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Virtual Reality: Insights from the 90’s

Your Creative's virtual reality think-tank workshop kicks off next week, offering a chance for great minds to brainstorm, build & create. With this exciting chapter about to begin the team spent time debating the historical blunders of virtual reality.

  • So what is VR?

    Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment that lets you experience a different reality.”

    Virtual reality is built through a combination of computer coding, 3D modelling, animation and/or 360 imagery. As always, there are those sceptical about what the future holds for virtual reality but put simply, from us to you, VR is about to change the way we interact. And by interaction we mean in the broadest sense – interacting with media, processes within design industries, entertainment, education, retail, the list really is endless.


    “If the internet’s purpose was to communicate information, virtual reality’s is to communicate experience.”

    Nearly 20 years on, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane to show you what the optimistic 90’s Walkman user’s were envisioning for our new virtually-taped reality.

    Virtual Reality during the “The Walkman Era”

    While fresh off the block 90’s kids were pacing the street with their tapes, virtual reality was already being tested and predictions made of its impact. The terminology is often dark and ominous describing a new era upon us, coming very, very soon. The question remains, why are we a decade and a half later than expected? Firstly, the technology just wasn’t there – Nintendo’s ‘Virtual Boy’ headset that was released in 1995 failed dramatically after giving it’s excitable users extensive headaches. Secondly, the consumer market wasn’t ready for the technology, especially with a lack of availability of affordable , reliable equipment.


    vrnews1Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 1.04.51 pm

    Newspaper Extracts from 1990 – 1995 (Sydney Morning Herald, NY Times)

    Users could envision VR usage beyond gaming

    Trolling through the archives of The Ghost’s of VR’s past it becomes clear that the Walkman users could see a virtual future beyond killing zombies and fighting lions.



    Newspaper Extracts from 1990 – 1995 (Canberra Times, NY Times)


    YC’s digital natives thought that a successful VR market would be largely based of the success of the smartphone. Not only has the smartphone provided us with high-level technology to apply to the virtual world, it also opened the door to real innovation. In the last five years people have started to view their handheld device not as a mobile telephone but as a vessel of possibility. With virtual reality, the user and inventors alike both jump into the marketplace knowing that the device will span beyond it’s classical function as we all begin a continuous search for alternative purposes.


    Old School VR wasn’t far-off Samsung Gear

    We really don’t want to bag-out the Samsung Gear, it’s a great cost-effective virtual reality headset but take a moment to appreciate this early 1990’s VR prototype in comparison to the mighty Samsung Gear. This level of similarity poses a question to designers and developers – have we a long way to go with VR? Will one day we look back and laugh at the Samsung Gear much like when you see a picture of the first mobile devices? Most probably, absolutely yes.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.59.38Samsung-GearVR-2015-1

    In case you’re still a skeptic, a last minute pick me up from the great mind’s of the 90’s creators ‘The Bone Fone’…


    Watch this space for Your Creative’s Virtual project updates #YCVirtualWorkshop

    Thanks to Trove Newspaper archive for the resources.

    Posted on August 9, 2016 Digital Wisdom By Lauren Crystal
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