GCE Vectrex [OT] - Oh No

When I had to downsize to a small apartment this year, the Vectrex was one of many systems I sold to make space and gather money. I was sad to see it go but I kept the games and maybe one day I wil get another one with new capacitors.

In 1982, General Consumer Electronics (GCE) introduced the Vectrex system to the North American market. The company was soon acquired by Milton Bradley, and they expanded its release to Europe in 1983. Like with the Intellivision, Bandai received the Japanese distribution rights.



Unlike the other more traditional consoles released in 1982 (ColecoVision, Atari 5200), it came with a monitor which displayed vector (line) graphics as opposed to raster graphics of TVs. The downside was that it was the only new black and white console on the market and games included screen overlays to give the appearance of colour, a throwback to many games of the '70s. Still, it was a very impressive piece of hardware. The graphics were sharp and animated extremely smooth.

Its joystick was also one of the sturdiest controllers of its time, and worked great for both digital and analog play. If anyone tells you the N64 had the first good console analog stick, they’re wrong.

It was also the first console to have 3d glasses/visor predating the Master System and Famicom ones by a few years. Since the 3D Imager was released shortly before the system was discontinued, it’s a collector’s item today. At least I got to play SubRoc 3D in the arcades back then.


The character Spike has sort of become retro-actively seen as a mascot for the Vectrex. I don’t think many would consider it a great game but it stood out on the system for its use of voice and being a Vectrex platformer in a sea of shooters.


Anyway, here are some of the quality games available for the Vectrex:

Mine Storm was an excellent Asteroids clone built into the system, and superior to any actual ports of Asteroids available back then.

Armor Attack
An impressive port of the Cinematronics arcade game where you move your jeep around a maze shooting tanks and helicopters.

Cosmic Chasm
An interesting note about this game - it was probably the first console game to be ported to the arcades.

Hyperchase Auto Race
This racing game has a nice sense of speed.

A port of the Konami arcade game filling the side-scrolling shooter void on the system.

Solar Quest
Another somewhat Asteroids-like shooter.

Fortress of Narzod

Pole Position

Web Wars/Web Warp
The special effects were amazing and still look good today. I initially thought this game was all style over substance but it really grew on me.

The system took on sort of a second life with the homebrew scene of the 1990s and 2000s with plenty of new games and multicarts.

Some links:

Vectrex games are unintentionally the coolest looking thing ever. If it was realistic for me to buy one and have it set up somewhere, I totally would.

I have two of these. With a multicart and almost no overlays.

Probably the best system with a small library.

I once owned the 3D goggles and Minestorm 3D and it gave me a headache and I sold them.

The OG Minestorm is a fantastic game!

I think a 4K HDR OLED TV could do a fanstastic emulation and I need to mess with that.

I’ve only seen one of these in the flesh before but it wasn’t actually running. I really want to play one someday.

I love the fact that it came with its own permanently Tate screen.

@NeoZeedeater , you’re killing it with these OT’s!

All of my vectrex knowledge comes from Mark @ CGR.

There’s one for sale for $600 at a local pawn shop but I havn’t even looked to see if that’s a decent price

Thanks. That is overpriced. I think loose systems are usually around $250 in Canada. The boxed ones are more but can be found for way less than $600, I’m sure.

I just took mine in to a local repair guy. My system sometimes has trouble staying on/picture is a bit fuzzy at the bottom. Otherwise, it’s a very cool piece of hardware and some of the games are a blast. The obvious one, Mine Storm, is a fun and enjoyable Asteroids clone. I also own the Sean Kelley multicart (I assume Beer Monkey’s is the same?); lots of cool games on it. Hoping mine improves a bit. I got it for $400 CDN for what it’s worth and is otherwise in excellent shape cosmetically.

Couple things:

Not sure if they’re currently offered, but I believe vectrex.co.uk sells Mine Storm overlays. I got an overlay last year and it looks identical to the real thing.

There is a Vectrex podcast, “Vectrex Radio.” Last episode was in March but they go into detail about some of the games on the system. May be worth a listen for some of you. Cheers.

Yes, I have an ancient Sean Kelly multicart. I’ve had it for 20 years. At one point I sent it back and had him add some homebrew to it like Rockaroids.

It’s weird to me that Vectrex multicarts are retro now. I still think of them as fairly new.

Vectrex hacked to drive color X/Y monitor.

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Wow, great find!

Very cool!