Vector Graphics

There were some games in the arcade that looked different than the others.  These were the vector games.  These games didn’t have the square-based graphics of a Pac-Man or Kangaroo.  They had linear graphics, graphics composed of lines.  To me, they looked similar to the old 3-D wireframe computer graphics you would sometimes see in real world computers as well as movie computers like the one in Escape From New York.

I didn’t think much of vector graphics back in the day.  I found the square-based graphics to be more aesthetically pleasing and easier to follow.  While at the California Extreme Arcade and Pinball Show (yeah, I know, it’s getting old), though,  I saw a whole host of vector graphics games that changed my opinion.  While the vector graphics still seemed less detailed to me, they were also crisp, vibrant, beautiful, and exciting.  Here’s a few I encounted:

Asteroids (which I only knew as an Atari 2600 game and so didn’t know it was Vector):

Solar Quest:

Black Widow:


Star Castle (this is the game the 2600 Yar’s Revenge was based on.  The colored circles were actually on the bezel!)

My favorite arcade look will always be the Pac-Man/Dig Dug/Galaga look.  That’s classic arcade to me.  But I have to say that the Vector look is a lot better than I gave it credit for.


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