The Story of Virtuality | Nostalgia Nerd

24 aug 2019
324 863 visningar

Ever since I laid eyes on these wondrous cyberpunk like machines in the 90s, I was captivated. Huge pod like booths, connected to massive, bright headsets seemed like the future; Virtual Reality seemed like the future. In a way it was, because W Industries and Virtuality created something pretty staggering for the 90s. Here was VR which worked, it was immersive and even better, it was affordable, meaning arcades, leisure centres and theme parks were quick to get their own pods installed. So join me on a personal quest of enthralment, as I look at the company and machines behind the original Virtual Reality boom of the 1990s.
Useful links;
Octav1us' SEworld:
Retro Computer Museum Leicester:
Simon's Retro VR Page:
Virtuosity Systems:
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Many thanks to Simon Marston for providing a huge swathe of resources and archive information, as well as providing access to his incredible Virtuality systems.
Further information:
Zero Hour Footage:
Sega's Collab:
VR Numbers:
2000 specs:
News article:
VR Timeline:
Historical account of Virtuality:
Kotaku account:
Story outline:
VR User Discussion:
If you believe I have forgotten to attribute anything in this video, please let me know, so I can add the source in. It takes time to make these videos and therefore it can be easy to forget things or make a mistake.

  • Fantastic documentary, thank you for collecting all those scraps of footage and info in one place - I got here trying to find out what was "Plague" using in the 1995 film "Hackers"... I am now even more impressed with what could be achieved with Amiga 30 years ago - tried my daughter's Oculus and thought: "this is not a biggie these days, with this msi hairdryer-of-a-laptop of hers...but these were machines with 1000x less memory and cycles! Hats off. BTW: Wish you captured the games in a SBS format, so we could enjoy the actual 3D experience! :-)

    LoftBitsLoftBitsDag sedan
  • man this makes me feel old.

  • Played this at in the 1990s (the stand up "ring" unit), people were lining up for hours! Would be another 20 years before I was back in a virtual world :p 10:54

    31mellum31mellum2 dagar sedan
  • It shows the hopeful technology the eighties and nineties are now in production and Air Force planes the helmet cost pretty close to a half a million dollars but they can see through the aircraft like they're flying with nothing around them

    Frank MarburgerFrank Marburger7 dagar sedan
  • Yes and pretty much today the military VR helmets or a direct result of VR 3D

    Frank MarburgerFrank Marburger7 dagar sedan
  • Me: Still has a Cyvisor

    FrikinOSMFrikinOSM7 dagar sedan
  • I find it cool how Ivan Sutherland appears in a ton of computer graphics and hardware history, like the Sutherland Beetle, and his early computer drawing program that I honestly cannot remember.. We have a lot of things that he should be thanked for to this day IMHO.

    EdwardAnimationsEdwardAnimations12 dagar sedan
  • It would be good if you could do a parallel video to this showing how the use of VR in industry evolved during that time and beyond, because although the fashion for VR within consumer markets was always a rather rocky affair, within industrial fields (especially medical, engineering, etc.) it saw significant use. I can provide some example references, but a good start would be Linda Jacobson's video from 1996 (though I'm sure there was much already going on many years before that): I was sysadmin at a VR research centre from 2000 to 2003 (Salford University NICVE) which had the first CAVE in the UK; here's me testing out an engineering application called COVISE: I was of course seeing a proper 3D image via the motion-tracked CrystalEyes glasses (the controller wand was tracked aswell), as opposed to the double image an ordinary observer sees, plus the projected screens were optically adjusted to blend the seams together, so one couldn't see the wall/floor seams of the cubicle, and note the flickering is just an artefact of the recording camera. The Salford centre was using the CAVE and other VR tech to conduct research in medical, industrial, social and other fields, including urban planning, surgical analysis, enhancing training for industrial environments and even helping children cope with bullying at school. The centre still exists but of course the tech has long since moved on from the SGIs I was in charge of back then: From car design, GIS and visual simulation to space science and medical training & analysis, the use of VR in commercial, industrial and defense sectors has a long history, it's just that the public has generally never been much aware of it. I know for example that Hyundai used VR to help design their cars in the early 2000s because I advised them on the most appropriate system to use.

    mapesdhsmapesdhs12 dagar sedan
  • Title: When VR was 20 frames per second Me: Cries in DCS at 15 frames per second in CV1 in 2020

    Rainbow DashRainbow Dash14 dagar sedan
  • These were demonstrated at my small college in Bangor Maine at the time in the early 1990's, and after giving it a try, I was interviewed for the college newspaper about the experience. When I mentioned how "trippy" it was thanks to the fact that some of the hippies that were involved in the CIA's mass drugging mind control experiment MK-ULTRA, were involved in development of the technology, she got very agitated, exclaimed "there's NO WAY I can use this!!!" and erased the interview. If you'd like to see some of the research on that

    Fredrick LaverdiereFredrick Laverdiere14 dagar sedan
  • 14:34 looks like the inner of a combine helmet

    Flavia TransFlavia Trans14 dagar sedan
  • OMG also played Flying Aces!

    Sjoer van der PloegSjoer van der Ploeg14 dagar sedan
    • I might still have it in my garage lol

      Sjoer van der PloegSjoer van der Ploeg14 dagar sedan
    • There used to be this PCI card where you could hook up shutter glasses and some gun

      Sjoer van der PloegSjoer van der Ploeg14 dagar sedan
  • I wonder how possible it is to hook this up to a modern PC and get it working with SteamVR

    ninjacat230ninjacat23014 dagar sedan
  • I used one of those old school VR sets at a science museum when I was about 12 in the mid 90s.

    Zach SmithZach Smith15 dagar sedan
  • Star Wars Squadrons currently has an unpatched bug that makes VR run in 30fps while lying to frame rate monitoring software.

    Derek MooreDerek Moore16 dagar sedan
  • I played this and it was the one with excessive gravity when you shoot. Think it was fall of 1992.

    Omega MarkOmega Mark17 dagar sedan
  • 13:15 Young Elon Musk ;)

    Omega MarkOmega Mark17 dagar sedan
  • Who's the charming lady in the video? :)

    phobos2077phobos207717 dagar sedan
  • I remember hearing from friends about playable Doom VR full with a shock vest as early as 1996. I didn't believe those rumors for many years :)

    phobos2077phobos207717 dagar sedan
  • Ah the Video game crash, something we did not have in the good old UK. The old home Computer held us through nicely.

    GonzoGonzo18 dagar sedan
  • Ok but the music at 12:11 tho

    KTVX.94KTVX.9419 dagar sedan
  • 26:43 "Tostesterone" :D

    BuddhaBuddha19 dagar sedan
  • I can't wait for a parody of this with a crotch headset (central armor piece).

    WellBeSerious12WellBeSerious1219 dagar sedan
  • does anyone think the vacancy for the wizard is still available?

    martin burnsmartin burns19 dagar sedan
  • 20:43 oh hey, it’s a clip from (the short lived) Click VHS Magazine’s trip to the Trocadero.

    Shiroi HaneShiroi Hane20 dagar sedan
  • I hope it’s okay for me to say Mrs.Nostalgia is THICC

    Mantis Toboggan, M.D.Mantis Toboggan, M.D.21 dag sedan
  • That woman really had some big self harm scars

    Alistair WalshAlistair Walsh21 dag sedan
  • You should have made this a VR video!

    TheEeveeLoversTheEeveeLovers22 dagar sedan
  • "get a pterodactyl"

    Marc Angelo ChiapcoMarc Angelo Chiapco22 dagar sedan
  • man i hate commerce, what a horrorshow

    Rob81kRob81k24 dagar sedan
  • wait you played that old vr? wtf how?

    Corona VirusCorona Virus24 dagar sedan
  • do you work for ign you sound just like the uk ign dude

    Corona VirusCorona Virus24 dagar sedan
  • I actually got to use one of these virtuality headsets back in the day. It was at a Disney park, either Epcot or Tomorrowland in Anaheim (I went to CA one year and FL the next Monday by chance, can't remember which). They had it set up in one of their innoventions type expo centers and it was that roller coaster demo. I never saw these in the wild as arcade machine and so didn't play anything interactive, but I remember the rollercoaster melted my little brain. My dad was unimpressed, though TBH he gets bad sea sickness so he was probably just nauseous.

    KevinKevin25 dagar sedan
  • I remember playing in the stand up unit several years ago.

    ArkOfAgesArkOfAgesMånad sedan
  • I hope that one day, most of the other games will be recreated on modern VR devices, as well!

    WadelDeeWadelDeeMånad sedan
  • This video would have been cool if the yt3d tag still existed! I would have liked to see these stereoscopic images in 3D!

    WadelDeeWadelDeeMånad sedan
  • I was at a virtuality center here in Chicago many ages ago

    Rafal RusilowiczRafal RusilowiczMånad sedan
  • Wish the Nintendo vr was thrown into the mix. For the price and style of game design it worked very well. I used mine until it broke. Wish I would have kept it to restore as I got older

    ComtechComtechMånad sedan
  • I played dactyl nightmare back then in Florida

    Kev711 2001Kev711 2001Månad sedan
  • 1:27 wow, what happened to that lady's arm? did she lose a fight with a grinder?

    Issac ClarkeIssac ClarkeMånad sedan
  • Saw the original Virtuality machine with Dactyl Nightmare back on the show 'GamesMaster'. Probably like many here I bet. Blew my mind too. Had wanted to try it so much back in the day.

    EckEckMånad sedan
  • I worked on and with both the standup and sit down Virtuality VR systems from 91-93! I worked for Edison Brothers in their entertainment division called Exhilarama. I literally spent days and weeks playing, using and doing minor repairs of these machines. I had the high score on kills in 3 minutes on Dactyl Nightmare! What a blast from the past!! THANK YOU FOR THIS VIDEO!!! Edit: we had a fully functional version of Legend Quest that was installed but wasn’t available to the general public to play. I got to spend hours playing that one as well!

    700 Megabytes700 MegabytesMånad sedan
  • Disney had some cool VR attractions at DisneyQuest in Orlando. A comics based one where you swung a lightsabre at enemies while in a fast moving vehicle and an Aladdin themed magic carpet ride. Another one I liked (that didn’t use the helmet) was a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction where you ride a boat shooting cannons and you are almost completely surrounded by screen. But my FAVORITE attraction was where you and three friends pilot a giant mechanical spider to rescue colonists on an alien world. So incredible!

    Greg's Game RoomGreg's Game RoomMånad sedan
  • I Want A Modern VR Headset With Some Of These Old Games.

    Seamus QuainSeamus QuainMånad sedan
  • the 1000cs is the one i tried out back in the 90s. i was at the blaze fest in chicago, it was around 92 or 93 i think. my mom and brother took me there to see 20 rock bands plus the band kiss and david lee roth was signing autographs. the vr thing was cool. i had to stay inside the ring and just shoot at stuff. at the time, it was pretty damn cool.

    southweststrangla420southweststrangla420Månad sedan
  • ...the story of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

    benlogan100benlogan100Månad sedan
  • First time I seen VR was in the movie Disneys first kid when he was in the Mall

    Saul GarciaSaul GarciaMånad sedan
  • We had reading material that told stories about how VR was going to change the world and how it'd be widely implemented soon. That was the early 90s I guess...

    Damaged Provider ModuleDamaged Provider ModuleMånad sedan
  • I feel like I need to be watching this on a virtual cinema on my Oculus Rift.

    Jesse LeppertJesse LeppertMånad sedan
  • love the video..i remember when i was about 8 years old i was at a fair they had a vr set was duke nukem moved with a controller but everytime you wanted to jump you actually jumped

    Saberwind45871Saberwind45871Månad sedan
  • I remember trying Virtuality at a big store called "Incredible Universe" many, many years ago

    opelizeopelizeMånad sedan
  • I had a chance to try the Virtuality when I was about 12. They had a video game expo at "Incredible Universe." That helmet was huge on my tiny child head but my friend and I had fun playing against each other.

    Youngie761Youngie761Månad sedan
  • I feel like that in order to get vr to the point that it's fully emersive, we'd have to be directly connected to the machine not with visual and audio peripherals but with a plug or probably at first when electrodes directly wired into the senses.

    DJ GamingDJ GamingMånad sedan
  • Who is the lovely thicc lass with the juicy hips?

    Nitronium BloodNitronium BloodMånad sedan
  • Nerd! Was that you with that magnificent beard? You remind me of the lads from Kuma software back in the day! :)

    Marc DracoMarc DracoMånad sedan
  • Power glove was everything

    Ze Do TelhadoZe Do TelhadoMånad sedan
  • That girl in black trying out the different headsets looked pretty cute!

    Jorge LopezJorge LopezMånad sedan
  • 26:44 "tostesterone" lol :D

    outseekeroutseekerMånad sedan
  • Cutting edge technology and Maggie Philbin's crooked teeth LOL 7:17

    Michael AllisonMichael AllisonMånad sedan
  • I was at an Arkansas mall with my grandma as a kid back in the 90s and we came across a storefront (not kiosk) that was being occupied by Virtuality. They had one machine and were almost completely empty, it was like 5 bucks to have a go with the machine and I begged and begged until she agreed to let me try it once. It was some mech game and I died pretty quickly but the whole thing was intriguing? I guess? I still preferred arcades, I was a HUGE arcade fanatic back then

    EriumEriumMånad sedan
  • I got to use a 1000cs back in the day. I don't remember much though

    where's the jump buttonwhere's the jump buttonMånad sedan
  • Who noticed the TR-707 drums in the intro music?

    Jack and Jill MarleyJack and Jill Marley2 månader sedan
  • Great mini VR documentary, and awesome job capturing the video. Never knew about these units, but they are 90s as heck.

    Nathan CNathan C2 månader sedan

    Jose VelezJose Velez2 månader sedan
  • I actually tried one of those massive vr headsets at an arcade in Weston super mare. It was a bit shit but the idea stayed with me. I think I was flying a biplane. 2000ad had a wicked storyline using Atari videogames as the virtual/real environment. I really enjoyed this trip down memory lane, cheers ears.

    tryand makacrumbletryand makacrumble2 månader sedan
  • Really interesting video! My local movie theater in the '90s and early 2000s had one of those massive, bulky VR units for some kind of arcade FPS game. I never got a chance to try it, though.

    ThepopcornatorThepopcornator2 månader sedan
  • So, did virtuality devices cause motion sickness?

    James NeaveJames Neave2 månader sedan
    • Yes. They did!

      Nostalgia NerdNostalgia Nerd2 månader sedan
  • I remember going to the mall in like 1996 and paid $8 to play Duke Nukem 3d in VR. It was this big platform you stood on and you would turn your body to turn your view and look up and down to do that. You would walk by tilting your hand controller down. It was hard to control but it was pretty cool for what it was.

    Nate RushlowNate Rushlow2 månader sedan
  • Bought HTC vive in 2016. Really was amazing but slowly died, until HL Alyx was released. Now I use it atleast sometimes every week due it works much better than before with more stable software (almost never any issue with base station and controllers). Anyway, thanks for a great video, never knew VR was that "advance" back in 90s (mostly only new about Virtual Boy). Edit: Forgot to mention I did played and finished Fallout 4 VR which was quite good for VR. Played it at night when my new born daughter where asleep.

    FearkFeark2 månader sedan
  • Thank you.

    Fergustine FeartFergustine Feart2 månader sedan
  • Ball-guards FTW

    IAmGrootIAmGroot2 månader sedan
  • I went to a VR arcade in 1992, it blew me away, same systems, they had several and charged quite a bit for a few minutes time, but it was nothing short of amazing for the time.

    KrezickKrezick2 månader sedan
  • @1:27 Cutting...... thank god that stayed in the 90’s. (Unlike VR)

    John DJohn D2 månader sedan
  • 9:10 "A Large, Unspecified, Leisure Company." AKA the Porn Industry. 😅🤣

    Nothing NewNothing New2 månader sedan
  • Could we see the rest of the captured footage? I can't find it anywhere, and it seems there should be an archive of gameplay somewhere.

    cyrex686cyrex6862 månader sedan
  • Why do you put fake scanlines on everything? So annoying.

    Dorky BigDorky Big2 månader sedan
  • My neck hurts just looking at that monstrosity.

    GregGreg2 månader sedan
  • I remember being 8 or 9 and playing the ghost train game at my local arcade. It was unbelievable at the time

    Jake CampbellJake Campbell2 månader sedan
  • I still think back fondly onto the time I spent using a demonstration VR headset at COMDEX Atlanta, Georgia. I stood in line for hours to play on it. Then stuck around for hours more to enjoy other people trying to top my best time and score. Nobody had for at least that day. I had wanted to try the VR consoles at places like Dave & Busters but their cost for so little game time was always too steep for me. And so it remains to this day. A richer man's hobby.

    IraQNidIraQNid2 månader sedan
  • Whats with these anoying fake CRT interlaced lines on archive footage?

    Darren BannisterDarren Bannister2 månader sedan
  • Is it better now? It’s not much better now with PlayStation VR super low res screens and still bulky and complicated headset. Escaping our lives with all this would be great if we couldn’t come back to our world and just stay there where we choose.

    LavalambtronLavalambtron2 månader sedan
  • I'm surprised nobody's tried to capitalize on porting all those old-school VR games to SteamVR in some kind of remastered HD collection letting you switch between the retro graphics and modern graphics similar to the Master Chief Halo Collection. I'd love to give those games a go on my Valve Index. Also surprised this company hasn't been revived to make SteamVR compatible headsets for home use. Note: Live action characters projected into a 3D world shows up a lot in Cyan Worlds games but they've mostly moved on to using 3d rendered characters instead because they look better. The only exception being in the VR game Obduction which uses them on holographic displays dispersed throughout the game environments.

    Vanessa KindellVanessa Kindell2 månader sedan
  • where is legend quest!!!! Was looking to see more about that! Awesome video tho!

    James DJames D2 månader sedan
  • 'Jaggyar' lmao

    Chris ReyesChris Reyes2 månader sedan
  • Are the lines across the screen just artifacts of the videos are they added effects?

    BruhBruh2 månader sedan
  • what the heck is going on with her arm at 1:25 is she a cutter? looks like she got in a knife fight

    Colin SevierColin Sevier2 månader sedan
  • It was overpriced then and it's overpriced now. I can buy exotic women from distant lands for less, and they even cook and clean. :) Show me a VR system that can do that, hmm? Oh, but exotic women from distant lands don't offer a first person shooter option, I hear you say? Ever hear of paintball? And it's real exercise, not just virtual eye strain.

    TacDyneTacDyne2 månader sedan
  • "when vr was 20 frames per second" *cries in oculus quest*

    Jack JamesJack James2 månader sedan
  • And vr flops again...

    DO YOU WANT SLI???DO YOU WANT SLI???2 månader sedan
  • I only watched this because I saw those scars a mile off all too well. Still have nightmares about that road well traveled...

    slinkyfpvslinkyfpv2 månader sedan
  • The one that really blew my mind back in the day wasn't the VR machine. It was an arcade cabinet that put 3D holograms on it. The one I played had a time traveling cowboy and played a lot like the old Don Bluthe game (Dragons Lair & Space Ace.)

    Deviant AffinityDeviant Affinity2 månader sedan
  • Mind blowing as the tech was, the old VR systems were clunky puke machines that absolutely killed any and all chances for any real feeling of immersion.

    Deviant AffinityDeviant Affinity2 månader sedan
  • I remember playing Mortal Kombat clone in VR at the local mini-golf arcade. The Scorpion knock offs finishing love was making me puke all over the really expensive machine. Needless to say, the manager was none to happy.

    Deviant AffinityDeviant Affinity2 månader sedan
  • 3D glasses in the movie theaters have been around long before the 80s. Like, 30 years longer.

    Deviant AffinityDeviant Affinity2 månader sedan
  • i REALLY want to see this old Virtuality hardware emulated! that would be so amazing

    DickBurnsDickBurns2 månader sedan
  • 43:49 Anyone know what that octagonal thing is to his right?

    John Z.John Z.2 månader sedan
  • Interesting, really powerful bit of kit.......very innovative......"consisted of an Amiga 3000motherboard"..........right sod it I am out of here.....sincerely an Atari ST Fan Boy.

    Anthony WaltonAnthony Walton2 månader sedan
  • 19:01 spectrum holobyte? Where have I heard that name before? Oh wait. Didnt they try to sell tetris before he got the rights Also 22:28 I remember watching that episode of red dwarf on Netflix it was so funny even today

    Memeicus GamingMemeicus Gaming2 månader sedan
  • I have tried it in the 90's and i have to say, the VR today is not much different. Like i said before... it's only the screens in it that needed upgrade and the computers needed also upgrades. VR exists for soooo long.

    ProgjeProgje2 månader sedan
  • Vrchat still drops down to 20fps a lot

    Mistress ArisuMistress Arisu2 månader sedan