I was five years old when the video gaming industry was really just getting started. I remember my first video game experiences quite well. They began in truck stops and local restaurants and shopping mall arcades, places where some enterprising local business had embraced the cutting edge technology of the day – cathode ray tubes and burning monochrome lines and pixels. The first arcade game I ever played was a sit-down version of the game Asteroids. Another game I really loved was called Speedway and it was a stand-up driving game where you and an opponent raced carts from a top down view.
My Dad was a radar technician for the national weather service. He had received electronics engineering training during his time in the military where he learned to operate and repair radar equipment. So it was pretty natural when a local businessman sought him out to repair broken video game equipment for his arcade. That was when video games too a much larger role in my day to day life. It was called The Black and Gold Center (our local football team’s colors were Black and Gold) and this local arcade was where I was introduced to many mysterious and amazing games. One I remember quite clearly form those days was Sea Wolf. I had to stand on a box to play it. And of course, Battlezone.
I was fascinated you see by the hooded video games with an aperture to look through or interact with – a visor, a scope, that sort of thing. I would recall many years later when I tried VR for the first time that it gave me that sense of wonder I felt when playing Battlezone for the first time. The sense of immersion really. Of being transported to some other place. You know, like being a tank commander on an alien planet, peering into this universe through my visor.
Some years later in the early 80s my parents started their own video arcade, and named it the “Traffic Jam.” Video games, juke boxes, brass tokens, pinball games, and a soda fountain…the works. A kid’s paradise.
So those are the roots of TrafficjamVR.
Just as my life was so heavily impacted and shaped by the evolution of video game technology, I want to capture everything great about the arcades of the 80s using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality gaming and bring that entertainment technology to kids today. That and so much more.