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December 2015 Retro Gaming Article

December 2, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Verizon was giving away BB-8 Google Cardboard- a free competitor to Mattel's View Master VR

vintage Atari sales During my commute to work, I heard a morning DJ talking about an offer at Verizon stores that caught my attention. They are apparently giving out Star Wars themed Google Cardboard VR viewers. The main component is your smart phone, but this holds it and creates a simple environment for trying out virtual reality apps - like Cardboard.

I've seen many offers for free Google Cardboard VR viewers, but have yet to find one that will actually send the device as promised. I've tried. After a brief chat with a Verizon rep - leading me to believe my 2-year-old phone is just as good as the newer model - I walked out with a BB-8 themed cardboard VR... thing.

Verizon Stores Distributing STar Wars Themed Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard Verizon was giving away Star Wars themed Google Cardboard units today. They didn't seem to be promoting anything VR related. People were taking the boxes off
Google Cardboard The box is branded with the Star Wars The Force Awakens release date and the Verizon logo.

Mattel's View Master goes VR

vintage Atari sales Having grown up with a blocky red View Master and a stack of photo reels, I've been looking at Mattel's update, the View Master VR. I bought my son a SpongeBob View Master several years ago and was thinking of upgrading to this new smartphone-driven version. It even mimics the reels, we used to use, as augmented reality items.

One of my issues with the current state of VR is standards and compatibility. In the upper echelons of this technology, each developer has a unique way of creating VR content. Google's Cardboard seems to be becoming the standard for low-end VR. This makes many of the devices out there ready to use this VR standard in the Cardboard viewed as well as Mattel's View Master.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I see a little bit of VirtualBoy in the color and styling of Mattel's updated View Master. If it weren't for the advent of smart phones that handle the brunt of VR's offerings, it might suffer the same fate as Nintendo's 3D foray in '95. From what I see, most folks are touting it's Cardboard compatibility above the proprietary content.

Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard

I'm sure I'm tainted by nostalgia from my View Master days, but I'm going to give the View Master VR a try... even though it's functionally the same as the free Star Wars Cardboard I picked up from Verizon. Oddly, all it took for me to give today's VR-on-the-cheap a try was a free cardboard box with a Star Wars theme.

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