The more hardcore gamers in 1982 fell in love with the Vectrex game system from GCE. The Vectrex featured vector, as opposed to raster, graphics and had a built in monitor. Like the ColecoVision, the Vectrex featured a full gamut of arcade games like Cinematronics' Solar Quest and Rip Off.
The Vectrex, with it's built in monitor, was also fairly portable. It's joystick tucked within the bottom of the unit and the power cord wound up in the back. There was even a handle built into the top.
Vectrex was the first console to have a game with a voice synthesis. The game "Spike", which was a lot like Donkey Kong, featured a kidnapped Molly screaming "Help, Spike!" and when Spike's rescue was thwarted, he would curse "Darn it!" Vectrex was also the first home videogame console to have one of its games converted into an arcade machine. Cinematronics released "Cosmic Chasm".
In 1983, Milton Bradley bought GCE and began distributing the Vectrex. This purchase was no surprise to some, as Jay Smith, the same gentleman that designed the aforementioned Microvision, also designed the Vectrex. Got to hand it to Mr. Smith… He was innovative! Unfortunately, the Vectrex came out just prior to the big videogame crash, and its success was short lived.
In 1983, Emerson jumped on the home videogame console bandwagon with the "Arcadia 2001". What a mistake. Plop down a new gaming console just as the market is completely hitting rock bottom? Ingenious! The Emerson didn't have as good of graphics as either the 5200 or ColecoVision, but was of a fairly portable size and ran off of 12 volts so it could run off of a car battery. Of course, you needed a TV set that also ran off of 12V, but it's the thought the counts.
By 1984, the damage from poor third party titles and Atari forcing resellers to place their orders for units for the entire year had done in Atari. Atari Incorporated is split into two companies. The division that made arcade machines was called Atari Games, which ended up being sold to the Williams/Midway conglomerate in 1996. The division that made home game consoles and home computers was called simply Atari Corporation and was sold to founder and former CEO of Commodore Business Machines (remember the PET, C64, C128, etc): Jack Tramiel. Jack had just been fired by his own company a mere 6 months prior to the purchase of the Atari Corporation. Both companies get to keep the rights to previous Atari arcade titles like Pong, Missile Command and Centipede.
After the dust cleared from the videogame crash in 1985, Nintendo surprised everyone and dropped a bomb on the industry with the N.E.S. The system was test marketed in 1985 and hit the market officially in 1986 and had some of the best graphics of the time. Of course, when you look back at games like Excitebike and Hogan's Alley today, you've got to wonder what we were thinking!
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