The — American — National Videogame Museum based in Frisco, Texas is no stranger to video game oddities, but this undiscovered console could take the cake.
The NVM has come into possession of a Mini-Vectrex, a portable console developed in the 1980’s that never made it past the working prototype stage, meaning it’s a retro console that never even made it to shop shelves. Developed by General Consumer Electronics, it was quietly hidden away, until now.
The device’s big brother, the Vectrex, did make it to market in 1982. It was a vector display based console that was developed by Western Technologies and Smith Engineering, and we won’t judge you if you’ve never heard of it: it was a commercial failure, and it got rolled over when the video game industry collapsed in 1983 and by 1984 it was gone from shelves completely.
The Dallas Observer reports that the NVM snagged this prototype from a former employee at GCE, who kept it around for 35 years.
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This portable edition of the console is still pretty sizeable, especially if you hold it up side by side to a Nintendo 3DS or Sony’s PS Vita.
NVM co-founder John Hardie, an avid video game industry collector himself, spoke to the Dallas Observer:
“It was a victim of the crash,” Hardie told the paper. “It killed any chance of it seeing the light of day.”
“For a prototype, it’s pretty complete. There’s a lot of details that you wouldn’t expect to see on a prototype,” adds Hardie. “It’s just an amazing piece of gaming history that we were able to rescue.”
The Mini-Vectrex will now join the NVM’s permanent collection, alongside the only colourised Vectrex prototype, and the original Vectrex prototype too.
Did you have a Vectrex? Secretly pining for a look at this mini prototype? We’re on Twitter for you to tell us your thoughts, dreams and all that. @TrustedReviews