I always wanted a Vectrex as a kid but couldn't afford one alongside my main love at the time, which was home computers - I started with a Sinclair ZX81 before moving on to an Acorn Electron (and subsequently various flavours of Commodore Amiga). None of my friends had a Vectrex either so I never actually saw one first hand, only learning about them via magazine articles.
In these modern times of eBay and PayPal, it's all too easy (!) to buy the things I really wanted as a kid. I have a decent-sized collection of home computers, although I wouldn't call myself a "collector" as I own the machines mainly to use and play with them, not collecting boxed games as well, for example.
I picked up a cheap unboxed Vectrex a few months ago and couldn't quite believe how great it was - I'd read a lot about it over the years, but as mentioned had never seen the vector display up close. Even compared to modern HD displays there's something super appealing about the smoothness and sharpness, and "organic" nature of the screen. The fact it has a relatively small games catalogue (and so is realistically collectable), yet packs in so many classics (imo), is icing on the cake. Before I knew it I was scouring eBay and other sites for Vectrex goodies - I now own three consoles (two boxed, although neither in great condition), and most of the original games.
So now I think I would call myself a Vectrex collector, as well as hugely enjoying actually playing the games (I find many are good enough to stand comparison with modern titles - something I couldn't say about ZX81 games for example, which I only ever play now for a burst of nostalgia). Now I just need to be patient (i.e. not rush into buying what I "need" for silly money!) in order to complete my collection of original games. I'm mainly short of the three 3D Imager games, although a couple of games I do own have quite poor boxes so I'd ultimately like to replace those with better condition ones also.
I'm also hugely impressed by the amount and quality of homebrew games available. I have a couple of multi-carts, so I have access to quite a wide selection of games, although sadly I'm too late to buy many of the more limited edition boxed games. I do intend to purchase all "re-released" games which Packrat Video Games, LLC plan to distribute, and already own the first seven they've released.
As well as greatly enjoying collecting and playing the games, I'm also looking forward to getting my teeth into some coding. My day job is in games development and using 6809 assembler for fun on the Vectrex really appeals. I know 6502 and if anything the 6809 seems "easier". The dev tools (including emulator) are pretty nice too.
Andy Garton, February 2015
This article was featured from September - October, 2015.