Find, FixPlay, and Emulate the Vectrex

Find, FixPlay, and Emulate the Vectrex
Find, FixPlay, and Emulate the Vectrex

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Retro play Hacks by Chris Kohler

Find, Fix, Play, and Emulate the Vectrex Play real vector graphics arcade games, right in your own residence.

The Vectrex is one amongst the “holy grails” of classic computer game collectors, the centerpiece of any assortment. vast for a system that was associate degree abject market failure as before long because it hit store shelves in 1982, finding itself within the clearance bins simply a year later. free by an organization known as GCE or General shopper physics (that was fleetly purchased by poet Bradley throughout the age once each toy, movie, and candy manufacturer wished to induce a finger into the video games pie), the Vectrex was the primary and solely home console to use a vector graphics show.

Vector graphics were already all the craze in arcades, having been used for such widespread games as Asteroids and Battlezone. Vector graphic displays made scammer, cleaner graphics as a result of the beam within the monitor would draw the photographs supported specific sets of X/Y coordinates (i.e., vectors).

Atari’s home versions of their vector games for the fixplay 2600, though they’ll have replicated the gameplay, couldn’t have replicated the graphics as a result of home systems that attach to a goggle box all use formation graphics, drawn by a beam that scans horizontally across every row of pixels, from the highest down.

But the Vectrex enclosed its own inbuilt vector monitor, therefore it didn’t have to be compelled to be attached to a TV. Thus, it had been marketed as moveable, though its heaviness and huge size (and demand of a electrical outlet to plug into) most likely precluded it from that kind of use. The monitor solely displayed in black and white, as a result of a color vector show would are prohibitively big-ticket for a shopper product, however tinted acetate overlays given every game cartridge additional some color and background graphics to the games.

Collecting the Vectrex

Vectrex systems will be had on eBay for between $70 and $100, looking on condition. If you’re wanting to travel the cheaper route and scour insect markets and garage sales… smart luck. If you are doing manage to search out one, though, take comfort within the proven fact that it’s most likely complete as is, since all the required bits were inbuilt. simply make certain the hooked up cord and controller haven’t been hacked off. The joystick handily snaps into a bay beneath the monitor.

There’s even a game engineered into the hardware, associate degree Asteroids clone referred to as Minestorm. concerning thirty further games were made in total throughout the system’s lifetime, starting from the comparatively common to the lewdly rare; additionally falling into the latter class area unit some accessories like a combine of 3D eyeglasses and a light-weight pen that permit you draw on the screen. Some comparatively cheap Vectrex games that a starting collector would possibly attempt to run are:

Armor Attack

You’re a small} little sq. car, and tanks and helicopters area unit firing on you. As you read the action from the highest down, you’ll ought to use your armor-piercing gun and also the barriers around you to evade and shoot down the enemy vehicles.

Star Trek: The show

Hop into your X-Wing and drop bombs on the Death Star! No, wait, I’m thinking of a unique vector graphics arcade game. This isn’t as fun because the different one, however it’s still a comparatively easy-to-find first-person house shooter. Actually, i believe I actually have 2 copies of this. Anybody wish one?


Yes, it’s really a vector graphics platform game. Your very little peaky girlfriend is kidnaped and you’ve got to barter platforms and ladders and such to induce her back. It even uses speech synthesis!

In addition to the originally free games, there’s additionally a spirited Vectrex inebriant scene. several Vectrex games were created by John Dondzila, as well as clones of games like house Invaders and Tetris. you’ll be able to get the cartridges for $20 every from his computing device, . different inebriant games, like Vec Sports Boxing, are free from haggle Games (

Fixing the Vectrex

Inspired by collectors’ stories that I’d scan on-line or within the Digital Press Collector’s Guide, I afraid vainly for a Vectrex (as well as just about unspecified console I didn’t have) for years, however ne’er did see one at a sales event. Once I had just about given abreast of ever finding one, my father came home and aforesaid he’d found a Vectrex on the facet of the road.

Plugging it in, we have a tendency to discovered why it had been there within the initial place—it didn’t work. Specifically, it had a retardant that I before long discovered was evident in most Vectrex systems. once steam-powered on, it simply displayed one white dot within the center of the monitor.

We ne’er did get around to fixing it, however I did realize all the knowledge we wanted. At some purpose in 1998, the initial Vectrex troubleshooting guide and repair manual—the documents that GCE sent dead set authorized  Vectrex dealers—were situated, scanned, and reborn to PDF file format for simple viewing in Adobe athlete Reader. you’ll be able to transfer it from and transfer the reader from Note that each guides assume data of physics which you’ve got bound general tools utilized in tv repair.

Emulating the Vectrex

If you’re curious—but not 100 bucks curious—as to what Vectrex games compete like, you would possibly attempt emulating the system on your laptop. We’ll speak abundant, rather more concerning emulation in Chapters three and four of this book, however I’m as well as Vectrex emulation during this hack for one specific reason: it’s absolutely legal. The homeowners of the games have granted users the correct to transfer and distribute all the Vectrex games for complimentary, provided they are doing not use them to form a profit.

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