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The Vectrex was a vector-based video game system – think the original Star Wars game with the bright white lines – that simulates the original Vectrex.

The board is open source an allows you to connect an oscilloscope in order to play classic games like Asteroids and Berzerk. The system plots bright, repeating lines on the scope’s dark screen, creating a unique gaming experience that we haven’t seen in decades.

From the DIY page:

The SCOPETREX is basically a Vectrex on a single board without a monitor. To play games, you have to connect it to an oscilloscope or an XY monitor.

This board is not just an exact clone of a Vectrex; it makes a number of improvements over the original.

  • Single +5V power supply, only 500mA (minimum)
  • Configurable X and Y size and polarity
  • Configurable brightness and video blanking polarity
  • Works with a 68A09/68B09 or the more common 68A09E/68B09E
  • Works with the AY-3-8912 sound chip or the cheaper AY-3-8910/YM2149F
  • Custom controller board which is also compatible with the Vectrex
  • Cool art on the board

All of the components are readily available, either from Mouser or from various brokers in China. The bills of materials include Mouser part numbers.

Obviously this isn’t for the faint of heart but it could be a great way to get to know vector-based gaming.


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By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.