If you thought Virtua Fighter in arcades and on the SEGA Saturn was as real as it could get, Tiger Electronics asks you to think again! Released in 1995, Tiger’s R-Zone (not to be confused with Pizza Hut’s P’Zone) was a portable headset and attached controller that promised a virtual reality experience, but ended up just delivering a headache. Unlike other Tiger Electronic LCD games, R-Zone took cartridges.
Each cartridge contained a transparent LCD display, projecting the game onto a mirrored surface placed just inches from the players eye. As was the norm for VR at the time, red was the color of choice. Leeching off of popular franchises to survive, the R-Zone featured Men in Black, Jurassic Park, Batman, Star Wars, and SEGA’s own Virtua Fighter. Don’t let the ad above deceive you, despite being right in your face, R-Zone’s Virtua Fighter was as far from virtual Virtua Fighter as one could get. Wait… did that kid say “brain chop”?!?
For those who thought Virtua Fighter for the R-Zone was a little too real, or a little too nauseating, there was also the standard Tiger handheld experience. In the ad above, a kid in a Tiger branded karate outfit is fighting a video screen that resembles an iPad showing footage from the original Virtua Fighter. Meanwhile, the narrator introduces the ultimate “virtual fighters”, warning that “your first move could be your last”.
As the kid continues to void his iPad’s warranty, the screen is finally beat, crashing to the floor and morphing into a Tiger handheld game. The narrator ends the ad by fudging up the games title, referring to it as “Virtual Fighters the handheld game”. Yeah Tiger, you sure did put the “L” in “Virtua Fighter”.