Press release: 1994-04-01:Sega's Wild Ride

From Sega Retro

This is an unaltered copy of a press release, for use as a primary source on Sega Retro. Please do not edit the contents below.
Language: English
Original source:

I STRAPPED MYSELF down with seven other folks inside the AS-1 Virtual Ride Motion Theater System, Sega's most recent entry in the synthetic-digital world of "location-based" virtual reality entertainment systems. Our pod door was sealed and Commander Michael Jackson (Mr. Thriller himself) appeared on the windshield-sized screen and gave us our operating instructions - this was a training mission, in cooperation with an earth- orbiting space station. I was in awe. The instructions were too quick. I grabbed my controls. None of us were prepared, but the launch ensued. We fumbled with our controls as the AS-1's underpinnings - a bed of powerful hydraulics - jolted us back with simulated g-force and tossed our bellies through our bug-eyes, the jerking repercussions perfectly timed to the images projected on the screen before us.

We careened from the launch tube, tumbled earthward, regained control, and sailed into the calm of deep space to continue our training. This, of course, was interrupted by a fierce attack upon our vessel. After we destroyed the malicious invaders, the computer rated our performance, and the fellow in seat number six was promoted to captain. Our landing was now his responsibility. He goofed, and the climactic quivers of our final crash to Earth were impeccable.

Screams of panic and triumph were shared among crew mates. Ultimately though, an intense "we're in this thing together" type of camaraderie emerged - which never happened for me in the traditional gogglehead-VR configurations.

The AS-1 currently has two laserdisc-driven interactive "ride-film" titles. The one I tried was "Scramble Training." The other, which looks equally as engaging, is "Muggo." Both employ the dazzling special effects wizardry of Douglas Trumbull, whose effects in movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind have helped define the aesthetics of the future.

Though at press time Sega would not announce locations, expect the AS-1 at your local amusement parks and high-end entertainment arcades very soon - Spiros Antonopoulos

Sega Enterprises: +1 (415) 802 3100.