‘Vectrex Regeneration’ Review – iOS Gains a New…Old…Platform

Interest in the retro gaming scene has really expanded in the last few years, thanks in no small part to the proliferation of capable mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad and the App Store behind them. As such, retro-minded iOS gamers have a wide range of games to choose from, such as retro-inspired new releases, retro remakes, as well as the actual games of olde brough forth through faithful emulation. It is in the last arena that, early this year, Rantmedia Games decided to toss its hat, sharing word of their upcoming Vectrex Regeneration , a one-stop-shop for fans of the much vaunted, early ’80s Vectrex console. We have been following Rantmedia’s progress closely since then, and are pleased to have finally had an opportunity to put their Vectrex emulation / game library through its paces. Vectrex Regeneration [ Free ], a universal app for iPhone and iPad, is now live in the App Store, and here’s the low-down. First, some needed history. Released in late 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. Thanks to the video game crash of 1983, brought on by hundreds of extremely low-quality games being poured into the market, the production of the Vectrex was terminated in 1984, leaving the system with just 28 released games in all. Due to its relatively short market run and unique system configuration and game library, the Vectrex is, today, a console prized by many retro gaming collectors.