Mine StormThe Game: An alien ship zooms into view overhead, depositing a network of mines in deep space. Your job is to clear the spaceways, blasting each mine and then blasting the smaller mines that are released by each See the videosubsequent explosion; there are three different mine sizes, and blasting the smallest and fastest ones finally does away with them. In later stages, there are homing mines, mines that launch a missile in your direction when detonated, and other hazards. Smaller alien ships periodically zip through the screen, trying to blast you while also laying fresh mines. (GCE, 1982)

Memories: Obviously the Vectrex answer to Asteroids, Mine Storm wins about a zillion bonus points just for being drawn in honest-to-God vector graphics – and for being built in to the Vectrex’s circuitry. If you power the machine up without a cartridge plugged in, you get Mine Storm, and it’s a gem of a game.

Mine StormThere have been some game manufacturers – who shall remain nameless – who have, in this reviewer’s opinion, included pack-in games that they knew nobody would ever buy unless it came with the hardware. Mine Storm is not such a game. When I first acquired my Vectrex, I got several cartridges with it – and even so, I think it was a few days before I ever plugged one in and took a break from Mine Storm. Arguably, if one were to acquire a Vectrex and didn’t get any cartridges for a while, Mine Storm would prove plenty entertaining in the interim.

The charm of Mine Storm doesn’t lie solely with the novelty of its crisp vector graphics, however. It’s a game built with playability in mind, and succeeds brilliantly there. It’s fast moving and frustrating and completely addictive. That it’s a perfect showcase for the machine it’s built into sure doesn’t hurt.