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Vectrex 3D Imager

video game

Released in 1982 for $199, the revolutionary Vectrex video game system was the work of designer Jay Smith and his company, Smith Engineering. Smith was the principal designer of the handheld Microvision (1979), and the Vectrex system was his attempt break into the increasingly lucrative home video game market. Popular early arcade games such as Battlezone and Asteroids used "vector graphics," a high resolution display technology that featured linear images to produce a crude 3-D effect. Vector graphics could not be reproduced on a standard television, and for that reason, the desktop Vectrex console included a 9" black and white monitor and internal speakers. Parents loved the system because the built-in screen allowed their children to play video games without monopolizing the family TV set. Smith created a unique hybrid platform with the Vectrex: a portable system that was not truly a handheld, with arcade-style graphics (screen overlays provided color for the system). Vectrex was initially licensed to General Consumer Electronics and later to Milton Bradley, whom Smith had paired with for the Microvision project. The system is cartridge-based and came with a built-in clone of the popular vector-based arcade game Asteroids, titled Minestorm. The Vectrex was fairly popular and sold enough units to be profitable through 1983, but high production costs and the industry recession led Milton Bradley to discontinue production.

ManufacturerGeneral Consumer Electronics, Inc.
Materialplastic | metal | printed paper
OriginHong Kong
Style8-bit microprocessor
Object ID110.872

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