Setname:  vectrex   
Year: 1982
Manufacturer: General Consumer Electronics
Status: good  works
Type: Game Console
Emulation info
Overall emulation:  good   
Color emulation:  good  
Sound emulation:  good  
Graphics emulation:  good  
Savestates:  unsupported   

Tech info
M6809 ("maincpu")cpu 1500000 Hz
Speaker ("mono")audio
DAC ("dac")audio
AY-3-8912A ("ay8912")audio 1500000 Hz
Screen ("screen")vector vertical 0 x 0 @ 60.000000
Media devices
cartridge ("cartslot") cartridge cart bin, gam, vec
BIOS options
bios0 exec rom
bios1 exec rom intl 284001-1
Software lists

Show detailed info about 'Configurations' of this system

3D Imager Off
Separate images No
Left eye Black
Right eye Black
Lightpen Off
 left port
 right port

Romset info
ROM NameSizeCRC32SHA1Dump StateBIOS option
exec_rom.bin8192 ba13fb5765d07426b520ddd3115d40f255511e0fd2e20ae7goodbios0
exec_rom_intl_284001-1.bin8192 6d2bd16777a220d5d98846b606dff608f7b5d00183ec3babgoodbios1


* CPU: Motorola 68A09 1.6 MHz
* RAM: 1K x 4-BIT 2114 (two)
* ROM: 8K x 8-BIT 2363
* Graphic Modes: Vector graphics (built-in 9" Samsung B&W vector deflection monitor)
* Colors: Black & white (colors simulated by plastic screen overlays)
* Sound: General Instrument AY-3-8912
* I/O Ports: 2 controller connectors
* Media: Cartridges
* Peripherals: Second controller, lightpen, 3D imager
* Controllers: One built-in controller (joystick + 4 buttons). Second controller optional.
* Built In Software - Games: Mine Storm (built-in the system)


MESS supports cart dumps in .bin, .gam and .vec format for vectrex, using the "cartridge" (cart) device. Starting vectrex without any cart would give access to the built in game "Mine Storm".


Overlays are supported in .png format. To use the overlays, first of all you have to download them from somewhere and put them in the ''artwork/'' directory. The easiest way is to grab them from the artwork page -- of this wiki.
This way you would also obtain the .lay file which provides a list of the available overlays.

Finally, either run MESS with the ''-nonewui'' option and use the //TAB// menu under //Video Options// to select an overlay at run-time (//TAB -> Video Options -> Overlay//), or specify the desired overlay on the command line, e.g. with

mess vectrex -cart "C:\pathtogame\Armor Attack (1982).vec" -view armor

The text after ''-view'' is the beginning of the name of the game as listed under Video Options; you only need to type enough letters that only one game matches.

The default, if no ''-view'' is specified and the artwork are present, is to use the "Mine Storm" overlay. To play without an overlay, use ''-view standard'' (or select //Standard// from the menu).

Notice that .lay files are in a .xml-like format, and it's very easy to modify them if you want to build your own (see any .lay file in the MAME / MESS source for an example of the syntax).

Known Issues

No light pen support. Almost every cartridge is playable, except those requiring the light pen. See ''vectrex.hsi'' for a current compatibility list.

History and Trivia

The Vectrex was released in the US late in 1982 by General Consumer Electric (GCE) at a suggested retail price of $199. The Vectrex differed from other consoles in that it had its own built in nine inch by eleven inch vector monitor, and thus didn't require (or even allow) the use of a television set. The system even contained a built in game, the Asteroids-like "Mine Storm".

The monochrome Vectrex used screen overlays to give the illusion of color, and also to reduce the severity of the inherent flickering caused by the vector monitor.

In 1983, GCE was merged into Milton Bradley, who expanded the Vectrex's market to include Europe. As the video game market declined and then crashed, the Vectrex exited the market in early 1984. The rights to the system reverted to its developers, Smith Engineering.

Smith Engineering briefly considered designing a handheld version of the device in 1988, though the success of the Nintendo Game Boy made such a project too risky. In the mid-1990s, Smith Engineering condoned the duplication of the Vectrex system image and cartridges for non-commercial uses.


* Vectrex Game Database --
* The Vectrex Preservation Society --

Other Emulators

* DVE --
* ParaJVE --

Edit the History info for this game.


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