TSA Advent Calendar: Day 3

And so this is Christmas, and what have we done? Asked Santa for all the latest and coolest gifts? Maybe in some futuristic wish-list you have Natal, the motion controller, a 3D TV and OnLive as must have gifts. It’s all such new and fantastic technology isn’t it? We sure have come far haven’t we? Well, not really.

That big 3D telly on your list is pretty flash right? You can play your games with your magic glasses and see them pop out right in front of you. You’re friends will be jealous! Except that you’re 22 years late to the party. 3-D WorldRunner on the NES was released in 1987 and came complete with a free pair of anaglyph glasses and 3-D mode which did indeed make the image pop out of the screen as you ran, face first, into pillars and had a hard job avoiding the “Hand Man”.

Then there’s OnLive. Steaming games from a server straight to your TV. That’s a 2009 innovation right? Well, yes, I suppose it is, but a very similar service was actually available in 1981 in the form of PlayCable for the Intellivision. The service gave it’s subscribers access to games which could be downloaded through a TV cable and was loaded into the internal memory where it would be ready to play. However, as soon as the console was switched off, the game was lost.


But it makes you think about the PSN and XBLA which are both fairly new and exciting, giving the ability to download top quality games to play on your console. Well GameLine for the Atari 2600 also featured a similar system, this time downloading through phone lines, and was also available in the early 1980s.

So the Motion Controller, Natal and the Wii. They’re still pretty nifty right? Well, motion control first entered the console market way back in 1989. I love the Power Glove. It’s so bad! The power glove was indeed very bad and was universally hated for being imprecise and having horrendous controls, but it still managed to lay down some pretty important foundations in Nintendo’s idea banks. Had it not been for the Power Glove, a truly “next gen” HD Gamecube could have been with us today.

So there are some fun facts for you! I’ve sure put you whipper-snappers and your “modern technology” back into your places eh? I hope you’re revising your wishlists as we speak. Give it a day and we may even be able to give you a hand or two with some suggestions…