As home consoles were becoming more sophisticated, arcade manufacturers had to stay one step ahead and devise games that couldn’t be played at home. Virtuality, a British company, introduced four virtual reality games into arcades. While the games were different, the basic play was the same.  In each game, the player sat in a pod, an arcade cabinet designed to enhance the game’s theme. One of the games, Total Destruction, had a racing theme, so the cabinet resembled a race car, complete with a steering wheel. In fact, Total Destruction was similar to first-person arcade games that had been around for years, such as Namco’s Pole Position. In that game, a player sat in a cabinet and used a steering wheel as a controller, while viewing a race course on the screen in front of him. In Total Destruction, and the other games from Virtuality, there wasn’t any screen in front of the player. Instead, players donned virtual reality goggles, which gave them the impression that they were immersed in the game.

Sega’s Time Traveler was another game that couldn’t be played at home. Devised by Rick Dyer, the creator of Dragon’s Lair, Time Traveler utilized full motion video to present what was billed as the “World’s First Holographic Video Game”. Indeed, the live-action characters appeared to be holograms, presented in full 3D, and visible from any angle.  The effect, however,  was merely an optical illusion created from a huge curved mirror and a standard television set.

Check out more of the rich history of the industry in Leonard Herman’s book Phoenix IV available at Rolenta Press and make sure to sign up to get Old School Gamer Magazine for free by clicking here!

Leonard Herman Leonard Herman (26 Posts)

Leonard Herman, The Game Scholar, is regarded as one of the earliest and most respected videogame historians. The first edition of his book Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Videogames, which was published in 1994, is considered to be the first serious and comprehensive book about the history of videogames. He has written articles for Videogaming & Computer Illustrated, Games Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Pocket Games, Classic Gamer Magazine, Edge, Game Informer, Classic Gamer Magazine, Manci Games, and Video Game Trader, which he also edited. He has also contributed articles to several videogame-related books, including Supercade, The Video Game Explosion and The Encyclopedia of Video Games. Mr. Herman has also written the book ABC To the VCS (A Directory of Software for the Atari 2600), a compendium of game summaries. He has also written and designed user's manuals for the following Atari VCS games: Cracked, Save the Whales, Pick-Up, Rush Hour, Looping, The Entity and Lasercade, as well as the user's guide to Ralph Baer's Pinball! for the Odyssey2. In 1994, he founded Rolenta Press, a publisher of videogame books, whose catalogue included Videogames: In the Beginning, by Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the videogame console, and Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel, the world's first videogame journalist. Two Rolenta Press books were included in a list of the top ten videogame books of all time by Game Informer magazine in 2008. Mr. Herman has served as an advisor for Videotopia, Classic Gaming Expo and the National Videogame Museum. He has appeared in several episodes of G4's Icons and in the documentary, The King of Arcades. In 2003, Mr. Herman received a Classic Gaming Expo Achievement Award in recognition for his accomplishments in documenting game history