Vector display-based home video game console / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Vectrex is a vector display-based home video game console–the only one ever designed and released for the home market, 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.

Quick facts: Developer, Manufacturer, Type, Generation, Re...
A Vectrex and its controller
DeveloperSmith Engineering
ManufacturerGeneral Consumer Electronics (1982–83)
Milton Bradley Company (1983–84)
TypeHome video game console
GenerationSecond generation
Release date
  • NA: November 1982
  • EU: 1983
  • JP: 1983
Introductory priceUS$199 (equivalent to $560 in 2021)
DiscontinuedFebruary 1984
MediaROM cartridge
CPUMotorola MC68A09 @ 1.5 MHz
Memory1 KB
Display9-inch cathode ray tube (CRT)
Controller input2 controller ports

The Vectrex, in contrast to other video game systems at the time, does not need to be hooked up to a television set. It has an integrated monochrome CRT monitor. A detachable wired control pad can be folded into the lower base of the console. Games came with translucent color overlays to place over the screen. Peripherals include a pair of 3D goggles known as the "3D Imager" and a light pen for drawing directly on the screen. The Asteroids-inspired Mine Storm is built into the system.

The console was conceived by John Ross, of Smith Engineering, in late 1980 as a handheld called the "Mini Arcade". It morphed into a tabletop system that was manufactured by General Consumer Electronics. 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 in 1984.

Despite its commercial failure, the Vectrex was praised for its software library, unique graphical capabilities, and built-in monitor. Several publications lauded it as one of the best consoles available at the time. The Vectrex was the first console to have a 3D-based peripheral.[1] A color handheld version of the Vectrex was conceived in the late 1980s, but was shelved because of its manufacturing cost and the success of the Nintendo Game Boy.