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The Vectrex Video Game Console information and price guide

We take a brief look at this novel computer game system with our Vectrex Video Game Console information and price guide. The Vectrex is a vector display-based home video game console that was developed by Western Technologies/Smith Engineering. It was first manufactured and sold in 1982. The Vectrex is unique in that it uses a vector graphics display, rather than the more common raster displays used by other video game consoles and personal computers. (Click for current Vectrex auctions on ebay).

vectrex computer game system in box
MB Games Vectrex Vintage Computer Games System Console working and in nearly new condition. Sold for £641 on ebay, May 2022.

The Vectrex was also the first home video game console to be released with its own integrated screen; prior to the Vectrex, all home video game consoles required the use of an external television set. Vector-based games were popular in arcades in the early 1980s, but the high cost of vector graphics hardware limited their appeal for home use.

Vectrex Arcade System with Star Trek Layover
Vectrex Arcade System with Star Trek Layover. Sold for $531 at Bodnars Auctions, March 2022.

The Vectrex was designed to be affordable for the home market, and it achieved modest success. The console was eventually discontinued in 1984, due to competition from newer consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System. While it was not a commercial success, the Vectrex has since gained a cult following among classic gaming enthusiasts.

Boxed MB Vectrex Computer Game System with games and control panel
Boxed MB Vectrex Computer Game System with games and control panel. Sold for £360 at Wessex Auction Rooms, November 2018.

How many games were made for the Vectrex?

Despite its short lifespan, 28 officially released games were created including Mine Storm (an Asteroids style game) which was the built-in game.  Among the most popular Vectrex games are “Armor Attack,” “Berzerk,” and “Star Castle.” “Pole Position,” a port of the popular arcade game, is also considered one of the best games for the system. Though the Vectrex was discontinued in 1984, its unique games have helped it to maintain a cult following in the decades since.

Vectrex games in boxes
A Collection of Original Vectrex Console Game Cartridges, including Spike; Armor Attack; Starhawk: Scramble: Cosmiv Chasm: Spinball; Star Castle; Star Treck – the motion picture; Solar Quest; Web Wars. Sold for £270 at Flints Auctions, March 2022.

The Vectrex 3D Imager Headset

It was also one of the first consoles to offer a 3D imager headset, which allowed gamers to experience vector-based 3D graphics in their homes for the first time. The headset worked by projecting two images onto the screen, one for each eye, and used a parallax effect to create a sense of depth. While the headset did not produce the most realistic 3D graphics, it was still an impressive feat of technology for its time. Unfortunately, the high cost of the imager headset and the console itself meant that it was not a commercial success, and the Vectrex was discontinued just two years after its release. However, its innovative 3D technology would later be used in more successful devices, such as virtual reality headsets.

Vetrex Vintage Console 3D Imager & Games
Vetrex Vintage Console 3D Imager & Games, box dated 1983, Vectrex, 3-D imager for use with the Vectrex console includes glasses, 3D Minestorm cartridge, instructions, with original box and polystyrene insert ; along with 2 game cartridges, 3D Narrow Escape and 3d Crazy Coaster. Sold for £1,200 at Flints Auctions, March 2022.

Of the original 28 games released a number were released for use with the head-set including 3D Crazy Coaster, 3D Mine Storm and 3D Narrow Escape.

Vectrex Video Game Console Price Guide and Value Guide

When the Vectrex was first released in 1982 it cost $199. This was a relatively high cost at the time and with production ceasing in 1985 they were only made for a short time in relatively low numbers. According to the site Vectrex world 22,000 were released in the first year and bout 50,000 were sold overall. There were also a number of unsold units which might take the total number from 60,000 to 100,000.

The market for Vectrex systems, control panels, games and especially the 3D Imager is very bouyant. The 3D Imager headset can sell for over $600 by itself, and as can be seen by the price achieved at Flint Auctions for an excellent example with games the price was £1,200 / $1,400.

Vectrex console for spares and repair £100-£200 / $120-$240
Working example with box £400-£600 / $480-$720
Vectrex Games £20-£100 / $25-$120

Related
Vectrex World