The Vectrex


The Vectrex has always been a mystery to me, I haven’t really read up on it or anything, but it has crossed my path of hunting down retro games all over the web more than ones. I’ve always been intrigued and thought many times about whether I should get it on eBay or not. It was always pretty expensive, and I had no clue if I would be able to play it or not (because of power outlets and such). I didn’t even know what to expect from it, but it sure looked cool! :D Recently though a friend found an ad in Sweden from a guy who was selling one! I got so excited I rushed to buy it instantly! I might sound like a total n00b, but I actually prefer not knowing about games and even systems until I get them in my possession, that way I can experience them the same was as I would if they were new, the only thing I basically research when game shopping are the prices so I don’t overpay ^^

This one was originally sold in Sweden (I didn’t even know it was released here!!) and it had a bunch of games and extras :D

Vectrex system
Vectrex console

The first problem I encountered was how to turn the Vectrex off?! It started immediately when I plugged in the power cord.. but I didn’t wanna change cartridge or move it until I figured out how to turn it off first! I had to google for about 40 minutes before I found out! I discovered an old original users manual for the Vectrex as a PDF that someone had scanned in (THANK YOU!!) and finally read my way to understanding that the volume lever IS ALSO the on/off button. At first I didn’t believe it, because I kept turning it to max and the minimum but nothing happened, but like with any old machinery you have to be patient! After turning the volume knob all the way to the left (turning the volume down) until you hear a click, just leave it there for a little while, the system will power down after all the juice has run out of it! Haha, this was trippy >.<

Vectrex game insert

It has a cartridge slot on the right side of the screen, and that’s where you insert the games. It comes with one built in game as well called MineStorm :D

Vectrex joystick
Vectrex controller joystick

Vectrex controller

The system has two controller ports, I got two controllers with the system ^_^ One controller can be folded into the front of the system so it’s not lying around :D The controller is kind of awkward when used though. It’s big and bulky, not really comfortable to hold so the best way to play is to put it in front of you on a flat surface in my opinion.

Vectrex and games

On the above picture you can see the controller folded into the bottom of the system, it’s got the logo on the back of it :)

I also got 19 games with it, they were:

Armor Attack Art Master Bedlam Berzerk
Blitz! Clean Sweep Cosmic Chasm Flipper Pinball
Fortress of Narzod Hyper Chase! Rip Off Scramble
Soccer Football! Solar Quest Space Wars Spike
Star Hawk! Star Ship WebWarp

When I added them to my collection on it said I had all the games for it, but I haven’t researched it any further. Perhaps there are more games that came out in North America? Then again, I’m not sure whether this system is region free or not…

Every game that I got had it’s overlay! Overlays are a colorful transparent plastic cards that you put in front of the screen to give the illusion that you’re playing in color ;D Since every game displayed on the Vectrex is white on black it sure provides some variation :)  My favorite overlays are Bedlam and Scramble:

Bedlam overlay2
Bedlam overlay
Scramble overlay

Here’s some other really pretty ones:
Vectrex Armor Attack overlay Vectrex Berzerk overlay
Vectrex Cosmic Chasm overlay Vectrex Starhawk overlay
Vectrex Webwarp overlay Vextrex Flipper pinball overlay

Another amazing accessory I got for the system was the Light Pen! This is used together with the Art Master program. You can Sketch, Connect or Animate ^^ It works amazingly well! :D

Light Pen Art Master sketch connect animate
Light Pen Art Master cat
Light Pen Art Master connect
Light Pen Art Master smiley

If anyone knows if there are more games released for it that I don’t know of, please enlighten me :D

13 thoughts on “The Vectrex

  1. Wow. You got a LightPen, too? They’re expensive as heck here. Anyway:
    I’ve had three of those systems since it launched. down to one now and a multicart with every released game on it (it’s unlicensed). I’m not home now, or I’d set up the system and write up a list.

    I love that controller and design on the model you have. The North American art is kind of boring compared to that!

    This may help if you want homebrew games:

    Anyway, welcome to the world of Vectrex! It’s such a cool system and I think you’ll like it more and more over time…

    • Wow thanks! so 35 games in total! I’m missing a few then ;D But apparently not European releases. Do you know if the system is region free?
      Are there any homebrew games in particular that you can recommend? Most were quite expensive on that site, but if there’s something worth getting I might just do that :)

      • The system is region free – you’d just need an adapter for a US outlet if you wanted to travel with it (ha!). Games should work anywhere in the world. I’ve never tried out any of those homebrew titles, but given that some are sold out on that site, it might be worth looking up some reviews. I see a few of them are space shooters and I’d guess it’s hard to screw those up too badly on the system… :D

  2. I remember playing on one of those for about 10-15 years ago, it was really interesting and radical. I don’t remember which game but it was also a system in Sweden, and I’d guess it was the built-in one as there were no other cartidges if I recall correctly. It looked just like yours, with a light pen and all, if my memory serves me right.

    • That would be Mine Storm. it’s included in the system and I’ve actually heard of people who bought the system used with no box, overlay or manual who didn’t know this until they discovered it later on… :D

  3. That’s a very cool score! You did so well to get such a complete system! Those overlays look like an accessory that could so easily be missing from most collections. And your photos of the system and games are really nice.

    I was surprised to see that the joystick has four buttons. That rocks. I have a Texas Instrument TI-99 /4A (released 1981) computer and it’s joystick has only one button.

      • The TI-99 /4A was meant to hook-up to your TV. So you could use any monitor or old tube TV. My Dad didn’t like me playing games on it but that’s pretty much all I did with it. It was really hard to actually do stuff with computers back then!

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