There are certain gaming consoles that one can almost immediately tell are destined to fail, simply based off their poor design. Tiger Electronics’ first incarnation of the R-Zone, the Headgear model, is a perfect example of such a device. One glance at the R-Zone should already indicate as to how awkward, and simply idiotic the console appears when worn. It can only be left to speculation, what exactly the creators were thinking when they set out to manufacture perhaps, the most horrendous handheld device in video game history.
Tiger Electronics’ original R-Zone was released in 1995, and marked the company’s first venture into the handheld console market. The device’s “unique” initial design can be attributed to the designer’s attempt at creating a portable console which functioned and appeared similar to Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. Unfortunately, Tiger Electronics based the R-Zone on a console which ultimately ended up failing and becoming quite unpopular. To say the least, it certainly didn’t help the device’s already dismal chances.
The handheld consisted of a headband with a LCD screen extension attached at the center. Its display was fitted so that it would hang over the right eye, but was so small that users would have to strain their eyes just to perceive the game they were playing. The graphics appeared in red and black, similar to the virtual boy, but worse in quality. Needless to say, it was an unpleasant and painful gaming experience for any individual unfortunate enough to have used one.
The R-Zone’s initial price was $30, and games went for around $20. There also existed a surprisingly large library of games, considering the short lifespan of the device. After the original console, Tiger Electronics released two vastly improved versions of the R-Zone; the Superscreen and Xtreme Pocket Game. Unfortunately, these new models arrived far too late to salvage the handheld’s reputation, and saw dismal success when finally released.
Tiger R-Zone Commerical