I was sprucing up the Ahl Benchmark article when I noticed that one of the machines listed is the Vectrex console. It is near the top of the list, at 33 seconds, which is surprising all on its own as it is close to a IBM PC.

I don't recall a BASIC being written for this platform, but I'm not really familiar with it. Anyone know more?

  • The Ahl benchmark depends on the quality of the math library used, and a 6809 may allow a more efficient math library implementation than suggested by just CPU clock rate.
    – hotpaw2
    Sep 16, 2021 at 23:06

2 Answers 2


This excellent article on the history of the Vectrex notes:

At the 1983 Summer CES in Chicago, Milton Bradley gamely announces a prototype Vectrex Graphic Computer System in development. The computer add-on is to offer 16K RAM expandable to 64K, include BASIC for programming, an 80 column by 40 line text mode, a 6809 CPU and a full-stroke keyboard.

Furthermore, Ahl's original November 1983 Creative Computing article calls out the fact the Vectrex benchmark was run on a prototype add-on. I think it is safe to surmise that this unreleased add-on announced in 1983 was used for the benchmarking done at the same time.

  • Nice! Thanks for finding this. The way it's worded suggests it might have had a second 6809... I'll have to look that up. Sep 14, 2021 at 21:09

Well, several options may fit:

  • The only one I know that is available and fits easy - especially the unnaturally high speed - would be the Vectrex32 cartridge. Just, BASIC doesn't run on the 6809, but a PIC32 at 200 MHz. The Vectrex is essentially just a graphics subsystem connected via a dual port memory.

  • I do remember one project in the mid naughties that was supposed to bring BASIC using a PS/2 keyboard (the cartridge would include a PS/2 port).

  • A different one, as well more than 10 years ago, was supposed to use a serial interface to connect to a PC acting as terminal.

  • And then there is VecOS by Revival Studios (Not sure if they are still around). A full graphic OS, including BASIC, run on the 6809, but all development happens on the PC and is delivered as (EP)ROM-cartridge.

  • This was in 1983 though... maybe on a development system? Sep 14, 2021 at 19:16
  • @MauryMarkowitz Hmm, I wouldn't wonder if there was some BASIC cartridge. After all, the same was done for the Atari 2600 as well for the Bally. May need some search. Maybe add the time frame as well in the question, so people know you're not loong about anything new.
    – Raffzahn
    Sep 14, 2021 at 19:38

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