Those who know me, know that I collect video game systems – especially vintage video game systems. Well, this weekend I found the system that for me is the Holy Grail of video game systems: The Vectrex.
“What the heck is a Vectrex?” is the kind of response that I get from most people when I mention this system. For a more detailed look at the Vectrex, go to the Vectrex Wikipedia entry. I’ll give you a brief description. Vectrex was a home video game system released late 1982 by General Consumer Electric (GCE), in time for the Christmas buying season. The Vectrex stood apart from other game systems in many ways, none the least of which was the fact that it sported it’s own monitor!
Looking a little like an original (or classic) Apple Macintosh if it had been specifically designed for Darth Vader, this amazing machine had a black and white vector monitor housed in a monolith-like black vertical case. The Vectrex used a vector monitor, because it displayed vector graphics: line based graphics. If you ever seen the classic arcade games Asteroids, Battlezone, Star Wars or Tempest then you know what I mean. At the time, this was the best way to get sharp, detailed graphics on a screen. Vector graphics cannot properly be displayed on a standard television screen. Another benefit of the built in screen is not needing to hog the television: back in 1982, a lot more households only had one television! It also had a more sophisticated sound processor allowing it to reproduce better sound effects and music. Heck, the game Spike even had voice! This is something that was so very rare at the time (1982 was a long time ago), that most systems simply couldn’t do it. The Mattel Intellivision needed a separate expansion device to reproduce sound – Vectrex did it from the start.
So, to make a long story just a little less long, I got the Vectrex and three games for about $150 Canadian (at the moment about $149.80 U.S.). I probably could have paid less online somewhere, but shipping would have been stupidly high… So I am very happy!
Below is a little video of my Vectrex!