photo: VEC9

Photos courtesy of the VEC9 team

If you were a gamer in the 80s you will remember vector arcade games. Whether they were brand new when you saw them, or aging rapidly, they caught all gamers’ eyes. Those crisp glowing lines, from which the game systems gained their common name, “vector games,” were actually a limitation of the hardware at the time. As we developed new and stronger systems, we abandoned vector displays for things that could give us much more variety.

The team, 68 Crew, took a different approach with their game “VEC9.” They revisited the use of a vector display, but the modern hardware driving it allows for some really stunning results.

As you can see in the video, they’re doing things with vector graphics that we really couldn’t do in the past. We previously didn’t have computers strong enough to do truly 3-dimensional games, however now we have tons of processing power available in most computers. VEC9 harnesses that to do vector graphics in ways that are very pleasant to watch. The ship itself is 3D, as you fly around you see the perspective change properly on the ship. When it crashes, you get a splash of little vector polygons. It is truly fun to watch.

The game itself is fantastically designed, but the arcade cabinet really brings it all together. Using an old tank steering wheel and a variety of lit status indicators and buttons, it feels like a piece of military equipment. It was a pleasure to play, though I have to admit that I died all too frequently because I was focusing on the graphics more than completing my objectives!