Retro Scan of the Week: Tiger’s R-Zone — the Ultimate Eye Strain Device

September 11th, 2006 by Benj Edwards

Tiger R-Zone

Tiger R-Zone Pimple HeadWay 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), possibly tried [citation needed] to capitalize on the hoopla surrounding Nintendo’s red-headed stepchild. Tiger introduced 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.)

Tiger R-Zone

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.

Tiger R-Zone XPG KidA 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.

Tiger R-Zone XPG

It should probably stay there too.

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10 Responses to “Retro Scan of the Week: Tiger’s R-Zone — the Ultimate Eye Strain Device”

  1. MegaKitsune Says:

    OMFGOSH I REMEMBER THESE! I wanted one SO bad. If I had only know back then how truly horrible it was…

  2. Atarishark Says:

    I wanted one as well, now I have to look forward to the Atari Microsoft merger with the future so bright for “Atari X” the ultimate retinal gaming experience!

  3. Atarishark Says:

    Whatever happened to that Sharktar guy? He always left the best comments!

  4. Sara Says:

    I have one of these still in the package, perhaps its time to auction it on ebay. Its the headset type with a star wars game. Also i had the xpg but after 2 days the screen became all foggy and i had to return the system to kmart, thankfully i only paid 3$ for the system, paid about the same for the headset one.

  5. a Says:

    Mine came with (ugh) VR Troopers, and as I recall, I also had Mortal Kombat 3 and (wow) Apollo 11. Lordy.

  6. Joseph Says:

    I HAD ONE OF THESE! I remember it. Back then it was cool to me, now that i look back, it was cheesy.

  7. Eye Strain Says:

    I begged my mum to get me one of these for weeks before Christmas one year and she didn’t, I burst into tears. In hindsight I wasn’t the best kid…

  8. Harrison Says:

    Even though I knew how horrible these HAD to be I HAD to have one. Just never ended up picking one up and have to say I’d still buy it if I saw one.

  9. Jessi Says:

    This thing was the WORST. My little brother had one and I picked it up one day to try it out…no joke, the instruction book told you to do like 30 seconds of some odd eye exercises before playing the R-Zone to “avoid eye strain” (as if that was possible with R-Zone!). The games were so bad, the whole thing showed some SERIOUS lack of judgment from Tiger. I guess they made it seem cool enough, and had Batman and “Mortal Kombat” games to lure kids in – but I’m pretty sure 95% of these things were junked within a week of being unpackaged. They were sheer garbage.

  10. Aaron Says:

    I used to have one of these, with the Zorro game (if I recall correctly). I remember having eye strains all the time when playing on it :’)

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