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 www.RolentaPress.com and make sure to sign up to get Old School Gamer Magazine for free by clicking here!