Play and tech are in the DNA of Rantmedia. And most of us remember playing computer games as far back as… well… we’ve been playing them for a long time.
If you were playing video games in the 80s, then you’ll remember the Vectrex. Before Sega and Nintendo were household names, the Vectrex was a portable arcade gaming console with a built in monitor that uniquely used vector and not raster graphics. Even today, the luminosity and analogue nature of the Vectrex conjures a wealth of nostalgia.
We loved it so much that we secured a license for the Vectrex brand. We wanted to offer everybody who enjoyed it in the 80s an opportunity to relive and share their memories, maybe even pass them on to their kids. All with the ease and convenience of mobile gaming on iPad or iPhone.
First of all, we wanted to know that we could render a Vectrex game on an iOS device (the app is universal iOS – it works for iPad and iPhone). We managed to get a proof of concept up and running within 3 weeks. We made the game in OpenGL and built our own 3D games engine.
Now we knew that it was possible to play a Vectrex game on iOS, we wanted to deliver some of the nostalgia we feel about the system. We came up with the idea of having a shelf of games where you could browse game boxes, and then select one to play. It was pretty cool.
Having bought the license to use the Vectrex brand, it seemed a shame not to monetise this app so that we could continue to make it better. Four months in, we took an opportunity to showcase the app to Apple and from the feedback, we noticed a disconnect between the experience of choosing a game from the shelf and it appearing on the Vectrex screen.
Still, something was missing from the memories.
After spending some time around the drawing board bouncing ideas back and forth amongst ourselves, we realised what it was. We needed to fit everything together: the console, loading the games, the scores and achievements.
So we redesigned the entire experience of the app and built a 1980s bedroom with the Vectrex in the corner. There was the same bookshelf as before but this time, there was a blackboard for top scores, a cork board for in game achievements. It was a totally immersive experience.
Widely regarded as the best retro games compilation in the App Store, the release of the Vectrex Regeneration saw coverage in hundreds of publications. Featured internationally by Apple, it reached a number two position with banner visibility on the home screen of every App Store in the world.
Our attention to detail and delivery of an contemporary experience that evoked authentic feelings of nostalgia, was widely commended. Culminating in our work being awarded a BAFTA for Technical Achievement by The British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Wales.