Vector game refers to any video game that uses a vector graphics display. This means, instead of drawing the image by pixels, the image is projected by an electron beam, drawing lines like a laser show. The term is also used to refer to games that simulate the look of vector graphics, nevertheless using raster technology, usually for stylistic purposes.
Many early arcade games used such displays, as they were capable of displaying more detailed images than raster displays on the hardware available at that time. Many vector-based arcade games used full-color overlays to complement the otherwise monochrome vector images. Other uses of these overlays were very detailed drawings of the static gaming environment, while the moving objects were drawn by the vector beam.
Games of this type were produced mainly by Atari, Cinematronics (which had a short-lived spinoff company called Vectorbeam), and Sega (through their old U.S. subsidiary Gremlin Industries/Sega Electronics).
List of vector-based video games:
- Armor Attack
- Battlezone. The 'sequel' adopts raster graphics but has a Mythology Gag to the original in its main menu, with green vector-graphic hover tanks fighting.
- Black Widow ("twin stick" shooter like Robotron)
- Cube Quest is this for the most part. Unlike other examples though, this one also has laserdisc generated backgrounds.
- While Donkey Kong 3 is primarily a raster game, the arcade versionnote uses vector lines to convey the idea that the game is set in a greenhouse.note
- Eliminator (no, not that one)
- Geometry Wars, while not actually one, is one big Shout-Out to the genre.
- The original PlayStation version of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was predominantly a Sprite/Polygon Mix, however the life meter for the bosses is rendered this way in full color.
- Lunar Lander
- Major Havoc
- Omega Race (The only one ever made by Midway)
- Pilot Wings has graphics resembling this on the apparatus selection screen.
- Quantum (lesser known Atari game)
- Red Alarm (Virtual Boy)
- Red Baron
- Rip Off
- Silpheed does this in the intro to all versions that aren't the Sega CD version.
- Space Fury
- Space Wars (a coin-op version of the first true (?) video game, Spacewar!)
- Star Castle
- Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
- Star Wars
- Strong Bad Zone is a parody of these games, made using Adobe Flash.
- Tail Gunner
- Tennis for Two
- Vector Stunt, as the name suggests.
- Vib-Ribbon (PlayStation game from PaRappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura; only released in Japan and Europe)
- X (Game Boy, 1992)