The 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 subsequent 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.
There 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.