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A Vectrex emulator written in modern C++
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Vectrexy is a Vectrex emulator programmed in C++.

This project is open source and available on GitHub:

Download Latest Build

Windows Build status

Linux Build Status

Twitch Development

I regularly stream part of the development on Twitch right here. Follow me to know when I'm streaming!


See the Vectrexy Compatibility List for the list of games that Vectrexy can run.


Devices Player 1 Player 2
No gamepads Keyboard N/A
1 gamepad Gamepad 1 Keyboard
2 gamepads Gamepad 1 Gamepad 2

Keyboard key bindings: ASDF + Arrow keys


The Vectrex display is black & white, so to add color, each game cartridge came with a transparent colored overlay that would be slotted in front of the screen. For emulation purposes, you should be able to find png files for these overlays. If you place these png file in the data/overlays folder, Vectrexy will attempt to match the rom's file name to the overlay name using "fuzzy" string matching (in other words, the file names do not need to match exactly).

What's a Vectrex and why did you write this emulator?

The Vectrex is a really cool and unique video game console that was released in 1982. What made it unique was that it came with its own screen and displayed vector-based graphics, rather than the typical sprite/raster based graphics of most game consoles. My uncle had gotten me a Vectrex when I was only 8 years old, and I still have it, and it's still awesome.


Although the emulator core is written by me, Antonio Maiorano (Daroou2), it makes use of third party libraries, and is packaged with overlays created by other people. I hope I've got everyone covered here; if not, please let me know and I'll be happy to correct this list.

Building the code



Install dependent packages with vcpkg:

vcpkg install sdl2:x64-windows-static sdl2-net:x64-windows-static glew:x64-windows-static glm:x64-windows-static stb:x64-windows-static imgui:x64-windows-static

Clone and build vectrexy using CMake:

git clone --recursive
cd vectrexy
mkdir build && cd build
cmake -A x64 -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../../vcpkg/scripts/buildsystems/vcpkg.cmake -DVCPKG_TARGET_TRIPLET=x64-windows-static ..
vectrexy.sln ..



Install some Linux-specific libs we depend on:

sudo apt-get install g++-8 libgtk2.0-dev

# SDL static lib dependencies (see
# Alternatively, you can just 'apt-get libsdl2-dev' to build against the dynamic library
sudo apt-get install build-essential mercurial make cmake autoconf automake libtool libasound2-dev libpulse-dev libaudio-dev libx11-dev libxext-dev libxrandr-dev libxcursor-dev libxi-dev libxinerama-dev libxxf86vm-dev libxss-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libesd0-dev libdbus-1-dev libudev-dev libgles1-mesa-dev libgles2-mesa-dev libegl1-mesa-dev libibus-1.0-dev fcitx-libs-dev libsamplerate0-dev libsndio-dev

Install the rest of the dependencies through vcpkg:

cd vcpkg
./vcpkg install sdl2 sdl2-net glew glm stb imgui

Clone and build vectrexy using CMake:

git clone --recursive
cd vectrexy
mkdir build && cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../../vcpkg/scripts/buildsystems/vcpkg.cmake ..

Extra CMake Build Args

Use -D<VAR_NAME>=<VALUE> from the CMake CLI, or use cmake-gui to set these.

BUILD_SHARED_LIBS=on|off (Default: off)

If enabled, builds a DLL/.so version.

NOTE: On Windows, vcpkg's "static" triplets (e.g. x64-windows-static) create static libs that link against the static CRT (/MT), while CMake generates shared library builds that link against the dynamic CRT (/MD). Thus, when building, the linker will emit: LINK : warning LNK4098: defaultlib 'LIBCMT' conflicts with use of other libs; use /NODEFAULTLIB:library. You can ignore this for the most part; however, you can fix this problem by creating a custom vcpkg triplet, e.g. x64-windows-static-md.cmake, that is a copy of x64-windows-static.cmake, except with set(VCPKG_CRT_LINKAGE dynamic). If you use this triplet to build dependencies with vcpkg, and specify it as CMake's VCPKG_TARGET_TRIPLET, all libraries will use the dynamic CRT, and no warning will be emitted by the linker.

DEBUG_UI=on|off (Default: on)

If enabled, the in-game debug UI can be displayed. Mostly useful for development.

ENGINE_TYPE=null|sdl (Default: sdl)

The type of engine to use. By default, SDL is used. If "null" is specified, the emulator will execute without any audio or visuals; however, the debugger will work, which can be useful for testing the emulator, or as a starting point for a new engine type.


As the emulator is still in early stages of development, I generally won't be looking at or accepting pull requests. Once the project has matured enough, this will likely change. If you wish, follow my stream and make suggestions in chat instead.

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