As TouchArcade's resident retro gamer, I'm quite pleased to see so many great retro remakes and retro-inspired original titles in the App Store. Yes, despite my Retina displays, most of the time there are jaggy pixels on my screen. And, like many other gamers who fancy a trip back to the 8-bit era, I keep a few consoles from decades past all hooked up and at the ready for when the mood strikes me. But, none of them is so lovely to fire up and give a go than the Vectrex.

Released in 1982 by General Consumer Electric (GCE), the Vectrex is a highly unique game system. Unlike every other console of the time, the Vectrex features an integrated CRT display -- but not of the standard, horizontal-scan variety. The Vectrex utilizes a vector monitor, which is similar to an oscilloscope and draws its graphics on the screen in a fashion similar to the display process of a laser light show. It's the only console from gaming's past defined by a complete lack of jaggies.

The Vectrex features a wired controller with an analog stick (one of the first ever brought to market) and accepts games on ROM cartridges, though a single, Asteroids-like game called MineStorm is built into the system. Each game title came with a pack-in plastic screen overlay to add cabinet bling and simulate color on the built-in monochrome display. There was even a light pen and an optional 3D imaging peripheral available for the system, the first ever offered for a console.

Though less than 30 games were released during its market run, there was some serious fun to be had with that quirky little unit, way back when. Even still, the Vectrex was not a commercial success and it left the market in 1984, following the notorious video game crash the previous year. Since that time, more new independent titles have been released for the console than make up its original catalog.

Because the Vectrex is so unique among vintage game consoles, it is highly sought-after by collectors and can be quite pricey to own. As such, I'm quite pleased to report that iOS gamers will soon have the opportunity to enjoy the Vectrex library on their favorite device.

Rantmedia Games will soon be releasing Vectrex Regeneration, a universal Vectrex emulator that comes bundled with the entire original game library -- nearly 30 titles. Beyond this, a number of feature packs will be available as in-app-purchases to enable extended functionality. The Controller Pack will allow multiplayer games with any combination of iPads and iPhones, as well as allowing AirPlay display extending, using the device as a controller. Then there's the iCade pack -- I'll let you guess what that does. There's also an Autofire pack -- hey, the original Vectrex didn't have autofire! And, every game in the library will feature Game Center support, and that library is set to grow beyond just the titles that folks in 1984 enjoyed -- many indie games created in more recent years will be made available via Game Packs. (I hope Vectrex Thrust is in there, it's the best cave flier I've ever played). And, users will have the option of playing with or without virtual screen overlays.

Vectrex Regeneration is a pretty sweet proposition. Nothing can render angular vectors as clearly as a vector monitor, but Retina-enabled iPhones and iPads should come pretty darned close. And in an iCade, the app should almost replicate the physical presence of that wonderful hardware from 30 long years ago. Stay tuned for a full review of Vectrex Regeneration when it lands in the App Store. In the mean time, keep an eye on the developers' Twitter feed for status updates.

It's fun for the whole family!

  • Ethan Wynsma

    That lady's face o_o

    • oooooomonkey

      She just found out you can play supercock on it.

      • Ethan Wynsma

        She looks like she's a chargin' her lazers.

  • Danny Perski

    If they really want to simulate the Vectrex, there better be some serious retina display support in this app. 

    • Joe

      Is that not the whole point? 🙂

  • sleb

    I still have my Vectrex in my attic. I loved that machine. Favorite games were Sub hunt Armor attack and Star Castle.

    • blakespot

      Get that thing down out of your attic...

  • Justin Fic

    This just made my day. I can't stop squealing. The Classic Gaming Expo here in Vegas had Vectrex machines for sale. They're wicked cool, but they were also crazy expensive and I was crestfallen about having to leave without one. Until right now. 

  • pocketmego

    This thing must and I mean MUST simulate the overlays. Regardless... I hope this sees release soon.

    • Dan Bridge

      I think you'll be pleasantly relieved on that front 😉

  • Simon Windmill

    Very interested in seeing how they do their rendering. I was surprised how many people praised breakeroids for the visuals, because that's just a couple of cheap tricks - can't wait to see what they do when they're dedicated to re-creating vector effects accurately.

  • Bob

    It's nonsensical to say "highly unique" or "so unique." It's either unique or it isn't.

  • JCat_NY

    Unreal! I loved this stand alone unit. This will be right at home on the new iPad. I actually sold mine to Neil Sedaka's son back in the 80's.  I hope it will have the option to overly, the ....overlays LOL.

  • blades144

    I am totally stoked for this. I still own my original Vectrex and the box it came in from Sears. Icade support sounds good but there is a slight problem as the original Vectrex had an analog joystick and the iCade does not.

  • aeranth

    I am so incredibly looking forward to this. Overlays FTW!!!

  • Mike Titus

    I loved my Vectrex, can't wait for this to come out.

  • Tranceaholic


    I've been waiting for this to come out on iOS and it should look AWESOME on the New iPad's Retina Display!

  • asdfhj zxxvb

    MILF in the Vectrex ad photo! By the way, I don't see any reason to get excited over a Vectrex emulator. They're never as good as the actual unit itself.

    • Tranceaholic

      Well, if you have the actual unit itself, good for you. As for the rest of us, not everybody can afford the high price it fetches on eBay, so this will be the next-best thing, and I can't wait!

  • Paul Johns

    This is why i love iOS, stories like this turn me into a schoolkid in the 1980's waiting with anticipation for the latest title. I CANT WAIT to get this app, this is one i've been after for ages, always wished there was an official Vectrex app and now we have it. Would love to know a date. Turning my iCade into a Vectrex - brilliant !!!

  • korkidog

    I still have my Vectrex along with every game made for it!! Looking forward to this app!!

  • REkzkaRZ

    Amazing how much people love old tech, but are the games that great?  I thought vector graphics were cool, but ... were the games actually good?

    I'd like to see making a few *NEW* games using old school vector graphics!That said, I've got an iPhone, so Vectrex Emulator probably not coming for me...  Oh well -- just have to wait for that new revamped M.U.L.E. game to come out!

    • blakespot

      It's Universal, so iPhone supported. And, yea, there were some great games for the Vectrex.

  • Michael Matzat

    Mark of Classic Game Room will be so overjoied. Best gameingchanel on youtube btw. 

  • Benjamin Rodriguez

    surprised this picture hasn't been made into a meme yet. Or at least somewhat edited into one.

  • Tablet Meister

    Wow...I can not wait for this! I had a vectrex for a long while, but sold it in a post-college flurry of sell-off before moving, one of the only systems I regret getting rid of.  I'll be getting this as soon as it's available and finally giving my iCade a reason to exist!

  • Vincent Farrand


    I was at my in-laws cabin a few years ago and my wife and I found an old INTELLIVISION, in a closet.
    After spending considerable time splicing cables together to get it to work on a newer TV, we realized it wasn't as much fun as we remembered.Took us longer to get it out of the box than it did for us to grow bored with it.

  • Crunchewy

    I will fire up the iCade for this … and wish I had a new iPad instead of iPad 2. Oh well. 🙂

  • James Kochalka

    Do I understand correctly that iCade support is a pack available for in-app purchase?  That's kinda a surprising/interesting idea, to charge for iCade support.

    • Tranceaholic

      They said on Twitter the app will be free to start, so I'll just buy the upgrades right away and think of it as a paid app with all the features unlocked. I agree though that charging for game packs is the most ethical way to implement IAP since you're paying for the labor required to make them.

  • trrll

    I was hoping that meant Tailgunner, but I looked at the list of Vectrex games on Wikipedia, and it's not on there. I remember that there was talk about it coming out for that platform, but I guess it never did.

    • blindspot

      I have fond memories of Tail Gunner. Loved the sit-down "cockpit" arcade machine, the intense booming speakers and game sounds, the loose non-resist springless joystick, and of course the vector goodness. Been hoping somebody would port it to iOS so I could shut out the lights, turn up the hi fi and play on my big ol' HD screen via airplay.

  • Crunchewy

    I didn't realize the Vextrex had an analog stick. That's going to mean the iCade won't be the perfect solution. In fact on-screen controls may translate much better.

  • blades144

     Well as far as controls go, it will be better than on screen I am
    sure.  It's just not going to be as controllable like when you spin
    around in Mine Storm it will just be "full on/off" as opposed to being
    able to spin slow.  I am interested to see how well it plays with the
    8-way instead of analog.

  • GCBoi

    Two player Rip Off was the MOST FUN EVER!

  • D4rkwolf

    This is going to be so goooood

  • Dr. Mark Lipschitz

    I used to find these in flea markets and thrift stores for $5-$10.  I still have one in storage.... next to my Virtual Boy, Turbo Express w/TV tuner Cart Converter, Jaguar w/CD, Colecovision, Intellevision, JVC X'Eye, 3DO, Neo CD, Lynx and Saturn.  Fun time in gaming!  It seemed like something was coming out every year.  So ready for the PS4 and Xbox 720! 

  • -C-

    Cool, I'm excited