The Vectrex was a very unique home game system, and it's controller was also innovative in numerous ways. For a system that was meant to bring a true arcade experience to the home, it's controller was specifically designed to function like arcade controls - only smaller.
The controller is very much like the control panel of an arcade game and features very arcade-like buttons and button placement. Even the way the controller folds out of it's storage compartment on the Vectrex console makes it look like a miniature arcade game.
The joystick, on the other hand is different. The Vectrex was the first home console to feature analog joysticks. Most arcade games and consoles had 8-directional (or fewer) controls. The design decision to go with analog was most likely because of the nature of the console. With vector graphics, 3D games are more common and lines/objects aren't as locked into the cardinal "8 directions" like traditional raster hardware.
It wasn't until about a dozen years later that 3D games and analog control really took off in home consoles.
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