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Vectrex

Published: June 27, 2021

The Vectrex is an 8-bit video game console that was developed by Western Technologies/Smith Engineering. It was licensed and distributed first by General Consumer Electric (GCE), and then by Milton Bradley Company after their purchase of GCE. As the video game market declined and then crashed, the Vectrex exited the market in early 1984.

Vectrex

Top 7 most popular Vectrex games

According to video gamers, the following Vectrex games are most popular:

  • Space Wars (1982) - Brilliant multiplayer game and simple gameplay
  • Protector (2003) - This rare homebrew brings the best out of your Vectrex console
  • Armor Attack (1982) - Nice action game with tanks, rockets and helicopters
  • Space Frenzy (2006) - Great and rare homebrew hommage to Space Fury
  • Cosmic Chasm (1982) - Find your way underground, blow everything up and get out
  • Spike (1983) - Digitized speech. Probably the only platformer on Vectrex
  • Vectrex 72 in 1 Multicart

Original price

The original price when the Vectrex was released in November 1982 was $199, which is about $535 in today's money (2020).

Vector graphics

Unlike other video game consoles, which connected to televisions and rendered raster graphics, the Vectrex has an integrated vector monitor which displays vector graphics. The monochrome Vectrex uses screen overlays to give the illusion of color. At the time, many of the most popular arcade games used vector displays, and GCE was looking to set themselves apart from the pack by selling high-quality versions of games such as Space Wars and Armor Attack.

Minestorm

Vectrex comes with a built in game, the Asteroids-like Minestorm. Two peripherals were also available for the Vectrex, a light pen and a 3D imager.

Vectrex 3D Imager

The console became the first home system to offer a 3D peripheral: the Vectrex 3D Imager. It was only sold in limited quantities in the US (in early 1984), as Vectrex production ceased due to the Video Game Crash of 1983. The 3D Imager is one of the most searched items in the genre of vintage video game collecting.

Vectrex handheld

Western Technologies/Smith Engineering briefly considered designing a handheld version of the device in 1988. However, the impending release of the Nintendo Game Boy made such a project too risky. In 1992, Smith Engineering released the duplication of the Vectrex system image and cartridges for non-commercial uses and has been pleased to see that it has still-thriving developer and user communities.

Homebrew Vectrex games

Because of the system's uniqueness, it has inspired a loyal group of fanatics who have created emulators, web pages, and even new games.

Foremost among these homebrew Vectrex programmers is John Dondzila, whose first ever contribution to classic console gaming was the 1996 Vectrex game Vector Vaders. In 1999, he produced the first ever 64K Vectrex game, Vecmania, which contains several different games all on one cartridge. Sean Kelly at one point sold a Vectrex multicart - a single cartridge that contains almost the entire library of Vectrex games. Others have produced Vectrex versions of Frogger and Galaxian, among others, making Vectrex possibly the most supported 'dead' console, second perhaps only to the Atari 2600.

Jay Smith, an engineer who was previously an employee at Mattel and had started the videogame company Smith Engineering/Western Technologies donated the original 'Mini Arcade' 1982 handmade prototype and the later Color Vectrex Prototype to the CGE museum in 1999.

Vectrex repair

The following sites and pages can help with repairing your good ol' and cripplin' Vectrex:

Instructions & manuals

Looking for the instructions?
Download here the Vectrex manual (PDF).

// repair service manual //

Want a copy of the service manual?
Download here the Vectrex service manual (PDF).

Vectrex value and price guide

What's your Vectrex worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
MB Milton Bradley Vectrex In Milton Bradley Vectrex In Pristine 06/2021 $ 3 563.69
MB 1982 VECTREX GAME SYSTEM 1982 VECTREX GAME SYSTEM FACTORY SEALED 06/2021 $ 2 049.13
MB Vectrex 3D Imager Bundle Games Vectrex 3D Imager Bundle Games Color 06/2021 $ 1 427.14
MB Vectrex Vecfever multi cart Vectrex Vecfever Multi Cart MAME Arcade 06/2021 $ 1 408.11
MB Mb vectrex video console 12 Mb Vectrex Video Console 12 Games 06/2021 $ 1 125.46
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices08/2021-.--

Vectrex forum

Questions or stories?
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Thanks, comment waiting for approval!
Kevin - October 23, 2020
I am looking for John Dondzila know how I can get in contact with him by email etc.
Show reply
JohnKevin - October 23, 2020
No idea, sorry.. Although when you do a search on Google you'll find some other Vectrex sources, maybe try there as well.
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Vectrex for sale on eBay US