Friend #2 had the Odyssey 2 (Magnavox, 1978), an oddball system with full-Qwerty membrane keyboard that made it superficially resemble a personal computer. Considered a lesser system due to its inferior graphics and sound (every game seemed to emit the exact same set of bleeps and bloops), it had a few notable system-specific titles such as K.C. Munchkin, a Pac-Man knock-off that was more fun than any other dot-eating maze game available on cart at the time, and Quest For The Rings, a board-game/videogame hybrid that required two players to cooperate as a team in a multi-level dungeon crawl.
Vector graphics were composed of rays of light that traced lines between points, rather than a bit-mapped grid of blocks. Some vector-graphics arcade games of note were Asteroids, Tempest, Battlezone and the original arcade Star Wars. The bright, clear lines of the display, similar in brilliance to those you might see on an oscilloscope screen, were very striking and had a definite futuristic science-fiction aesthetic. No other system before or since offered this unique display type (and modern arcade emulations can't quite capture the effect).
After several months of saving every penny I could get my hands on (fifty bucks was a lot of money to a grade-schooler in 1984) I finally scrounged together enough to buy the discounted system, but with no money left over for cartridges.
That's okay, though, because Vectrex came with one built-in game, and it was, as the kids say today, a killer app. Minestorm was basically Asteroids on steroids (A-Steroids?) You piloted a space ship using rotate-left/right, thrust and "hyperspace" controls, shooting floating space "mines", which sometimes shot back or followed you around the screen.
So it was Asteroids, leveled-up.
and a very, very excited family.
The Minestorm instruction manual included a few pages to document high scores, and I started logging my steadily increasing achievements (although I never bothered recording the date when the scores were achieved.)
Today, the score record stands as an amusing account of father/son one-upmanship.
Dad, you see, was a bit of a videogamer too, and he gravitated towards the games with a simple controller layout (the joystick-only Frogger was his arcade favorite.) Initially against the Vectrex purchase (our loyal Intellivision may get jealous, was perhaps his thinking) he soon warmed up to this latest addition to the family and was adding his own personal-best Minestorm scores to the list, although with his scores barely halving mine, I was in no immediate danger of being overtaken.
On one particularly good run, I managed to nearly triple my previous high score, achieving a then-impressive 166,958 points.
After having semi-retired from the Minestorm scene, I quietly returned to the playfield for the sole purpose of reasserting my superior skills, and in a move worthy of videogame record-holding villain Billy Mitchell (King of Kong:A Fistful of Quarters), proceeded to rack up a previously unheard of score of 681,070, tripling-and-then-some my Dad's once proud record, and noting the achievement in the official record book with a little triple-underlined, exclamation-pointed self-aggrandizing smugness ("Bill Super Star!")
"But you used Hyperspace!" father despaired, as his hard-won scores were dumped into the ash-bin of history...
Don't feel too bad for Dad, though. As the years rolled along and my interest in Minestorm waned (this ended up being my last recorded score), he perfected his game, eventually besting my historic achievement with an impressive 954,819 ("11/8/85 Dad New Champ!"), then nearly doubling that years later (5/4/1987, 1,906,735).
...a journey made longer, perhaps, by not using hyperspace.