Tiger Electronics R-Zone 101: A Beginners Guide
Presented by Ack
Here at Racketboy.com, we don’t often talk about LCD games. They’re not really under our purview, so to speak. But they do have a solid relationship with video games, and in some cases, this bleeds over into definite video game territory. Sometimes it’s as simple as a character appearing in a game(Game N Watch in Super Smash Bros. Melee, anyone?), but in a few others it forms a weird hybrid area which fans of both might appreciate or shun.
The R-Zone is one of those hybrids, created by Tiger Electronics in the mid-1990s as a cartridge-based LCD handheld. It was the first of two handhelds from the company, the second being the Game.com. Add in Tiger’s access to many video game licenses, and you’ve got some interesting title choices for their little machine. So sit back, relax, and enjoy taking a moment to learn about Tiger’s strange little red-tinted toy.
- The R-Zone was first released in 1995 from Tiger Electronics. It was marketed as a virtual reality device. This, along with its red color scheme for games, has led some to believe the R-Zone was meant to compete with the Virtual Boy.
- Despite several revisions of the console, heavy marketing, and a game library featuring LCD versions of such titles as Battle Arena Toshinden, Men In Black, and Area 51, the device sold poorly.
- In 1997, production of the R-Zone was ended, just in time to be replaced by the Game.com.
- Despite manufacturing LCD games for years, the R-Zone was Tiger Electronics first real attempt to create a cartridge-based handheld, though they kept their LCD technology.
- It is believed that Tiger designed the R-Zone specifically to rival the Virtual Boy. But the R-Zone would end up competing against Game Boy, Game Gear, and other handhelds.
- The R-Zone did poorly, but Tiger continued its attempt to make headway in the market, and released the Game.com two years after the R-Zone’s release.
- Hardware with varying designs allow collectors to pick which way they feel is the best to play.
- Tiger was able to pull from its vast array of licensees, allowing for some interesting choices of games based on movies, sports, or other popular game series(including Virtua Fighter (and and Mortal Kombat) .
- Fans of LCD games, much like Tiger’s earlier works, will likely enjoy that the R-Zone played glorified LCD games.
- Each model came with a different pack-in title and came with an insert to protect the system when no game cartridge was inserted.
- The console retailed for a low price, just slightly higher than most Tiger Electronics LCD games.
- R-Zone games were all designed to appear as red outlines, which can be difficult on the eye.
- Two of the three R-Zone models used mirrors to reflect game images, so they must be viewed at very specific angles.
- There are no multiplayer titles for the R-Zone.
- Despite featuring built-in speakers, here are no headphone jacks for use with the R-Zone.
- Players wanting something more than LCD games will likely be sorely disappointed.
- Though Tiger pulled from its many licensees, gameplay really only changes based on the genre of the game.
- The LCDs for R-Zone games were actually pre-drawn and built into the cartridges. The R-Zone did little more than use light to project these images onto a mirror, so the player could see the action.
- The R-Zone speaker outputs in mono.
- Color overlays were released for use with certain games, similar to the Vectrex.
- The Super Screen model came packaged with a replacement lightbulb.
- There are no known emulators for the R-Zone. There is also no homebrew community.