Sega VR

Hyper - - TECH -

Two years after the Power Glove bombed, Sega an­nounced it was work­ing on a head-mounted dis­play (HMD) for its pop­u­lar Mega Drive/ Ge­n­e­sis con­soles. Fea­tur­ing dual LCD screens, stereo head­phones, and in­er­tial sen­sors to track head movement, the HMD was sched­uled for a 1993 launch, would cost 200 bucks Amer­i­can, and would come bun­dled with a port of Vir­tua Rac­ing.

To keep the HMD af­ford­able, Sega’s en­gi­neers were forced to use lowqual­ity com­po­nents. Lag was abysmal and the dis­play’s low res­o­lu­tion ren­dered even very sim­ple scenes a blurry mess, caus­ing testers to com­plain of nau­sea and headaches. For all Sega’s am­bi­tion – some might say hubris – there was sim­ply no way the Sega VR would live up to the hype with­out a very large price hike. The tech sim­ply wasn’t there yet.

So they canned it. The of­fi­cial spin was that the ex­pe­ri­ence was too re­al­is­tic, and Sega was con­cerned that peo­ple might, like, hurt them­selves or neglect their real-world re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or some­thing. In ad­di­tion to the Vir­tua Rac­ing port (which was re­leased by it­self later on), four games were in de­vel­op­ment be­fore the ham­mer fi­nally fell: hov­er­craft com­bat sim Nu­clear Rush, Desert Strike rip-off Iron Ham­mer, a Snatcher­ish cy­ber­punk ad­ven­ture called Ma­trix Run­ner, and Out­law Rac­ing, an arena racer in the vein of Rockn-Roll Rac­ing.

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