Sega VR

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The Sega VR was a head-tracking virtual reality headset under development by Sega. Versions were planned for arcades and consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis and then Saturn), but only the arcade version was released, while the home console versions were cancelled.

Features[edit]

The Sega VR was based on an IDEO virtual reality headset (HMD) with LCD screens in the visor and stereo headphones.[1] Inertial sensors in the headset allowed the system to track and react to the movements of the user's head.

Development[edit]

Sega, flush with funds from the success of its Mega Drive (released as the Sega Genesis in North America), announced the console in 1991.[1] It was later seen in early 1993, at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (Winter CES), where Electronic Gaming Monthly noted it was an adaptation of a similar headset that Sega were already using for arcades. The magazine stated that a Mega Drive/Genesis version was planned for release in fall 1993 at $200 and would release with four launch games, including a port of arcade game Virtua Racing.[2] Sega later announced that it is scheduled for release in spring 1994, according to Electronic Games.[3]

Because of development difficulties, the console Sega VR headset remained only a prototype, and was never released to the general public. It was last seen at the 1993 Summer CES, where it was demonstrated by Alan Hunter.[4] It vanished from release schedules in 1994. Four games were apparently developed for the system, each using 16 MB cartridges that were to be bundled with the headset.[1]

The company claimed to have terminated the project because the virtual reality effect was too realistic. Users might move while wearing the headset and injure themselves.[1] The limited processing power of the system makes this claim unlikely, although there were reports of testers developing headaches and motion sickness.[1] Mark Pesce, who worked on the Sega VR project, says SRI International, a research institute, warned Sega of the 'hazards of prolonged use'.[5]

Games[edit]

Only four original games were known to be in development.[6]

  • Nuclear Rush: A simulation in which users pilot a hovercraft in a futuristic war.
  • Iron Hammer: In this helicopter simulation, gamers pilot a flying gunship a la EA’s popular “Strike” series.
  • Matrix Runner: This has nothing to do with The Matrix, but it was reported to be a “cyberpunkadventure game inspired by Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher.
  • Outlaw Racing: Road Rash meets Rock -n- Roll Racing in this vehicle racing/combat game.

In addition, Sega also announced a port of Sega AM2's hit 1992 arcade game Virtua Racing as a launch title for the device.[2]

Legacy[edit]

Sega went on to other VR projects for use in arcades and a similar add-on was reported but never seen for the Sega Saturn.[1][7] The project encouraged a brief flurry of other companies to offer VR products.[citation needed]

Sega's chief competitor, Nintendo, would go on to release the ill-fated Virtual Boy in 1995. The table-top device also brought discomfort after extended play.[8]

In 1994, Sega VR technology was utilized for the Sega VR-1 motion simulator arcade attraction,[9][10] which was available at SegaWorld arcades. It was able to track head movement and featured 3D polygon graphics in stereoscopic 3D. A scaled-down version, Dennoo Senki Net Merc, was demonstrated at Japan's 1995 AOU (Amusement Operators Union) show, and it used the Sega Model 1 arcade system board to produce the 3D graphics. However, the game's flat-shaded graphics were compared unfavourably to the Sega Model 2's textured-filtered graphics.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Horowitz, Ken (December 28, 2004). "Sega VR: Great Idea or Wishful Thinking?". Sega-16. Archived from the original on 2010-01-14. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Electronic Gaming Monthly, Video Game Preview Guide, 1993
  3. ^ https://archive.org/stream/Electronic-Games-1994-01/Electronic%20Games%201994-01#page/n33/mode/2up
  4. ^ "SegaVR". YouTube. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Robson, Wayde. "WARNING: 3D Video Hazardous to Your Health". Audioholics. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Vinciguerra, Robert. "Sega VR Console: – To Obscurity and Beyond". The Rev. Rob Times. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Gaming Gossip. Electronic Gaming Monthly. Issue 70. Pg 54. May 1995.
  8. ^ Frischling, Bill. "Sideline Play." The Washington Post (1974-Current file): 11. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post (1877-1995). Oct 25 1995. Web. 24 May 2012.
  9. ^ http://arcadeheroes.com/2013/06/06/segas-wonderful-simulation-games-over-the-years/
  10. ^ http://system16.com/hardware.php?id=845&page=1#2866
  11. ^ https://archive.org/stream/nextgen-issue-006/Next_Generation_Issue_006_June_1995#page/n23/mode/2up