The boom of virtual reality happened back in the 90s – even then it was assumed that gaming with helmets had a promising future. Nintendo and SEGA were also interested in this direction, but if “Ninka” really released Virtual Boy (which failed miserably), then SEGA did not bring its device to release.
The device was nicknamed SEGA VR and was announced in 1991 as a peripheral for the SEGA Mega Drive. Sales were supposed to start at the end of 1993 at a price of only $ 200 (about $ 360 in modern money, taking into account inflation).
At the time, SEGA VR seemed like a revolution: two LCD screens with a high refresh rate were stuck into a relatively compact helmet with stereo headphones. Six games have been announced, including Nuclear Rush and Virtua Racing arcade port .
However, then the release was canceled. The official reason sounded funny: they say, SEGA VR conveys such a realistic feeling that players can start moving around the room, catch something and hurt themselves. But according to unofficial information, SEGA listened to the feedback from the Stanford Research Institute: scientists believed that the helmet would lead to headaches, dizziness and discomfort, especially in children.
So, game historians from the Video Game History Foundation managed to assemble the SEGA VR emulator without having the helmet itself. This happened thanks to the found Nuclear Rush sources – they were shared by one of the game authors. It was possible to simulate the operation of the device using those pieces of code that were in the entertainment source.
As historians have established, SEGA VR gave out a frequency of 30 hertz (in modern VR, 90 hertz is considered a comfortable level) and even caught head movements. True, in limited mode: the helmet detected when you moved your head up and down and left and right, but tilting your head to one side no longer worked.
An interesting fact: the author of Nuclear Rush admitted that a huge share of the production cycle went through, one might say, blindly – the developer simply did not have SEGA VR on hand. In the end, the helmet came back, but before that the developer was trying to assemble a homemade rig with two monitors to test the game.
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