Vectrex - the world's only vector game console

Published on August 12, 2017

Vectrex - the world's only vector game console

    Vectrex is a unique gaming system, released in 1982 by General Consumer Electric (GCE). Its peculiarity lies in the fact that all the graphics in it are vector and are not displayed on the handset line by line, but by vectors, like on an oscilloscope.

    The description of the principle of constructing an image was unexpectedly discovered on Habré :)

    The history of the appearance of the console is adequately described in Wikipedia and there is not much point in retelling it.

    The console is a single 9 "black-and-white monitor.

    Located slot cartridge. On the lateral surface of

    the rear deduced brightness control knob.

    Joystick hides the bottom of the housing.

    The buttons and joystick itself made very reliable, both in arcades.

    Scheme joystick traditional for systems of that time, two analog axes on variable resistance resistors and 4 buttons.

    It’s time to look inside. The

    bottom board.

    And its block diagram:

    Vectrex is built on a 8-bit Motorola 6809 processor, although in my copy there is a version from Hitachi - HD68A09P. Sound is output using the AY-3-8912. Another large chip is the MOS 6522. It is a port extender with two parallel interfaces, a timer and a shift register. RAM in the console is only 1 KB. The ROM of the board stores one Minestorm game and several test utilities.

    Without the top cover, the console looks like this. Monitor - Samsung 240RB4:

    Development date, 1982 is visible on the power board: 28 games

    were officially released for Vectrex . Each game was delivered on a cartridge. Inside the cartridge, a regular 32 or 64 KB ROM is installed, third-party developers also offer clean boards and flash cartridges.

    But besides the actual cartridge in the complex with the game, there was also a so-called overlay - this is a piece of colored plastic that was inserted into special slots in front of the monitor and made the game visually much more attractive than on a black and white monitor. The demonstration is shown in the video at the end of the article.

    This is not an innovative approach; for the first time overlays appeared 10 years before the release of Vectrex in the Magnavox Odyssey console .

    Ja ja, die deutsche Werbe :)

    Some additional peripherals were released to Vectrex - this is a light pen and 3D glasses!

    If everything is more or less clear with a light pen, the idea of ​​3D glasses was ingeniously simple. In the glasses was a motor and a simple synchronization scheme. A color disk was worn on the motor, which simply rotated in time with the frame change on the monitor and covered one eye or the other.

    Unfortunately, such sets were released a little, so, despite the simplicity of the device, it costs quite inhumane money:

    Demonstration of work:

    Thank you for attention