A Blank Virtual Reality Check

blogauthorpic by Carl Franklin

 

We all wanted to be that kid. You know, Preston Waters from the 1994 motion picture Blank Check? He had the life every kid wanted—one of luxury, convenience. That is essentially what we have today. As adults, we can have it all. Whether or not we can afford to keep on the poundage from having our cake and eating it too, believe it or not it’s possible to open up our world to a new dimension of wonder. With the virtual reality industry on the verge of major breakthroughs, it’s no surprise that we can visit Martian terrain at noon and arrive back to earth by dinnertime to enjoy a few rounds of skeet shooting. Suffice it to say, virtual reality has been in the works for a very long time. However it’s only been within the past couple years where it’s revealed its full potential. In Blank Check, there is a portion of Preston’s mansion where he has a “virtual reality wall” with a headset labeled by world renowned game company Nintendo. But what came of the invention from such a reputable brand in the early nineties? That’s an excellent question.

Virtual Boy was officially launched by Nintendo in November 1995 and within less than a year, it vanished from the market never to be heard of again. Only of course to be replaced by the notable Nintendo 64 with similar handheld controller shape features as the predecessor console. Nintendo wanted to elaborate on the childhood toy, Viewmaster 3D and enhance it into an electronic world of depth perception and zero peripheral vision. Caveat, the timing in the market may have been too much technology, too fast for such a device. As most of the consumers would have preferred a color display, Virtual Boy’s Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto said on behalf of Nintendo, “We experimented with a color LCD screen, but the users did not see depth, they just saw double. Color graphics give people the impression that a game is high tech. But just because a game has a beautiful display does not mean that the game is fun to play. … Red uses less battery and red is easier to recognize. That is why red is used for traffic lights.”

So… it was too expensive for them to produce. That said, a red display was most unappealing to most consumers because red evokes anger and headaches over any other color. If Nintendo wouldn’t have even paid a thought to producing a virtual reality product to that caliber until the age of smartphones, it’s a fair assumption that the cost to produce would have been significantly less than the early nineties when society was lucky to tow an enormous brick telephone around if they cared to speak wirelessly with business contacts or relatives.

So as we approach the dawn of 2017 with gusto, it’s safe to say that we have that life of convenience. Speaking for myself only, I have my cake and eat it too (quite too regularly in fact) and we all have terabytes of technology pouring from our pockets. But with much thanks to the cellular phone manufacturers, they realized the time has finally arrived to unveil a whole new concept to the consumer market in a far more receptive capacity. Oh, and without breaking the bank too!

 

1  Kent, Steven L. (2002). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. New York: Random House International. pp. 513–515, 518, 519, 523, 524. ISBN 978-0-7615-3643-7.OCLC 59416169

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