Codex Gamicus

Solar Quest is a monochrome vector arcade game created by Cinematronics in 1981, and released for the Vectrex in 1982. It was designed and programmed by Scott Boden, who previously worked on Star Castle. It had a home release for the Vectrex system in 1982. The premise of the game is much like Space War but instead of being pitted against one opponent the player is forced to fight several ships at once. Each time a ship is destroyed it leaves a survivor floating in space. The player then can pick up this survivor by running into it with his ship or allow him to be pulled into the fiery sun at the center of the screen. Saving the survivor gives the player extra points. The player has only two weapons at his disposal, the cannon which shoots pellet type shots and the nuke which fires a nuclear projectile which is handy for wiping out several enemies at once.


In Solar Quest, ships fly around the screen and the player(s) must shoot them. When shot, a survivor will appear from the ship. The player(s) can either shoot or scoop up a survivor for points or else they will eventually fly into the sun (at the center of the screen) and perish. Players can also employ a nuke that will cause a wide arc of damage. Hyperspace can also be used to send the player(s) to a random location on the screen in case of emergency.

After several ships have been shot, they will become more aggressive and start pursuing the player. There are seven different types of alien ships altogether. Also, a ghost ship will appear after a while and start shooting at the player.

Colliding with the sun or any ship or being shot by the ghost ship will cause the player(s) to lose a reserve ship; once all reserve ships are lost the game will end. An extra nuke is awarded at every 10,000 points and extra ships are awarded with every 25 survivors picked up.

Vectrex Controls[]

Game selection[]

  • Switch between one and two players--button one
  • Start game--button four

In-game controls[]

  • Turn ship left and right--joystick or D-pad left and right
  • Hyperspace--button one
  • Nuke--button two (press button once to launch nuke, then a second time to detonate it)
  • Thrust--button three
  • Fire--button four


  • Alien type 1 ship--250 points
  • Alien 2--300 points
  • Alien 3--350 points
  • Alien 4--400 points
  • Alien 5--450 points
  • Alien 6--500 points
  • Alien 7--750 points
  • Ghost ship--3500 points
  • Shooting a survivor--250 points
  • Picking up survivor--1000 points
  • Extra nuke--10,000 points


  • The game is vector-based and monochrome; the colors on the screen are provided by a transparent plastic screen overlay.
  • This game was originally designed as the first color vector game, but due to a supplier issue it was changed back to monochrome.

External Links[]