they were called?

  7. Whip cream and asteroids you say..! Boy, not a good combination! Somebody will be pissed when they wake up from a drunk night with you Father...

  8. Well Father, they are played in the exact order mentioned right above the video. And, yes, it's the Asteroids thingy, actually based on proper mathematical vectors, saving tons of memory and producing nice 3d sharp lines.

    Now, here, try this for your asteroids. Oh, and download the mp3 of the Monty Python's medical song while you're at it.

    Well, Deitrix, that's why FK never drinks. Ever. Right. Aha. 100%. Definitely so.

  9. This system still has nothing on the Mattell Aquarious.

    In fact I think I am going to have a round of Astro Smash tonight.

  10. The Mattel Aquarius? Seems most intriguing...

  11. the UN Gnome, are protecting the less fortunate with paper and words.... and champagne receptions...

  12. That's sounds like a harsh job that someone has to do. Think they could hire us? I could write all day against poverty when drinking... Probably in 3 languages too. At the same time.

  13. ..well if I'm impressed, I'm quite sure so will the UN...

    i'll email em... I wonder if we'd get paid or food parcels?

  14. Can't we have some money in our food parcels?