But I want one of them...
This is now the Fifth installment in an all-new ongoing feature by Olly023 that seeks to delve deep into the mind of a child when certain retro items were not retro, they were the hot new ticket in town!
Drawing mostly from personal thoughts, feelings and experiences of a much younger and less hairy Olly023, he seek's to bounce back to you, the readers, a sense of need and want for select hardware and software titles. Some vaporware, a few he has since obtained and others that fall between the lines.
Google Glasses suck, nowhere near enough Big Cat Action!
If you come from an extended family (such as one which has part its base in a Roman-Catholic Italian immigrant side, you New Yorkers know what I mean – or equally one built off multiple marriages outside of your parents which makes you related to half of the South of England, err, cousins you know where I am at here!?) you know what it’s like to see relatives get gifted a bunch of cool items that you yourself wish were yours. With part 5 of GOSHDANGIT I WANTS ONE, I (Olly023) shall be delving deep into that very messy pool.
Now, this could immediately equal any number of things, especially when it comes to gaming. However, it’s actually something rather specific that may have been hinted towards with my other posting(s) around the retro-based internet world. Something actually hinted, or outright noted toward with articles of my own on this very site and indeed in this very features section.
Yes, this is the much derided Tiger R-Zone that shall be taking up my writing time right here, retrobates. The R-Zone was something multiple cousins owned, something Daddy023 thought was a crappy idea and something I still do not have in my collection. #TRUEFACT, unfortunately.
Prior to the Game.Com (history/console introduction article available on here courtesy of moi, too), the R-Zone was Tiger Electronics first true foray into the idea of interchangeable cart’s for a singular device. Marketed as portable, the original R-Zone came in two parts. You had the head-worn unit (with a strap! Take that, Nintendo!) and a controller all battery-powered for further portability goodness. Technically, anyway.
Nintendo's Virtual boy wishes it looked this cool...
The carts/games went to a whole new level in terms of containing the game. As this was Tiger, the carts had their own transparent screens that were then projected via the R-Zone unit to a mirror that came over one eye, to give the full bright red, cross-eyed LCD experience. LCD experience really sums it up, as that’s what it was. Tiger obviously didn’t fancy straying too far from what they knew best, and that’s handheld LCD games. This was the next (some may say illogical) step, really. So you basically had all these pre-drawn things just awaiting to be lit up and projected in correspondence to the button-mashin’.
Of course, the R-Zone was never meant as ‘proper’ competition for the likes of the Game Boy and Game Gear, but that hasn’t stopped folk from pointing out its failure in the market place. The fact that it was even released and I wanted one is success enough for me, no matter how many bazillions of faults the budget console had. Oh and yeah, the faults were a plenty. No link-up, no volume control, etc. But none of that matters to a wide-eyed child.
Many would also argue that Tiger taking cue from Nintendo’s failed Virtual Boy was another instant cause for dismissal, but not here. I thought the Virtual Boy was cool, I liked the Tiger LCD games, so for a young Olly023 this was instantly becoming a holy grail of awesome. Yeah, that’s right, the same guy pining over Neo Geo’s and Saturn’s was also a desperate fan of the Tiger R-Zone. Deal with it!
From day one, I think my parents saw it as something rather dumb and short-sighted. But it didn’t discourage lil Olly023, oh heck nawww!!
The day everything became worse was a standard Sunday morning, when Daddy023 took my younger self around the grandparents’ house. As what was fairly frequent, a couple of my cousins were there, too. However, this time it was a bit different. As darn it, they were rocking the R-Zone! Now, Olly023 gets hype-hype. As soon as that disgusting bleeping came pouring through the house and I saw my cousin sat with left eye closed, it was like love at first sight. This wonderful mess, I needed it!
The Judge's decision is final, motion denied!
Thankfully, I got to play it. Not ‘til after my father, though, who gave his typically blunt explanation that it was “shit” (the same he gave toward the Virtual Boy following five minutes of Mario Tennis, no less; so at least the consoles had an average score if people want to compare). The game in particular was the wonderful ‘KICK, PUNCH, JUMP’ that was Batman Forever, clearly a game surpassing the film itself. I thought the thing was pure magic. In fact, the projection properties of the unit just served to further astound a young Olly023. Literally, coolest thing ever. That was the mind-set of moi. Also, would bring things kinda full circle when the first game I played on the Game.Com was Batman & Robin. Transbot bless Tiger.
Ultimately with Daddy023’s official hardware review out of the way and being a lesser favoured child of the extended family (happens until your grandfather discovers that you have more than a base interest in cars, funnily enough; yet even though I’m the one with the degree this is mostly still the case, but don’t pity me, I have a grandma too who more than makes up for any wrong-doing over the years with ultimate spoilage simply for being a boy…WIN).
The Tiger R-Zone never came into my possession. In fact, even on my own proverbial dime, it still remains a portable console outside of my collection. Shame, that. It is a thing I would love to rectify in the future, which would probably have sixteen reviews of games come piling through which’ll drive Megatrons_Fury insane to attempt to nab screenshots for. I’m like that. I’m awesome, etc.
Despite the lack of overall success with the R-Zone, it did spawn a couple of pretty cool handheld-specific console revisions, one of which that brought a larger projected screen with COLOUR~! (sort of). For the entry-level collector enthusiasts among y’all, the R-Zone family would probably be a good go-to. There’s a decent library of games, mostly licensed and many can be found in their original blister packs from new-old stockists. So, go snap it up. But leave some for me, as I still need one.
Olly's Final Thoughts...
The Tiger R-Zone was an odd piece of tech from the year that Diesel ruled the world that I wanted badly, witnessed cousins relish (and likely throw by the way side weeks later, likely meaning it was covered in dust, scratches and half-broken before chucked about a year down the line – sadface) and Daddy023 disregard.
None of the negatives could ever outweigh the one positive of the R-Zone, though. That positive? I thought it was awesome. I wanted it, I still want it and if anyone’s reading and fancies giving me theirs? YES PLEASE.
Until next time? Olly023…OUT!