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R-Zone

From Sega Retro

RZone HeadGear.jpg
Fast facts on R-Zone
Manufacturer: Tiger Electronics

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The R-Zone is a handheld video game console, released by Tiger Electronics in 1995. It was Tiger's first foray into cartridge-based consoles - until this point the company were notable for dedicated LCD systems.

The R-Zone is the first of two very unsuccessful consoles developed by the company (the second being the Game.com). It was initially designed to capitalise on the "virtual reality" craze which had swept the US with Nintendo's Virtual Boy (which also is considered a failure) and the unreleased Sega VR.

Hardware

The R-Zone is essentially an LCD handheld with the capability of playing multiple games. Cartridges have a built-in screen and contain all the information needed to play the game, while the R-Zone merely gives it power, allows sound to be played and lets the user take control. Rather than rely on the greys of normal LCD displays, a red light is shone through to add contrast, and the screen is then mirrored so the user can see more clearly.

Four different R-Zones exist:

  • The R-Zone Headgear: a large contraptiom which attaches to the user's head
  • The R-Zone Super Screen: a stand-alone unit with a larger screen
  • X.P.G.: Xtreme Pocket Game: a portable unit more akin to rival consoles
  • The R-Zone Data Zone: an R-Zone paired with a data organiser

Due to Tiger's relationship with companies such as Sega, many popular intellectual properties were brought to the system in an attempt to woo consumers. However the multitude of limitations which plagued the console meant that many were left disappointed. By 1998 the handheld had been discontinued, though more "experimental" versions of the hardware disappeared during 1997.

The system is widely considered to be the worst video game console of all time, due to the red-and-black graphics and offering not much improvement over the Tiger LCD games.

Sega Games Released for the R-Zone

At least six Sega games are known to have been released on the R-Zone, including Indy 500 which acted as a launch title.

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