Arcade Tokens: Tilt (Time Traveler)



The only Tilt I remember from my arcade rat days in the 90's was located in the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Virginia. Ballston Common wasn't a mall in my normal rotation at the time, but I did manage to stop by when my dad and I were in the area for a comic book convention. The mall was vertically-oriented, and its four levels opened up in food court area so you could see all the levels at once. It reminded me a lot of the interior of a Borg cube, actually. Its arcade wasn't anything out of the ordinary... except it was the only one in the area that had Sega's Time Traveler.


Arcade historians will remember Time Traveler as the first holographic video game, although calling it "holographic" might be something of a stretch. It wasn't like the Star Trek Holodeck or even Artoo's hologram of Princess Leia. The characters were more like 2D images projected up from the TV screen, which was situated on the floor of the stage. Still, the effect was cool for what it was.

But let's be honest: the game sucked. You didn't really move the characters yourself, they just played out their roles movie-style and you responded to cues on the screen. It was very much like Dragon's Lair, which is understandable since both games were designed by the same dude. But Time Traveler didn't have the idiosyncratic style, interesting storyline, and fun death scenes that made Dragon's Lair so awesome. You just saw a couple of live-action actors interacting on an empty black stage with some real shapes placed nonsensically about.

Sega apparently wanted to modernize the gameplay (at least, for those days) by creating a fighting game using the same technology called Holosseum. But the hologram technology had played itself out by then and holographic games never really took off after that. It's understandable, though. It seemed like a cool idea at first, but after that initial awe wore off, you realized that games work so much better without adding another visually confusing dimension. Kind of analogous to today's 3D movies, come to think of it.

DISCLAIMER: All items reviewed on Dork Dimension were purchased by the reviewer unless otherwise noted. The opinions expressed on Dork Dimension are solely those of the author and are presented for entertainment purposes only.