Sega 3D Glasses Review
by The Video Game Critic9/5/2022
Two decades ago I attended a "Philly Classic" retrogaming convention along with Scott aka the C64 Critic. Held in a hotel just outside of Philadelphia, it was a great opportunity to meet a few big names in the retrogaming community and indulge in some treasure hunting. Later that day Scott and I would embark on an epic quest for cheesesteaks but that's another story.
I dropped a few hundred bucks on games that day but it wasn't as irresponsible as it sounds (but close). I remember how happy I was at the end of the day, gazing over all of my new acquisitions sprawled out all over the inside of my trunk. Among my "big fish" was an Atari 5200 multicart and The Sega 3-D Glasses - complete in box! These glasses were originally released in 1987 for use with the Sega Master System.
I didn't know much about the glasses at the time but they did not disappoint. The minute you fire up Outrun 3D that title screen really pops out at you. Weaving through traffic in this game with the enhanced sense of depth is quite a thrill. It's easier to gauge your distance from other cars and more satisfying to pass them. It's not just two or three layers we're talking about; it's as if every object is rendered at its own particular distance.
The manner in which the 3D effect is achieved is pretty obvious. The glasses have shutters that black out one eye at a time in a rapid manner. The screen image, which appears double to others watching, is synchronized with the glasses. Granted, there is a slight flicker effect and it may take a few seconds for your eyes to adjust.
Whether the 3D truly enhances the gameplay is arguable, but the glasses certainly make for a more exciting, immersive experience. There were seven cartridges produced for these glasses, most of which are shooters. They include Blade Eagle 3D, Missile Defense 3D, Poseidon Wars 3D, Zaxxon 3D, Space Harrier 3D, Outrun 3D, and Maze Hunter. For the most part these games have received favorable reviews.
The 3D glasses are large enough that they can fit over your glasses if you wear them. They connect to the console via a headplug which connects to an adapter inserted into the card slot. Lately I have noticed a slight "shadowing" effect with certain objects on the screen, but it may have something to do with my slightly-diminished eyesight (I use reading glasses now).
Since the glasses feel light and fragile, I handle them carefully and pack them away when not in use. The thin wire that connects them makes me particularly nervous, especially with cats around.
I purchased my set of 3D glasses for $75 (if I recall correctly) and looking at Ebay now, the prices are not outrageous. Recently I had to replace the adapter component that plugs into the console. I'm glad my glasses were not at fault as I suspect replacing those would be more expensive.
The tricks Sega's 3D glasses play with your eyes don't lend themselves to long play sessions, but they are ideal for a little arcade action. I recently showed these glasses to a few friends and relatives and the immediate response is almost always "WHOA!!" Afterwards they always remark about how the 3D was much better than they expected. In this era of high-tech virtual reality, that's quite the ringing endorsement.