A Trip Down Virtual Reality Road: 6 Systems of the Past
With news of Facebook’s purchase of Oculus Rift making waves and the announcement that Sony is working a virtual reality headset called Project Morpheus, it’s clear that virtual reality is having something of a resurgence — and potentially a renaissance. But what are the odds of it really coming to fruition?
These news VR headsets are not the first of their kind. VR gaming has been around for decades, but it was simply never a success. Perhaps it was just technological limitations of the time, or a market that wasn’t ready to embrace the technology (or headaches.) Maybe it was just the pricetag. To understand what may be different this time around, it’s important to take a look at some of the iterations of VR in the past.
In the early 1990s, Virtuality Group produced a set of VR systems that included a stand-up arena type system and a vehicle cockpit type. Both used headsets with built in screens to put gamers right into the position of the characters they played in the games. Between a multiplayer first-person shoot called Dactyl Nightmare that let players run around shooting one another as a treacherous pterodactyl attacked them as well as several other games, Virtuality had a memorable presence in arcades.
Unfortunately, with price tags in the tens of thousands, the VR systems were far too expensive for consumers. That didn’t necessarily keep Virtuality from being a proponent in the early push for VR technologies, but it did keep from becoming mainstream enough to make VR the next revolution in technology.