Posted by critThreat (60 posts) -

This week, we talked about a handheld system that is near and dear to our hearts: the Gameboy. Sure, the graphics were simple and the screen was even simpler, but it has still withstood the test of time. A lot of people owned the original Gameboy and people are still buying DS's to this day. Some kids, at least at the elementary school I went to, were unimpressed with Nintendo's clunky ascetics and high price tag. They were what we called "Tiger-ites".

They played the Tiger Electronics games that were found hanging by the checkout at your neighborhood grocery store. Games like The Lion King, Sonic 2, Batman Returns, and countless others were found in these standalone handhelds. Even more primitive than the beast known technically the DMG-01, these games were almost always stripped-down versions of existing games. I have to admit as a child, I straddled the line between GameBOY and Tiger-ite.

I even remember being excited when I first saw the commercial for Tiger's answer to the Gameboy and upcoming Virtual Boy (a legend in its own right). A portable system that packed all of your favorite Tiger handhelds into one system. VIRTUAL REALITY (kinda...). Oh, and it also doubled as a terrible eye patch. The R-Zone!

The R-Zone used space age technology to project crappy LCD videogames onto a clear piece of plastic that was dangled in front of the user's face, like their dignity, ever-so-slightly out of reach. The images would actually be displayed first on a screen that was built into the game cartridge (a first, I'm sure),then using magic mirrors, they would make their way to the "screen", or plastic in front of the eye. There was a controller that was also connected to said headset that would allow the user to interact with the pictures on the screen. I wouldn't call it controlling the game as much as it was moving digital cardboard cutouts in a very awkward manner, hoping to accumulate a high score or beat a level or whatever goals these games try to set for the poor player.

Much like the Virtual boy it was competing with, the average person became nauseous after playing the system for only a few minutes. Not to mention that there was only one eyepiece, so you either had to play with one eye closed (which is also a lyric from an unreleased Metallica song entitled "Into the R-Zone"), or you had to train your brain to ignore the outside world and slip into a Tiger-induced dreamstate to become One with the poopy.

The games were actually just exact copies of the standalone Handhelds, only in cartridge form. What's better than buying a copy of a subpar game? Buying two copies. Though, I will admit, the version of Panzer Dragoon on the R-Zone, while choppy and unplayable, is MUCH more affordable than the FAR superior version for the Sega Saturn.

As for the mulitplayer on the system, there was... none...

Now on the to the volume control. Well, funny you should ask, because there was... none... either...

Well, at least you could save your high scores, by writing... them... down... Ugh.

On a positive note, this system did fail miserably. Tiger released a few more version of the system, both were actually handhelds, and by handhelds, I mean one was handheld and one was Baseball Glove-held. But they did even worse.

Tiger went on to make a truly remarkable handheld game(.com) system, but THAT... is a tale for another time.

Welp, that does it for this week. Be sure to check out this week's episode about the Gameboy. And NEXT week, were dusting off our Gateways, booting up our megabytes,  jumping into cyberspace and doing other cliche' computer jargony-things as we check out some retro PC games. Until next time, BOOM!

~Jared
 
If you like this article, you'll LOOOOOVE our podcast, Joystick Tuggers. Check it out!
#1 Posted by critThreat (60 posts) -

This week, we talked about a handheld system that is near and dear to our hearts: the Gameboy. Sure, the graphics were simple and the screen was even simpler, but it has still withstood the test of time. A lot of people owned the original Gameboy and people are still buying DS's to this day. Some kids, at least at the elementary school I went to, were unimpressed with Nintendo's clunky ascetics and high price tag. They were what we called "Tiger-ites".

They played the Tiger Electronics games that were found hanging by the checkout at your neighborhood grocery store. Games like The Lion King, Sonic 2, Batman Returns, and countless others were found in these standalone handhelds. Even more primitive than the beast known technically the DMG-01, these games were almost always stripped-down versions of existing games. I have to admit as a child, I straddled the line between GameBOY and Tiger-ite.

I even remember being excited when I first saw the commercial for Tiger's answer to the Gameboy and upcoming Virtual Boy (a legend in its own right). A portable system that packed all of your favorite Tiger handhelds into one system. VIRTUAL REALITY (kinda...). Oh, and it also doubled as a terrible eye patch. The R-Zone!

The R-Zone used space age technology to project crappy LCD videogames onto a clear piece of plastic that was dangled in front of the user's face, like their dignity, ever-so-slightly out of reach. The images would actually be displayed first on a screen that was built into the game cartridge (a first, I'm sure),then using magic mirrors, they would make their way to the "screen", or plastic in front of the eye. There was a controller that was also connected to said headset that would allow the user to interact with the pictures on the screen. I wouldn't call it controlling the game as much as it was moving digital cardboard cutouts in a very awkward manner, hoping to accumulate a high score or beat a level or whatever goals these games try to set for the poor player.

Much like the Virtual boy it was competing with, the average person became nauseous after playing the system for only a few minutes. Not to mention that there was only one eyepiece, so you either had to play with one eye closed (which is also a lyric from an unreleased Metallica song entitled "Into the R-Zone"), or you had to train your brain to ignore the outside world and slip into a Tiger-induced dreamstate to become One with the poopy.

The games were actually just exact copies of the standalone Handhelds, only in cartridge form. What's better than buying a copy of a subpar game? Buying two copies. Though, I will admit, the version of Panzer Dragoon on the R-Zone, while choppy and unplayable, is MUCH more affordable than the FAR superior version for the Sega Saturn.

As for the mulitplayer on the system, there was... none...

Now on the to the volume control. Well, funny you should ask, because there was... none... either...

Well, at least you could save your high scores, by writing... them... down... Ugh.

On a positive note, this system did fail miserably. Tiger released a few more version of the system, both were actually handhelds, and by handhelds, I mean one was handheld and one was Baseball Glove-held. But they did even worse.

Tiger went on to make a truly remarkable handheld game(.com) system, but THAT... is a tale for another time.

Welp, that does it for this week. Be sure to check out this week's episode about the Gameboy. And NEXT week, were dusting off our Gateways, booting up our megabytes,  jumping into cyberspace and doing other cliche' computer jargony-things as we check out some retro PC games. Until next time, BOOM!

~Jared
 
If you like this article, you'll LOOOOOVE our podcast, Joystick Tuggers. Check it out!
#2 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

Nice piece of history. Those look like, well, not very much fun.

#3 Posted by laserbolts (5323 posts) -

I have never even heard of this stuff. It looks terrible. Good read.

#4 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

As if Panzer Dragoon Mini wasn't enough of an insult to the series...

#5 Posted by WJist (313 posts) -

We had an R-Zone in my house. Dark times.
 
Also, I just remembered the main problem with handhelds back when I was in elementary school was that they weren't portable enough to get away with playing in school, no matter how hard you tried to cram a fat Game Boy or Game Gear in your pants pocket. Cue Game Boy Pocket.

#6 Posted by JCTango (1363 posts) -

Nice post!  I like reading a bit about the consoles I never got to try back in the day.  Keep postin' em :D.

#7 Posted by Hailinel (24969 posts) -

I remember seeing ads for this thing. Given how bad of an idea the Virtual Boy was, I couldn't believe anyone was dumb enough to attempt a cheaper, more ridiculous rip-off of it.

Online
#8 Posted by critThreat (60 posts) -
@WJist said:
We had an R-Zone in my house. Dark times.  Also, I just remembered the main problem with handhelds back when I was in elementary school was that they weren't portable enough to get away with playing in school, no matter how hard you tried to cram a fat Game Boy or Game Gear in your pants pocket. Cue Game Boy Pocket.
That and Giga Pets, which were also made by Tiger Electronics, got me through many, many boring recesses.
#9 Posted by sirdesmond (1241 posts) -

The first time I saw that top picture, I literally laughed out loud. It is just the distillation of everything that was both awesome and terrible about the 90s.

#10 Posted by yates (384 posts) -

I owned an R-Zone at one point. I should probably apologise to my parents for buying me it.

#11 Posted by Roger_Klotz (782 posts) -

I had an R-zone. I also remember never playing it, because it hurt my eyes.

#12 Posted by demonknightinuyasha (467 posts) -

I still have one of these in a box somewhere (actually came across it recently looking through some boxes and promptly put it back in said box). I had the version that was less ridiculous and just had a little piece that slid forward for the "screen". Had some awful Star Wars game with it. Not even sure why I had it, I had a NES and a Gameboy >_>;;;;

#13 Posted by CrossTheAtlantic (1145 posts) -

I remember getting knockoff of an R-Zone (so basically a knockoff of a knockoff [INCEPTION]) at Toys-R-Us that had the eye thing and a gun. It was one game. I think you were supposed to be shooting aliens or something. I don't remember because the damned thing never worked.

#14 Posted by critThreat (60 posts) -
@CrossTheAtlantic said:
I remember getting knockoff of an R-Zone (so basically a knockoff of a knockoff [INCEPTION]) at Toys-R-Us that had the eye thing and a gun. It was one game. I think you were supposed to be shooting aliens or something. I don't remember because the damned thing never worked.
Oh my... Did you remember to keep your Totem close by when trying to play it?
#15 Posted by Beyond_the_infinite (102 posts) -

I have one of these sitting next to my desk.

#16 Posted by critThreat (60 posts) -
@Beyond_the_infinite said:
I have one of these sitting next to my desk.
Haha, that's awesome! Does it make a good paperweight? jk
#17 Posted by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

Tiger Electronics were like the North Korea of gaming back in the 90s.

#18 Posted by Sargus (726 posts) -

I had an R-Zone. Still do, somewhere. I had to go into my closet with the light off in order to see the darn thing, but as a young kid who didn't know better (and who liked Tiger handhelds anyway, as they were huge at the time) I enjoyed it well enough. I mostly played Panzer Dragoon, but I also played a little Batman.

#19 Posted by allgrinzz (161 posts) -

Epic nostalgia is epic... Great read, and brought back a lot of memories. ^^

#20 Posted by ajamafalous (12007 posts) -

So, no fucking joke, that guy modeling the R-Zone is a split fucking image of me when I was like 14.

#21 Posted by critThreat (60 posts) -
@ajamafalous said:

So, no fucking joke, that guy modeling the R-Zone is a split fucking image of me when I was like 14.

Quite dashing, I must say.
#22 Posted by ajamafalous (12007 posts) -

@critThreat said:

@ajamafalous said:

So, no fucking joke, that guy modeling the R-Zone is a split fucking image of me when I was like 14.

Quite dashing, I must say.

I'll try to find a pic of me as a kid. The resemblance is uncanny. Like, I'm literally bothered by it.

#23 Posted by sirdesmond (1241 posts) -

@ajamafalous said:

@critThreat said:

@ajamafalous said:

So, no fucking joke, that guy modeling the R-Zone is a split fucking image of me when I was like 14.

Quite dashing, I must say.

I'll try to find a pic of me as a kid. The resemblance is uncanny. Like, I'm literally bothered by it.

Maybe he is a long lost brother that your parents never told you about!