Actions

Activator

From Sega Retro

Sega Activator.jpg
Fast facts on the Activator
Manufacturer: Interactive Light
Made for: Sega Mega Drive, Sega System 32
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade
JP
1993-08 Media:EGM US 051.pdf[1] ¥?  ?
Sega Mega Drive
US
1993-11 Media:GamePro US 052.pdf[2] $79.95 Media:GamePro US 052.pdf[2]  ?
Sega Mega Drive
BR
199x R$?  ?


The Activator is a full-body motion based video game controller unit released by Sega. It is an octagonal controller unit which sits on the floor and uses infra-red beams to interpret movements. It was revealed for both the Sega Mega Drive console and Sega System 32 arcade system in August 1993. On the Mega Drive, it was intended to act as a more immersive substitute for a standard control pad. In the arcades, it was used for the fighting game Dragon Ball Z V.R.V.S., which used extra sensors for better motion detection.

Mega Drive

The Activator was created at a time where many video game companies were investing in virtual reality, perceived at the time to be the future of gaming. However, for the most part, virtual reality was considered to be too expensive to produce in homes at the time, so products such as the Activator were produced instead. The Activator was developed by Interactive Light for Sega, and was also brought to Brazil by Tec Toy. It was based on a musical instrument called the "Light Harp", conceived by musician and martial artist Asaf Gurner.

The Activator comes in eight segments, which when fitted together creates an octagonal ring which is designed to be placed on a floor. Each section of the Activator fires a beam of light upwards, and the player stands inside the octagon, "punching" and "kicking" to break the light beams and sending signals to the Mega Drive console in the process. The Activator is effectively a glorified control pad, with Left, Up, Right, Down, A, B, C and Start buttons mapped to each of the eight segments.

Sega of America marketed the Activator as a martial arts simulator, claiming that it improved the experience of fighting games such as Eternal Champions (one of the few games designed around the peripheral). Initial reactions were positive, with Electronic Gaming Monthly claiming that it improved the experience for games like Streets of Rage 2, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II': Special Champion Edition.Media:EGM US 051.pdf[3] However, many argued the reverse was true - many games such as Mortal Kombat and Comix Zone are considered to be more difficult to play with an Activator, and many games which rely on fast reactions are not suitable for this style of control scheme at all. Furthermore the light beams are easily distorted by a non-flat ceiling or obstructions such as beams of a ceiling fan or light fixture. As a result, the Activator did not see much commercial success and was retired mere months after launch.

Promotional material

Physical scans

Mega Drive, US
SegaActivator US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, BR
Activator MD BR Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngActivator MD BR Box Front.jpg
Cover

References

  1. File:EGM US 051.pdf, page 222
  2. 2.0 2.1 File:GamePro US 052.pdf, page 204
  3. File:EGM US 051.pdf, page 60

External links

Sega Mega Drive Hardware
Console Variations Japan | North America | Europe | Brazil | Asia | South Korea | Australia

EZ Games | Heartbeat Personal Trainer | LaserActive | Mega Jet | Mega PC | Mega Play | Mega-Tech System | Nomad | Teradrive

Add-ons Mega-CD (Multi-Mega | Wondermega | CSD-G1M) | 32X (Mega-CD 32X)

Demo System DS-16 | ERX 308P | ERX 318P| Master Mega Converter | MD 8bit Converter | Mega/Master Adaptor | Mega-CD Karaoke | Mega Modem | Nomad PowerBack | Power Base Converter | Pro MegaMaster | Sprobe | Super Magic Drive

Controllers Control Pad | Six Button Control Pad | 6 Button Arcade Pad | Arcade Power Stick 6B | Konami Justifier | MK-1470

Action Chair | Activator | Arcade Power Stick | Keyboard | MegaFire | Mouse | Mega Stick | Menacer | Remote Arcade System | Ten Key Pad

Network Services Sega Channel | Sega Meganet (Sega Game Toshokan) | Tectoy Mega Net | Telebradesco Residência | XB∀ND
Misc. Hardware 4 Way Play | Action Replay | Cartridge Caddy | Cartridge Soft Pak | Cleaning System | Control Pad Extension Cord | Double Pro Fighter | Everdrive MD | Game Cartridge Organizer | Game Genie | Game Wizard | Genipak | Genesis Speakers | Interceptor Mega Disk | Magicard | Region converter cartridges | Mega Everdrive | Mega Anser | Mega Terminal | Miracle Piano Teaching System | Multi Game Hunter | Power Plug | Megaverter | RetroGen | RF Unit (Mega Drive 2) | SCART Cable (Mega Drive 2) | Sega Power Strip | Stereo Audio Video Cable | StuntMaster | Super Multi-play | Team Player | Tototek MD-Pro | Video Game Organizer | Video Entertainment Center | Video Entertainment Cabinet | Video Monitor Cable
Unreleased Hardware Floppy Disk Drive | Video Jukebox
Consoles on a Chip

Arcade Legends Sega Mega Drive | Mega Drive Volume II‎ | Mega Drive Volume 3 | Street Fighter II': Special Champion Edition‎ | Menacer | OutRun 2019 | Sensible Soccer Plus

Arcade Blast | Arcade Classic | Arcade Master | Arcade Motion Classic | Arcade Motion Dual | Arcade Nano Series | Arcade Portable | Arcade Ultimate | Genesis Gencore | GenMobile | Mega Drive Twin Pads

Mega Drive 3 (2007) | Mega Drive 3 (2008) | Mega Drive 4

Mega Drive 3 (2000) | Micro Drive | Sega Zone