Even though I've been a gamer almost as far back as I can remember and have been through a myriad of different machines, for some reason I never considered trying a Vectrex. Never thought about it, never looked into it or even read much about it. I am a retrogamer at heart but I do have a rather dim view of early 80s home consoles. I don't feel they've aged well at all. I recently got hold of an Atari 2600 - luckily very cheap - and spent all of 20 seconds with each game I had before consigning it to the loft.
Something that should have been very obvious occurred to me recently though... What are a few of my favourite 'things' about games? Well, for one I like old-school pixel art, and for another I love vector graphics. I've been playing things like Thrust Xtreme and Geometry Wars a lot lately, and I've always had this deep-down feeling that this is how videogames should look. The perfect simplicity of shapes built from coloured lines. It never ages aesthetically, and to this day I consider games like Tempest and Gravitron to be among the most attractive ever made.
With this in mind I turned my attention towards the Vectrex. It's an old console but being vector-based as it is it remains completely fresh. After a bit of messing about with emulators I bit the bullet and went ebaying. Picked up a bargain and within a couple of days I had it. I'm not disappointed, it really is a lovely little machine. Emulation doesn't quite do the Vectrex justice because a PC monitor can't replicate the lovely glow and ghosting effects you get from a CRT screen. In this regard it's one of the few cases where I'd advocate owning and using the original hardware purely from a playability perspective (as opposed to, say, collecting SNES stuff which is perfectly emulated).
The games are naturally centred around old-school arcade staples. Highscores are the order of the day here, which fits perfectly with my main gaming sensibilities these days. Although the machine was doomed by its untimely entry into the videogame market right before the '84 crash, it's one of the most avidly supported homebrew platforms out there. People still make games for it (the original lineup and inner working of the machine have been generously given over to the public domain by the manufacturer), and some people actually produce proper cartridges - some going as far as to lavish them with full box, instructions and coloured overlay for the screen.
I'm having a ton of fun with it and I highly recommend picking one up.