20-Mar-2016 (Sun)
Wherein we deflect it old school.

New toy! As a thematic companion to the Pac-Man machine at DNA Lounge, I brought my Vectrex in to Codeword. It sits at the end of the bar now. What's that, you ask? Vectrex is a home video game system from 1982 that has a built-in black-and-white vector monitor, meaning the electron gun traces out shapes diagonally instead of raster-scanning like normal TVs. It is an ancient artifact of rare beauty, and it plays Berserk and Asteroids really well. Along with 70 other games -- I have this multi-cart that has everything ever released for the system.

And 30 seconds after I put it on the bar, it was already being played by anime bunny-girls who were born at least a decade after this thing rolled off the production line. So, mission accomplished I guess!

It is reasonably well secured, but be gentle with it, ok? Try not to get it too sticky.

Actually, there's a pretty nice emulation of it here that you can play online, but it's really just not the same without the weird, flickery glow from that little CRT.

16 Responses:

  1. Geoff Smith says:

    Oh man, the Vectrex is a beautiful piece of hardware. People are in for a treat, but I fear for its safety.

    • It's strapped down with a steel cable, and the cart and controller are screwed in. Getting a drink dumped in it or the glass scratched are the worries, I suppose.

  2. Philip Guenther says:

    Ages ago, Omni's last page explained that Yuppies were an alien invasion. Among the critical facts divulged was that the sport of squash was part of their reproductive cycle.

    I now fear that we'll discover that vector graphics games are part of the reproductive cycle of anime bunny-girls when six months from now you'll be relating how you had to hire an exterminator to get rid of a nest of them behind the duct work...

  3. Philip Guenther says:

    Of course, the local exterminators have been as helpful as other tradesmen we've tried to hire here at DNA: those to whom we've explained the situation have been "unable" to schedule a visit or have failed to return calls. The one that came out without the details first declaimed that there was nothing for them to do, and then refused to re-enter the building.

    Our final try to resolve this, Necropolis Litharge Extermination, sprayed something from unmarked wooden casks all over the duct work, gave us a bill, and only then mentioned that sound levels over 80Db would render the treatment ineffective. I have become convinced that this city wants DNA to serve as the role model for those empty building that star in video games: empty, desolate, and apparently not subject to the laws of economics.
    </blockquote

    • James says:

      The proper solution is not extermination. I need to make this clear, because there is no room for ambiguity and it's important. Do not exterminate the anime bunny-girls. They need to be piped to the oiling chambers instead.

  4. There are a couple of dudes on ebay (frex) who manufacture replacement Vectrex controllers out of happ switches and joysticks or repurposed neogeo controllers: they're a little pricy but possibly less disaster-prone than letting The Great Unwashed Masses (of whom I proudly count myself a number) get their mitts on a notoriously fragile and not-waterproof original one?

    • jwz says:

      Not only is that the ugliest thing I've ever seen, it's more expensive than the Vectrex itself!

  5. I have one of those! Well, it's actually stored at my dad's right now. So fun!

  6. I never knew you had a Vectrex - every one I've seen suffered from some screen burn-in. Is that a concern?

  7. T Hudson says:

    If you grow tired of the Vectrex specific games, it fairly easy to (non-destructively) modify it into a decent X-Y monitor and use MAME with it via a high-speed quad DAC. Almost all of arcade vector games are supported, including greats like Starwars. Many of them even work with a Raspberry Pi that can fit inside the Vectrex housing.

  8. roo says:

    I totally wanted one of those and a colecovision. i had a 2600 and a Microvision. i'll have to pass by and play!

  9. patman says:

    Old news maybe, but...back a long time ago, you wrote about how justin.tv changed their business model, leaving you with no streaming solution.

    Gimlet Media's Startup podcast came out recently covering their gyrations. The story starts about halfway through S3E1...

    ...and the conclusion in S3E2 covers up to the point where they rebranded themselves as Twitch and sold to Amazon for A Stupid Amount Of Money.