Classic Vector Arcade Games

You’d think there would be more, but it looks like Classic Vector Arcade Game graphics proved to be a very niche market…. dominated by the legendary Atari.

That said, here were the notable entrants:

  • Star Wars
  • BattleZone
  • Asteroids
  • Tempest

There appear to be a few obscure others, but those are the only ones that actually “made it”. In the 2000s, the genre was paid a deep homage with the Indy title, Geometry Wars, available for XBOX.

For the technically minded, there’s probably a reason that more weren’t made : hard math, and severe resource constraints. In case you were wondering, when we say “vector graphics”, we’re not talking about Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw here. We’re talking about a unique style of game development where

the scanning beam of the electron gun
is directly controlled by game code.

That’s right. Read it again. In otherwords, Vector graphics videogames have more in common with a laser show (a la stone mountain) than with any form of “traditonal” computer graphics. And, the scanning beam can only move so fast, and turn so fast… so the “polygon count” is beyond severely limited.

The best creative analog today might be “low-poly style games”.

Here’s some imagery for the un-initiated.

Star Wars

perhaps the best videogame. ever. made.
I’m serious. Witness:

starwars_dstar-wars-1983-450px  sw-xwing-canyon-run

Battle Zone

this might actually be the hardware prototype for real-world, public VR installations.