The lights are on
In case you haven't heard, gamers are really, really
interested in playing video games in 3D. At least that's what we're constantly being told by PR reps, anyway. From Nintendo's newly debuted 3DS to Sony's line of 3D-ready
HDTVs, a large portion of the industry believes 3D will play an important role in the future of video games. But for veteran gamers the promise of 3D gaming is nothing new;
developers have been trying to create stereoscopic games for more than 20 years, to
varying (though usually dismal) levels of success. Join us for a look back at
the best and worst attempts at 3D gaming.
(NES, 1987):The first time I saw 3-D WorldRunner, its forward-scrolling action and surreal
landscapes blew my adolescent mind - and that was before trying out the 3D
glasses. The game used anaglyph imaging to create its 3D effects, which is
really just a fancy term for those red and blue cardboard glasses that seemed
way less dorky in the '80s. Developed by Square, WorldRunner
had some major star power behind it: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Nasir Gebelli, and Nobuo
Uematsu all reportedly had a hand in creating the game before moving on to
Square's staple franchise, Final Fantasy.
Rad Racer (NES, 1987):
If you couldn't tell by the visual similarities, Rad Racer was Nintendo's
answer to Sega's Out Run. It was the second NES game developed by Square to
feature anaglyph-based 3D, which helped set the title apart from Sega's popular
racer. The game was also featured in the
1989 Fred Savage classic, The Wizard,
further legitimizing its use of the word "rad" in its title.
Space Harrier 3-D (Sega Master System, 1988):Space Harrier 3-D's
checkered floors and fleet-footed protagonist may look strikingly similar to
what WorldRunner delivered, but don't blame Sega: the original Space Harrier
was an arcade game released over a year before Nintendo's knockoff. The Sega
Master System installment of the series is the only title to feature a 3D mode,
thanks to the system's SegaScope 3-D peripheral.
Other SegaScope 3-D Games (Sega Master System, 1988):Although it never gained widespread popularity, the SegaScope 3-D was an impressive peripheral. Unlike tinted
anaglyph glasses, SegaScope 3-D employed actual LCD shutter glasses, similar to
those used with modern 3D-ready HDTVs. Shutter glasses get rid of the
discoloration caused by anaglyph glasses, resulting in a better image quality.
Despite this advantage, SegaScope was a colossal failure, and only a handful of
games were released for it, including Zaxxon 3-D, Missile Defense 3-D, and Out
Virtual Boy (1995):
Speaking of colossal failures: Possibly Nintendo's most infamous flop, the Virtual Boy was a short-lived console
that used LEDs and oscillating mirrors to create a projected 3D effect. While the sense
of depth was impressive, the console was only capable of projecting a
monochromatic image, its one color being red, much less. The system also had to stay in a fixed
position, requiring players to hunch over a table in order to play it correctly. The Virtual Boy had
the potential to cause severe eyestrain as well, to the point where the system would
automatically pop up a message every 15 minutes encouraging the player to take
a break. Nintendo also warned that children under the age of seven shouldn't
play the Virtual Boy, because their eyesight hasn't fully developed yet, and the
console could cause permanent damage - much like getting punched in the eyeball
by a cybernetic boxer:
"Move your child's underdeveloped eyeballs closer to my fist, please."
proved fatal for the Virtual Boy, and Nintendo abandoned the console the year
after it was released. Only 14 Virtual Boy titles were released in the US,
including 3D Tetris, Mario's Tennis, Teleroboxer, and Virtual Boy Wario Land. The
failure of the Virtual Boy is also rumored to be the reason legendary designer
Gunpei Yokoi left Nintendo in 1997. If there was any good to come out of
the Virtual Boy, perhaps it's that Nintendo learned from the doomed console's
mistakes and made the 3DS far less intrusive.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
This is just hilarious! I feel like Marty McFly! I remember wearing those red and blue paper glasses while playing 3D World Runner. I was wearing checkerboard slip-ons, cutoffs, and a day-glo neon shirt. Wow, how things change...
So, do you think because of all of the new features from the 3DS, that the 3DS will have a part of the Nintendo Shop that will allow you to buy these old games??? Even though they've failed, they still are pretty fun to play.
A sad past for 3d gaming: but maybe a proud future for it.
It amazes me that even way back in 1987, companies were able to incorporate 3D technology in SOME way into their game. On another note, along with my PS3 and Wii, most of the games my family owned were stolen, including Arkham Asylum, so I almost thought about getting the game of the year edition to replace it. Now I probably won't.
Now it's all aout 3-D (which has been going on for a while). It my seem stupid now, but wait until someone comes up with holographic games. I'd love to see that.
Wow. Virtual boy brings back memories of standing in toys r us for about 2 hours at a time and playing wario til no end. Im glad i didnt get one. Im already blind as it is and i didnt need more problems.
I'm doubtful that Sony's 3DTVs and Nintendo's 3DS will be the next big technological advancement, although I probably will get the 3DS because my old DS is broken and is a heck of a lot less then Sony's 3D setup.
Ahh, the virtual boy. Fourteen games of eye-bleeding fun.
I loved Batman: Arkham Asylum. I miss it and would play it again. I also own a pair of those silly cardboard glasses. Had I known I coulda played it like that in 3-D, I would have.
The Virtual Boy was the biggest piece of $%^# I've ever owned. I remember how my eyes watered and how my vision fluctuated after each use. I think I played for a few days (it was novel, and I was young) before throwing it to the side.
Glad I wasn't old enough to say I want it
well then again i wasn't even born
Nintendo should do another Teleroboxer, or Red Alarm, for 3DS. Perhaps if it launches with a 3DSware store, you could download new versions of these games for 5 bucks or whatnot. Besides them, the only other good game I could remember from the Virtual Boy was Wario Land VB. Granted, I didn't play much of it - I sure as hell didn't own it - I just remember playing it at a kiosk in Sears when I was 8 or 9:) The ideal way to play it I suppose - for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, no more.
I'm just glad that back in '95 I was only 6 and wasn't TOTALLY into video games yet. Sure, I had played the Super Mario Bros. series, but I wasn't a true gamer at that point. So fortunatly, I had never heard of the Virtual Boy back then; I know that I would have wanted it, and it may have ruined video games for me as a whole, as well as my eyesight, lol.
As for Dan...I think he actually pulls off that look. Intresting...