O N L I N E
The Editor's Desk
Where No Man
At CGE '99, one of the great experiences I had there was sitting front row for the Ralph Baer lecture. In all honesty, I went to the show not knowing who he was. It was fascinating hearing how someone worked on a "TV Game" system before anyone wanted one or knew what one was.
The Vectrex entered this world under somewhat similar circumstances. Where were the precedents? Sure it was preceded by other consoles carrying on Baer's raster-on-your-TV approach, but where was the precedent for the monitor, the joystick, scaling, rotation, zoom? It wasn't a safe bet by any stretch of the imagination, but the project moved forward fueled by inspiration and belief. Just like the Odyssey, the Vectrex truly, more than any of the other consoles, earned the right to be called an original.
As far as sales went the Vectrex was definitely an underdog, but today, in videogame collector/enthusiast circles there are are only two types of people that you'll find: those who have Vectrexes and those who want one. At CGE, in the Hall of Consoles, where one could sit down and play on one of may classic systems, I never had to wait long before a couple of people would walk by and say something like "this one is really cool. I want one."
There's just something about this thing that can't be replaced in anyone's game collection. Chances are, if you have a Genesis, then you probably don't have a burning desire for a Turbografx. On the other hand, what other videogame unit could satisfy the urge to play a zooming, rotating, scaling, vector game that has that kind of realistic gravity inertia effects in so many games, and has a monitor so brilliant that most explosions look like little fireworks going off? None. And thus we have the cult mystique of the Vectrex...
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