Vectrex Wiki
Vector Vaders


Developer John Dondzila
Publishers Classic Game Creations
Packrat Video Games, LLC
Release dates March 8, 1996
April, 2015 (re-release)
Genre Shooter
Mode Single player only
Media Cartridge
ROM file

March 8, 1996 marked a day of the rebirth of Vectrex games, as programmer John Dondzila unveiled Vector Vaders, which was not only the very first homebrew game for the machine, but it also started the plethora of new games for the Vectrex as well.


Aside from having vector graphics and running a bit slow (although the game does speed up as more and more invaders are shot), this is a pretty standard Space Invaders-type game for the most part.

A formation of invaders (25 total) march from side to side while dropping bombs and they will drop down a notch once the formation reaches the edge of the screen. The player’s laser base can take cover behind one of four bunkers on the screen, which the bunkers can withstand 16 shots from enemy and/or player fire before disappearing. A flying saucer will also pass overhead during a level and is worth big points if shot. The player starts off with three laser bases and the game will end once all bases are destroyed or if the player is “invaded” by the aliens reaching the bottom of the screen. However, an extra base is earned if over 3000 points are scored. The level number that the player is currently on is displayed at the bottom right corner of the screen.


  • Bottom two invaders – 10 points each
  • Middle two invaders – 20 points
  • Top row invaders – 30 points
  • Flying saucer – 50, 100, 150 or 300 points


  • Move base left and right – buttons one and two
  • Fire – button four


  • Vector Vaders was programmed in only about four days when Dondzila had the week off from jury duty, as the case he had to appear on did not go to trial and he had taken the week off from work in case he got stuck on the jury.
  • The instructions claim an extra base is earned at 3000 points, however, the base won’t be awarded until over 3000 points are scored (i. e. the player won’t earn an extra base at 3000 points, but it will be awarded at 3010 or higher though).
  • This is pretty much a ”no frills” release from Dondzila, as every other Vectrex release from him since (Patriots through Space Frenzy) have included at least one extra game and/or bonus unlockable material of some kind.
  • This could be one of the quietest Space Invaders games released, as there isn’t the usual “Space Invaders pulse” (i. e. the sound the invaders make when they move), nor even an announcement sound of the saucer appearing either.
  • Vector Vaders was followed up by More Invaders! on the All Good Things compilation several months later, which the invaders were made into Vs, started splitting in two once the player made it to the second level, contained secret bonuses and the saucer fired back at the player, and Vector Vaders 2: The Director's Cut on Vecmania three years later retained the same graphics as More Invaders! but had faster gameplay.
  • There is also the almost identically-titled VectorVaders game for the Atari 2600, which is a graphics hack of Megamania.
  • Distribution of the game ceased at the end of 2013 when Dondzila stated he did not have the time to produce games and work his day job any more. Packrat Video Games, LLC started redistributing it in 2015, however.



Well, what can you say about Vector Vaders? Not much really, since you should be pretty familiar with how it goes: there's a bunch of invaders on the screen, they march from side to side dropping bombs, they keep on getting closer, a high-scoring U. F. O. flies by overhead during waves, you hide behind bunkers to dodge invaders' (or vaders', I guess I should say) fire, blah blah, you know how it goes.

This is a pretty standard Invaders-type game, aside from it being in vector, the bunkers take 16 hits before disappearing, and there's barely any sound at all, not even when the saucer appears! I barely give this one a 6 out of 10, due to there not being any game variations or anything (the Atari 2600 Space Invaders has over 100 variations, yet that only should cost you a quarter at most). However, it still isn't a bad game though, and I like the way the invaders look out of John Dondzila's other two Vader games (More Invaders! off the All Good Things cartridge and Vector Vaders 2 off Vecmania).

The controls work perfectly and...well, that's about it, really. The game runs a bit slow until several vaders are shot and there are no extras or hidden stuff included, although that would come with almost everything else Dondzila released since, so you can see where it all started, at least. (review by Darrylb500)

Well, here it is, the great granddaddy of Vectrex homebrews, Vector Vaders! Not really an earth-shattering (pardon the sci-fi pun) first choice of a homebrew game for the old lady, but definitely a very logical one when a person starts out on this kind of thing (i. e. fairly simple to do).

Of course, the game consists of angry aliens that march across the screen, firing at you all the while, then they drop down a notch when they reach a screen edge; come all the way down, you're "invaded" ("vecvaded", maybe?), and the game is over. Also get hit by their bombs too many times and it's game over there too, but making things better for you is the high-scoring U. F. O. that flies overhead that taunts you to try to shoot it, along with an extra laser base awarded after 3,000 points.

The game runs pretty slowly until you shoot several vaders, then it speeds up...quite a few times, actually. There's not many sounds either, not even the ever-present 'Space Invaders pulse', which HAS to be in a game like this! The few sounds are ok, but the graphics are the best out of the other two 'Vader' games John Dondzila would create (More Invaders! on the All Good Things cartridge, and Vector Vaders 2: The Director's Cut on Vecmania), even though none of them look like monsters: the bottom invaders look like spaceships, whereas the top ones look like some kind of a strange bird. The middle ones are my favorite though, looking like walking television sets. The control is perfect too, using the buttons to move, rather than the joystick, making it feel arcade-like.

Due to the addiction factor, this gets a 6 from me, although I should probably rate it lower. The reason? Lets look at a quick few Invader stats: Vector Vaders-$20 (U. S., plus shipping), one (mostly slow) game All Good Things-$20, with the improved More Invaders!, complete with secret bonuses to make it more interesting, along with four other games on the cartridge Vecmania-$20, with the (again) improved Vector Vaders 2, along with eight other games Protector/Y*A*S*I-$12.50, complete with several unlockable variations (cloaking invaders, moving bunkers, guided missiles, etc.), along with the great Defender clone Protector Space Invaders (Atari 2600)-twenty five cents (U. S.), with 112 variations, including ones for two players alternating and onscreen at once.

See what I mean? Out of the approximately nine million Space Invaders-type games ever created, this one doesn't have a lot to make it stand out.

However, homebrewers like Dondzila should be supported, this should still be ok if you’re a Space Invaders nut like myself (I currently own 11 Space Invader-type games on several gaming systems right now, and there’s more I want), and plus you get to see where it all began with the Vectrex homebrewing scene, which has been (again, pardon the pun) out of this world in supporting this ‘dead’ machine. So c’mon, vaders...give me your best shot.

Score 6/10

Review written by Darryl

This article uses material from the Gaming wiki Vector Vaders article and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.