A look back at Virtuality

Shaggy April 18, 2008 13

Remember those VR arcade machines that were supposed to revolutionize the way we played games? It sure would have been great if they could have truly lived up to the promises made but honestly I think that the technology was too far ahead of its time to really work out like is needed in an arcade. I do know someone that has a couple of these units with all the software released for the platform (they did come along a little farther graphically than what you see in the video below) but I haven’t had a chance to play these yet. Here is a video from the old Gamepro TV show (remember that, back at the height of Gamepro’s popularity ?) that showcases the Virtuality units on their “Cutting Edge” segment. Vide posted by user theepicjoe.

[Discuss on the Forum]


13 Comments »

  1. editor April 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Hey Shaggy,

    A sudden interest in virtual reality – my old field, I even consulted briefly with Virtuality.

    Here is a stash of machines worth a visit: http://www.cybermind.nl/Our%20Products/VR%20LBE%20Systems/body_vr%20lbe%20systems.html

  2. SaraAB87 April 19, 2008 at 12:54 am - Reply

    I think virtuality is VERY cool. I read a bunch of books on virtual reality recently (more to come on that when I have time!) I have never seen a pod in person but I still think they would be cool today. I also made a tshirt with the virtuality logo on it.

  3. editor April 20, 2008 at 1:54 am - Reply

    I spent most of the 90’s working on VR projects for Disney and military, would be interested on your take on the available information.

    If you want more information from the horse mouth just contact me any time.

  4. SaraAB87 April 20, 2008 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    There used to be a load of pods up here in the minolta tower in canada from what I hear however I cannot personally verify this as I found out about the stash a little too late. It took me a little while to find out about VR and by the time I became interested in it and found out about the pods there they had disappeared. I will try to look for pictures from this location. I think there was an arcade maybe in the bottom of it like in the skylon tower however from what I hear it was filled with VR stuff. They turned the arcade into a hotel before I could get there thats why I didn’t see what was there personally.

  5. Tarique Naseem April 21, 2008 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Wow! Can’t believe I just found footage of my old games ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just to correct the video; although they state it was developed by Spectrum Holobyte, this is incorrect. The systems were developed in the UK by Virtuality. Spectrum Holobyte was one of our distributors in the US.

    I worked for Virtuality back in the 90’s when I developed Exorex (one of the games shown in the video) as well as some others. The units themselves were called SU units (Stand Up – took a marketing team to come up with that name!?). We also developed the SD unit (Sit Down!) which is what the Exorex game ran on.

    Anyway, I hope you don’t mind, but i’ll like to link to this post from my blog, once I get round to writing something ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Shaggy April 22, 2008 at 2:32 am - Reply

    @ Tarique

    I noticed that error about Spectrum Holobyte – I remember reading about those guys but I had never heard of them doing anything with VR so I was wondering why they mixed that up.

    I actually first heard about Virtuality when it came to the Atari Jaguar VR headset that they were developing. I know some people that have a few prototypes of it, they go for about $10k in Jaguar collector circles. In fact one of them sold his JagVR headset to someone recently but he has three or four VR units by Virtuality, including the last model the SU2000. I could put you in touch with him if you’d like since you mentioned that you are looking for more info such as pics.

    Go ahead an link it, thatโ€™s no problem. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have always thought that it was too bad that this couldnโ€™t take off but maybe it will again one day thanks to the advances in technology.

  7. Tarique Naseem April 23, 2008 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    That’d be great thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate your help.

    We had a kind of join venture with Spectrum Holobyte at the time. We were actually working with them to create a theme park type experience for Paramount based around the Star Trek franchise. This was going to be huge (and great for me as I was a huge fan!), but it all fell through due to politics between the two companies. ๐Ÿ™

    The Jaguar development was done in-house. We were trying to develop a headset cheap enough for the home market, and this was the first foray into that. The headset was developed in partnership with Philips (Scuba headset). ‘Missile Command VR’, was the first game, which was actually rather good! It’s a shame that developments like this just took place too late when things were already going down hill. If only the management would have listened to us earlier… ๐Ÿ™

  8. ashley July 25, 2009 at 5:56 am - Reply

    i just aquired 2xsu2000 master unites and 2x su2000 slave units and a su3000 total recoil,but they have faults,one su2000 intermitintly reboots,has format c error ,the other su2000 the gun shakes around in the game.
    i cant seem to find any info on these machines,does anyone here have any knowlege on these.
    thanks

    • Shaggy July 25, 2009 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      I have heard that the guy who released these in the US is still around but unfortunately I do not know his name. He does still have a lot of information on the games but I have also heard that he takes a ridiculously long time to get back to you. I can do some digging though and find out who he is, I knew someone that was dealing with them.

  9. ashley July 26, 2009 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Hi Shaggy that would be most greatfull,i dont have a lot of infermation on these sadly im in nz,these are the only ones in new zealand.but id like to get these working anyway,i do realise parts a very expensive .
    these are the faults found:
    SU3000:
    needs new CD ROM drive (Mitsumi 16x), headset requires reassembly (unknown if damaged as it is partially disassembled)
    powers up OK tracker works OK.

    SU2000 Master unit 1:
    Format C error. Suspect RAM damage as system intermittantly reboots. Games only sometimes load up.

    SU2000 Master unit 2:
    Calibration / Tracking error, the gun shakes around alot in the game.

    TIA

    • Tarique Naseem August 26, 2010 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Ashley,

      Come back to this thread a bit late! Where in NZ are you? I moved to Auckland since this post ๐Ÿ™‚

      Are you still having issues with the systems? Not sure if I can do much on these old systems, but give me shout I can help with anything (email: tarique at naseem dot name)

  10. Simon 'Retro VR' Marston October 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Hi all,
    I live in Leicester in the UK, where the Virtuality machines were developed and built.

    I had an interest in virtual reality since I first saw a Virtuality machine in my local arcade. It was a sit down machine playing Exorex, that Tarique Naseem created. BEST GAME EVER!

    I now have 3 1000 CS machines (VR pods) and a 1000 SD machine, (VR sit down).

    I have been lucky enough to meet Tarique, as well as many other ex Virtuality employees, including the MD and Founder.

    Look for Retro VR on Facebook for me and what my VR machines get up to.

    Simon

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