The Vectrex is a unique vector display-based home video game console developed by Smith Engineering. It was first released for the North America market in November 1982 and then Europe and Japan in 1983. Originally manufactured by General Consumer Electronics, it was later licensed to Milton Bradley after they acquired the company. Bandai released the system in Japan.
The Vectrex, in contrast to other video-game systems available at the time, featured an integrated monochrome CRT monitor and did not need to be hooked up to a television set. A detachable wired control pad was mounted at and could be folded into, the lower base of the console. Games included translucent color sheet overlays that could be placed over the monochrome screen. A number of peripherals were produced, such as a pair of 3D goggles known as the “3D Imager” and a “light-pen” that allowed the player to draw directly on the screen. A built-in game, Mine Storm, was playable without inserting a cartridge.
The console was originally conceived by John Ross, an employee at Smith Engineering, in late 1980, as a way to clear out excess inventory of 1-inch monitors. The console became Smith’s first foray into the home game market. It was at first conceived as a handheld system called the “Mini Arcade”. Once the prototype was completed, it was presented to General Consumer Electronics, who agreed to manufacture the console. Strong initial sales caused General Consumer Electronics to be acquired by Milton Bradley. The Vectrex was a victim of the video game crash of 1983 and was discontinued shortly after Milton Bradley’s acquisition by Hasbro.
Despite its commercial failure, the Vectrex was highly praised for its software library, graphical capabilities, and built-in monitor; several publications lauded it as one of the best home consoles available at the time. In later years, the system gained a cult following, with many releasing homebrew software for it. A colorized handheld version of the Vectrex was conceived in the late 1980s but was shelved due to its manufacturing cost and the success of the Nintendo Game Boy.
List Of Original Vectrex Games From The 80s
3D Crazy Coaster
3D Narrow Escape
Fortress of Narzod
Mine Storm 1982 Built-in console game. A bug-fix version on physical cartridge was release by mail-order only in 1983, titled “Mine Storm II”.
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