Way back in the land before time (1995), when a little ole company you might have heard of called "Nintendo" was tinkering with its worst gaming experiment ever (Virtual Boy), another company called Tiger Electronics (famous for its handheld LCD games, if you'll recall), tried to capitalize on the hoopla surrounding Nintendo's red-headed stepchild. Tiger's answer was the R-Zone, a LCD-based gaming system that used red-tinted game cartridges and projected them onto a HUD mirror strapped over the player's pimply forehead (see picture). An extremely uncomfortable-to-hold detached controller held the batteries, and the player plugged the cartridge — each containing its own LCD screen — into the headset. It worked very poorly, as you might imagine; but what more could you expect for $30 (US) MSRP?
(The main scan above is of the paper insert from the blister package that my original R-Zone came in back in 1995.)
The game that came as a pack-in with my R-Zone, Batman Forever, was typical LCD game fare — that is to say, it was horrible. No, make that is horrible. I just turned it on again for the first time in ten years and it greeted me with the same screeching, unforgettable, unrelenting beeping melody that was long ago seared into my brain, never to be removed.
A couple years later, after the total obvious bomb of the Virtual Boy (and perhaps after realizing how completely uncomfortable the original R-Zone was), Tiger decided to distance itself from that concept and released a completely handheld projection player called the "X.P.G." (Xtreme Pocket Game, in case you were wondering) that played the same LCD cartridges as the R-Zone. Still, the change was too little, too late, and the latest LCD gaming gimmick was quickly tucked into the lint-filled back pant pocket of gaming history.
It should probably stay there too.
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