In the early '90s, four odd-looking arcade games appeared at a rented-out store in my local mall. For about seven dollars, anyone could stop in and play three minutes of a new virtual reality game called Dactyl Nightmare. I paid up, put on the massive helmet... and then the game was over before I'd even figured out what I was doing in the blocky, chessboard-like environment. The whole experience left a lot to be desired and I never went back. It certainly wasn't the first VR experience (or the most advanced) made available for public consumption, but it sums up how many felt about the ill-fated, first wave of consumer-facing VR projects: all hype and not enough substance. The times and technology have changed, though, and it's finally time for round two. VR systems are being developed and promoted at a rate that outstrips the previous era, with better graphics and games (and far less queasiness) than ever before. VR, it seems, is just about ready for prime time. So to commemorate its second coming, let's take a look at virtual reality's bumpy road to mainstream recognition.

[Image: AP Photo/Mark Cowan]

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Mad Max: Fury Road is already one of the year's best movies, but you know what was missing in all of director George Miller's gear grinding under the desert sun? Mario Kart's banana peels and green shells. Check out the video below for a quick look at the mashup that'll almost positively never, ever happen: Chomp chains destroying dune-buggies, Bob-ombs attached to the kamikaze-like warboys' staffs and so, so, so much more mayhem than Nintendo would likely ever allow. We're just going to have to close our eyes (for a different reason this time) and imagine sucking dairy dust from our teeth in Cheese Land in a Mercedes is the same thing.

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Marines on a sunny golf course in Quantico, Virginia, this week demonstrated a pair of augmented reality glasses that simulate combat scenarios. The Office of Naval Research recently completed development of the goggles and this week hooked them up to a larger training system known as the Augmented Immersive Team Trainer for the first time. Representatives from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps showed up at Marine Corps Base Quantico to see the AITT in action. The AR glasses themselves have a wider field of view than similar products on the commercial market, and the full AITT experience incorporates real-life weapons props, binoculars and other physical equipment necessary in a potential combat zone. "For Marines, this system increases their situational awareness, whether for training or operations, giving them a wider aperture for information to help make better decisions," ONR action officer Le Nolan said.

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Earlier this week, folks in the know claimed that Apple's HDTV project had been junked after more than a decade of development. Now, however, Re/code is reporting that the company is still working on an online TV service for its devices, but wants to beat its rivals by being the first to offer live video from local broadcasters. Naturally, a push for regional content means having to deal with the hundreds of affiliates that operate across the country. So, instead of just shaking hands on a contract with ABC, Apple's got to get lawyers out to every station from Arizona's KNXV-TV to Wyoming's WAOW.

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Kids looking at ipad / tablet in classroom

DirecTV saw what YouTube and Netflix were doing with their kid-focused apps, and decided that it, too, wanted a piece of that action. After many months of toil, the company has busted out DirecTV Kids, an iOS app that lets your rugrats consume content from your cable package at no extra cost. Designed for 5-10 year-olds, the offering lets your kids watch shows anywhere, and can be used on up to five devices at once. It's available for free from the App Store, and is likely to be a bit safer than YouTube's rival, at least as far as parental groups are concerned.

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Colección de consolas de Eduardo Álvarez (http://www.mundoconsolas.es/).

One of the biggest problems facing video games as an artistic medium is one of preservation. Thanks to HD remasters, digital distribution and the Internet Archive that's becoming less of an issue. But we still need to do more to keep a record and constant catalog of gaming's past moments. That's the idea behind the awkwardly named "Intellivision Gen2 Video Games for PC & Mac" on Kickstarter. As you might imagine, it's modernized versions of Intellivision titles. Astrosmash, Nightstalker and Shark! Shark! will get the new pixel art, expanded levels and scope should the project reach its $100,000 goal.

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When EA's quarterly report dropped earlier in May, it included a few tasty game-related tidbits, including a "holiday 2015" launch window for a new Need for Speed. EA today confirmed that Need for Speed will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC this fall -- and it's a full-on reboot of the series. "With more than 20 years of history in its rear view mirror, we're bringing Need for Speed back with a reboot that delivers on what Need for Speed stands for -- rich customization, authentic urban car culture, a nocturnal open world, and an immersive narrative," EA Community Manager Ben Walke writes. The first teaser for the game is fairly gorgeous and EA says that all of its footage was captured in-game. Watch the video below, and keep your eyes here on June 15th for the first gameplay trailer and official announcement direct from E3 2015.

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How long would you last on an island full of dinosaurs when you've nothing but a rusty machete and the clothes on your back? That's the question theHunter: Primal poses. It's also my absolute childhood fantasy. You start the game with essentially nothing and need to find your way around a paradisical atoll full of thunderlizards that'd rather eat you than sing songs about the alphabet. We'll be joined by folks from Avalanche Studios (Just Cause, Mad Max) so they can help guide me around the island and hopefully aid in uncovering the secrets of raptor-whispering. Oh! and we'll be giving away download codes for the PC game as well; get your haikus ready.

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You stand on the edge of a strip of asphalt, in the middle of a breezy, weedy, Southern forest. It's nearly sunset and the day's final rays sprawl over hay rolls and a small pond across the road. Behind you, a long trailer home sits in a clearing, piles of old and discarded possessions heaped haphazardly around it. More hazy structures dot the horizon, and at your feet there's a small, elephant-shaped backpack. You pick it up and turn it around. A woman's voice calmly says, "I remember missing the school bus that morning." True enough, the bus never comes and you're free to roam around the immediate area, exploring the forest, trash, houses and cemetery around you, learning more about yourself and your past. This is Home is Where One Starts..., a short exploration game inspired by TS Eliot's The Four Quartets and created by indie developer David Wehle. I spoke with Wehle about the poetic influences behind his game and the wider state of exploration-based games.

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The hockey game on the flat-screen behind the bar had served as a pleasant background visual as I ate dinner. But with my plate cleared, the action on-screen drew my full attention. I took a sip of beer as players converged on the puck, white jerseys sliding into red and sticks slapping intently over a small, swift black dot. More furious movement and some of the athletes fell back as others rushed forward chasing their objective: Control the puck. I took another sip. Two men, one from each team, flew toward the black dot as it slid across the bottom wall of the rink and the rest of the players settled into position behind them, constantly moving, pushing for dominance of their immediate areas. Each person on the ice clearly had a specific role. And then halfway through my second beer, it clicked. "It's like they're playing League of Legends in real-life," I thought, frozen in mid-sip. "Holy shit. I think I understand hockey now."

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Digital Life Review TV Cord Cutting

So far, Dish has done an exceptional job of launching its internet television service, Sling TV, on most major mobile and stationary platforms. And now Android TV is the latest to offer support for the cord-cutter app, joining others like iOS, Roku, Xbox One and, of course, Android in doing so. At the moment, Sling TV on Android TV really just means being available for the Nexus Player, although there are many devices launching soon with Google's newly minted ecosystem on board. Sling TV also announced ESPN Deportes (the Spanish version of ESPN) has been added to its channel lineup, which it will be including as part of the Latino-tailored, $5-per-month Deportes Extra pack.

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At CES the long-brewing alliance to push Hollywood movies you can legally download, store and play across different devices finally surfaced, and now its system has a brand name: Vidity. As we learned in January, this is the doing of the Secure Content Storage Association -- a team up behind movie studios (Fox, Warner Bros.) and storage manufacturers (Western Digital, Sandisk) to create a system where users can download movies in the highest possible quality like 4K Ultra HD and HDR. Samsung was the first to announce its Ultra HD TVs with the M-Go app will use the spec, but other big names like Vudu, Kaleidescape, LG, Universal, Comcast and Sprint are on board too. So far 4K movies have generally been all about streaming, but now between Ultra HD Blu-ray and Vidity there are a couple of new options coming.

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Want a taste of Windows 10 on your Xbox One? It's coming sooner than you might've thought. Xbox boss Phil Spencer tweeted today that a beta of the program that ties your console in with your desktop computer is coming "post-summer." Exactly what features it'll entail or a concrete timeframe (game streaming from Xbox to desktop, the Xbox Game DVR and Xbox Live) are anyone's guess at this point. That'll almost positively change come next month's Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, though.

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It's no secret that people love white gadgets. And in case you missed out on the Xbox One Sunset Overdrive bundle from last year, now's your chance to get one. Microsoft just revealed a kit that's loaded with a white version of the console, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, 500GB of storage and a 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial. The special edition is only available in the US and costs $350, which would save you about $50. But you better hurry if you want it -- as usual, this will only be up for grabs in limited quantities.

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Konami has made some major, mysterious changes this year. It canceled Silent Hills, a horror game from Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, even after the exceptionally warm reception to its PlayStation 4 teaser, PT. Kojima himself is, in all likelihood, going to leave Konami after production wraps on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Plus, Konami delisted itself from the New York Stock Exchange and wants to aggressively pursue mobile game development. Put all of that together and you get a PT spoof from nerdy-comedy video crew Mega64. Watch the video below.

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