Editorial for special issue on interactive virtual environments for serious games
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For much of the general public, ‘Virtual Reality’ is almost synonymous with ‘gaming’. In the early 1990s, gamers would pay premium prices to experience VR in the arcade, using the systems produced by the Virtuality Group, such as the 1000CS and 1000SD. These machines, which cost upwards of 60,000$ at the time, were for many people the first taste of virtual reality.
It is hardly an exaggeration to say, however, that the overall experience of these machines was not that impressive. 3D rendering technology had not yet reached the level of maturity and realism required; and game design was not yet aware of the specific challenges presented by virtual reality (particularly with regards to camera movement and motion sickness).
The disappointing experience provided by such machines, along with other relative failures of the time such as Nintendo’s VirtualBoy, and the Sega VR headset, meant that VR gradually faded from the public view; only really being kept alive in academic circles (and...