Friday, November 30, 2012

Daily iPhone App: Vectrex returns via an iOS app | TUAW

If you remember the Vectrex [1] , you're probably already heading to the App Store to download this app. But just in case you are not familiar with the old console, let's explain that first. The Vectrex was an old video game console back in the days of the early Atari, though instead of plugging into a television, it came with its own "screen," which was really a display drawn in vectors by a cathode ray. You could put colored overlay sheets on the screen, and the light fired in behind it would draw out simple graphics and shapes.

Now, of course, we have iPads and iPhones around (though actually, the Vectrex was only $200 on release, and still less than the most expensive iPad when adjusted for inflation), and so a company called Rantmedia has picked the rights to create this Vectrex emulator app [2] . But as you can see in the video below, they didn't stop with just emulating the games -- this app is really a tribute to the system as a whole, and it has a whole lot of extra information, features, and goodies that die-hard Vectrex fans will really love.

For one thing, there's a whole archive library built into the app, with information, videos, and pictures of the old Vectrex units and how it was all put together. Leaderboards and achievements are built into the app as well -- for everything you earn in the various games, there's a pin on a virtual corkboard or a score on a virtual chalkboard for you to check out. And the Vectrex unit itself is represented very well -- you can pull the colored overlays on or off the device, and play with a customizable virtual controller or (with the in-app purchase) the iCade controllers out there as well.

The free download [3] comes with one game, Minestorm, and then you can purchase the rest of the library (including a few "indie" Vectrex titles) for an in-app purchase of $6.99. For a Vectrex fan, this is really a no brainer -- other than finding an old working device and playing with that, this seems like the ideal way to enjoy the old system and its titles. For newer players, this app might not seem all that impressive, but it is a great way to dive in and see just what it was like playing this old gaming unit back in the day. Rantmedia has done a great job here respecting the old console, and they say there's more content coming up for the app very soon.

  1. ^ the Vectrex (
  2. ^ this Vectrex emulator app (
  3. ^ The free download (

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