Sega, flush with funds from the Sega Mega Drive (released as the Sega Genesis in North America), announced the Sega VR add-on in 1991. It was based around an IDEO virtual reality headset (HMD) with LCD screens in the visor and stereo headphones. Inertial sensors in the headset allowed the system to track and react to the movements of the user’s head. Because of development difficulties the Sega VR remained only a prototype, it was last seen at computer shows in 1993 and vanished from the 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. [Info from Wikipedia]
One of these Sega VR games was Iron Hammer, a first person shooter with futuristic aircraft. A prototype of this game was somehow saved from the limbo and thanks to Nicola from Gamescollection.it, we had a brief chance to play it at the VGH 2008, a little videogames expo that took place in Monza (Italy) the last May. You can check the video below to see Iron Hammer in motion.
That would have been lightyears ahead ofthe Wii. Motion Control VR HELMETS? DAMN!
WHERE’S MY VR AT!? I’m looking at YOU Gaming Industry!
An unfortunate title for a game as it was previousily used as a code name for an aborted attack on the soviets by the Nazi party in WW2. ..
Here’s Sega’s Press release on the MD VR system:
Sega Brings Virtual Reality Home With Sega VR
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan 6, 1994– After extensive research and
development, Sega of America, Inc. will make video game history this year
with the introduction of Sega VR. Available exclusively for the
industry-leading 16 bit Genesis system, Sega VR is the first full-color
virtual reality unit for home and will be available in the third quarter
of 1994 at a mass consumer price of under $250.
“Sega is commited to bringing the ultimate VR gameplay experience
to consumers at a price point that is affordable,” said Paul Rioux, Sega
executive vice president. “In the past year, we have been dedicated to
perfecting our VR technology, intergrating hardware and software
capabilites and completing extensive consumer product testing.”
Made possible through custom-developed Sega technology, Sega VR’s
full color head-mounted display and head-tracking system immerses players
in a 3-D universe that surrounds the senses, delivering a 360 degree
gaming experience with thrilling sights and sounds from all vectors.
Realism is enhanced with a custom display that boasts 3-D stereoscopic
views and built-in headphones that provide stereo surround sound for
video game action and fun that comes at the player from all sides.
Head-tracking software with build-in 360 degree
dimension/direction will introduce players to an all-new virtual world,
unlike anything experienced before. Whether piloting a hovercraft past
intensely hostile robots and drones in “Nuclear Rush” or charging into
dazzling, hypnotic cyberspare voyage of “Matrix Runner,” [;auers wo;; be
ack err players will be amazed by the unmatched realism of Sega VR games.
Other upcoming titles include “Iron Hammer,” a 3-D
inter-planetary adventure through 15 levels of alien combat zones, and
“Outloaw Racing,” plunging players into the heated competition of a dirt
track, battling 20 other cars in a careening high speed race.
These four virtual reality games, ranging in price from $59.99 to
$69.99, will be available for Sega VR in 1994.
Sega Rep’s had been saying it had been delayed to bug test and finish software..
But feedback from the 1993 CES was pretty poor..
People describing the games as primitive and garbage.
There are claims Sega, knowing how poorly received the V. R Unit and games would be by European Press, refused to allow European Games Press to see it at the CES unveil.
Sega thinking they could manipulate the US Press far easier than the Europeans ????