Call us old-fashioned, but we prefer to play our games with a controller. Arm waving in front of a camera is a little too much like, well, waving your arms about in front of a camera. The novelty of seeing ourselves on TV and pretending to hit things that aren't there wore off at around the 23 second mark during our first go with the original PS2 EyeToy. Screw that.
And if footage from 80s US TV show, Total Panic, is anything to go by, this most miserable of gaming pursuits has always been intangibly rubbish. The game's called Eat-a-Bug, it's a showcase of 'pioneering' virtual technology running on an Amiga and it looks terrible. In fact, it looks exactly like an EyeToy game from the space year 2003. You can watch it here.
After some casual searching on YouTube, we found more examples of the technology in action. We think it's now the 90s, but apart from that, not much has changed. It still looks like a patently sub-par investment of time. The best/worst example is probably 'Virtual Volleyball'. Watch it and be grateful that this kind of thing never took off in a big way:
It's like watching fish out of water. Fish with arms and legs, that is. Fish with arms and legs that are suffering some kind of impairment to their central nervous system. But never fear, at least Natal's going to be way better than all this flailing about. Right?
As a patron of the Great Britain, my personal fondest memory of virtual reality on TV predates Total Panic by several years. Probably no one remembers Knightmare, but it was pretty rad back in the day. Especially when the kids giving the orders didn't know their left from their right. Observe:
HAHA! He went the wrong way and fell down the hole! TV didn't get any better than that in the 80s. Seriously. It didn't.
Thanks to Facebook user Tasos Akridopolos for bringing the Total Panic footage to our attention.
April 23, 2010