Monday, June 29, 2009

The Vectrex 1982

Considering all of the me-too ripoff consoles that seemed doomed to failure based on pure lack of effort, the Vectrex looks like a piece of engineering genius.
Look at it, the thing comes with its own built-in screen! The controllers have little joysticks and buttons, just like the more modern control pads! What could go wrong?

Well, for the graphics, it used line-based two-color vectors instead of the colorful raster graphics everybody else used. So where Atari's Pole Position looked like this.

Keep in mind, the second pic is from a console that came out five years later. It was an advanced machine in every other sense (some of the all time great arcade games used vector graphics, like Asteroids) but come on. Two colors?
Vectrex, being the top engineers they were, came up with a brilliant solution to this problem: include several thin sheets of colored plastic with the system, so people could just lay them over the screen to give it some color. No, seriously.
It was at that point the gaming public stood up, pointed out the door and said, "Vectrex, get the fuck out of my office."
Just a year later, the video game industry crashed and took the Vectrex with it.

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