In the early 1990s, even though hardly anyone had experienced it, virtual reality was a thing. A huge one
Inside Google’s Slow-Mo Virtual Reality Moonshot
Steven Levy
3215

We weren’t dreaming.

Disney and Universal Studios had VR experiences — 10 minutes for $100+.

You could look down and see your “arms” holding the magic carpet as you flew through some Arabian back alleys as Aladdin.

You could wander on a complex trackball treadmill in a closed, Running Man style arena with what looked like a corkgun, carefully walking around obstacles and shooting your cork at Lawnmower Man-esque avatars.

Then it all went away.

Entire kits with “3 Dimensional gaming glasses” were liquidated for a few hundred dollars, including random, incomplete games to play.

I came so close to spending hard-earned summer chore savings on one. Surely this could not be the same mind-melting equipment? Off to landfills they went, buried next to the fabled ET Nintendo cartridges and later joined by Virtual Boys, and Atari Jaguars.

Like a techno-fashion cycle, we’ve figured out a better fit, materials, experience. It’s been oversold and overhyped, yet brings us back to analyzing reality again. In creating a virtual version with greater freedoms, we become aware of the limitations and injustices of our physical and current world.

The VR winter was not in vain.