A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Vectrex Games on Retroarch

  • By: Richard Moszkowski
  • Date: March 21, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Fortunately, Retroarch is a popular emulator that allows you to play a wide variety of retro games on modern devices. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of playing Vectrex games on Retroarch, from setting up the emulator to troubleshooting common issues.

Setting Up Retroarch for Vectrex Gaming

Before you can play Vectrex games on Retroarch, you’ll need to set up the emulator with the proper cores and ROMs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Download Retroarch from the official website for your operating system.
  2. Install Retroarch on your device.
  3. Once Retroarch is installed, open the program and select “Online Updater” from the main menu.
  4. In the “Online Updater” menu, select “Core Updater”.
  5. Scroll down to “Vectrex” and select the core you want to use.
  6. Wait for the core to download and install.
  7. Once the core is installed, go back to the main menu and select “Load Core”.
  8. Select the Vectrex core you just installed.
  9. Next, you’ll need to add your Vectrex ROMs to Retroarch. You can do this by selecting “Add Content” from the main menu and selecting the folder where your ROMs are located.
  10. Retroarch should automatically detect your Vectrex ROMs and add them to the list of available games.

Understanding Vectrex Controllers

The Vectrex console came with a unique controller that featured a built-in vector monitor. While you can play Vectrex games on Retroarch with a standard controller or keyboard, many fans prefer to use a dedicated Vectrex controller for an authentic gaming experience. If you’re using a Vectrex controller, you’ll need to configure Retroarch to recognize it. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Retroarch and go to the “Settings” menu.
  2. Select “Input”.
  3. Under “User 1 Binds”, select “User 1 Bind All”.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to bind your Vectrex controller buttons to the corresponding Retroarch inputs.

Playing Vectrex Games on Retroarch

Once you’ve set up Retroarch and your controller, it’s time to start playing Vectrex games. Here’s how to launch a game:

  1. Open Retroarch and select “Load Content”.
  2. Navigate to the folder where your Vectrex ROMs are located.
  3. Select the game you want to play.
  4. Retroarch will launch the game and you can start playing.

Note that Retroarch allows you to customize many aspects of the gaming experience, such as aspect ratio, screen resolution, and filters. Experiment with these settings to find the optimal configuration for your device and preferences.

Troubleshooting Retroarch Vectrex Gaming Issues

Like any emulator, Retroarch can encounter issues when emulating Vectrex games. Here are some common problems you might encounter and how to solve them:

  1. Game won’t load: Make sure you have the correct core installed for the game you’re trying to play. Some games require specific cores to run properly.
  2. Game is running slowly: Try adjusting the Retroarch settings to reduce the graphical demands on your device. You can also try using a different core or ROM version.
  3. Controller input isn’t working: Make sure you’ve properly configured Retroarch to recognize your controller. You may also need to adjust the controller settings in the game options.

If you’re still having issues after trying these solutions, consult the Retroarch documentation or community forums for additional help.


Playing Vectrex games on Retroarch can be a great way to experience classic gaming on modern hardware. By following the steps in this guide, you should be able to set up Retroarch for Vectrex gaming and start playing your favorite games in no time. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the Vectrex or a newcomer to the system, Retroarch provides a versatile and customizable emulator that can help you relive the glory days of retro gaming.


Can I play Vectrex games on Retroarch without a dedicated controller?

Yes, Retroarch allows you to play Vectrex games with a standard controller or keyboard. However, many fans prefer to use a dedicated Vectrex controller for a more authentic gaming experience.

Can I use multiple Vectrex controllers with Retroarch?

Yes, Retroarch supports multiple controllers for most systems, including the Vectrex. You’ll need to configure each controller separately in the Retroarch settings.

Where can I find Vectrex ROMs to use with Retroarch?

We can’t link to ROMs directly, as downloading ROMs for games you don’t own is illegal. However, you can find Vectrex ROMs online by searching for them on reputable ROM sites.

What should I do if Retroarch isn’t recognizing my Vectrex ROMs?

Make sure your ROMs are in the proper file format and located in a folder that Retroarch can access. You may also need to adjust the “Directory” settings in Retroarch to ensure it’s looking in the right place for your ROMs.

Can I save my progress in Vectrex games on Retroarch?

Yes, Retroarch allows you to save your progress in most Vectrex games using save states. You can access save states by pressing the “F5” key on your keyboard, or by configuring a button on your controller to act as the save state button.

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