It’s time for another one of those “Anybody Remember?” posts. This time we’re talking about Time Traveler, a psuedo-hologram arcade game by Sega.

A lot of my video game memories involve my Dad. He wasn’t a gamer at all, but he lived in Minneapolis while I lived in Central Wisconsin. Somehow, every time I would come over to visit him I would have an awesome video game experience. Whether it was the incredible Sega Master System exhibit at the Rosedale Mall, the giant convention center hall filled with arcade games that we just happened to stumble upon, or the time he bought me my TurboGrafx-16, my trips to Minnesota seemed to always include something video game related.

I can’t remember exactly where we saw Time Traveler, but I seem to recall that it was at some sort of museum where they were showing off new technology. We saw a special effects exhibit from the movie Aliens, some models used in the Star Wars trilogy, and a room full of “cutting edge” video game tech. The unit that grabbed everybody’s attention was Sega’s Time Traveler. The game projected images on mirrors creating a hologram-like effect. You played as a cowboy named Marshall Gram who must travel through time and, of course, save a princess from a mad scientist, or some such ridiculous bullshit. The game ran on Laserdisc technology and as such played a lot like Dragon’s Lair. In other words: Quick Time Events; press the correct button at the right time and proceed.

So while the gameplay was certainly nothing to write home about, the game was an instant draw due to the stunning visual effects. Your character walked around on a desolate black landscape, but strewn throughout were bushes, signposts, and other bits of scenery. The screen lay flat and the “holograms” walked on top of it, making the player feel like s/he could reach out and grab anything they saw. And for 1991, that shit was amazing!

Again, while the gameplay was lackluster, and the game cost a dollar to play, it makes me wonder why this technology wasn’t implemented in other games. Nearly twenty years later, I’m guessing game developers could come up with some bad ass ideas. Of course, they would need an arcade to house these games, and those aren’t exactly plentiful these days.

If you’d like to learn more about Time Traveler, check it out at Klov where these images came from.

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9 Responses to Time Traveler by Sega

  1. D.J.I. says:

    They must have made multiple titles for that style of arcade unit, because I remember playing one of these a few times and I distinctly remember it was a Street Fighter type game.

    Looked neat, played awful. God awful.

  2. damo says:

    I remember seeing this one in the arcade when I was a kid and thinking it looked cool, but I never played it. FOUR entire quarters was way too much, I could play two or three other games with that!

    Plus, DJI has it right, I had tried Dragon’s Lair and made it absolutely nowhere, and I could tell this one had the same kind of gameplay.

  3. Zinswin says:

    Yeah, I have fond memories of this game. Back in the day Stillwater had a cheap-o movie theater (99 cents!) with an arcade across the way. This game was in there and my friends and I would play this and the widescreen X-Men beat-em-up. (Nothing can move the Blob!) Time Traveler was mind blowing for its time.

  4. badbad_leroybrown says:

    Now that is a blast from the past dude. I remember playing that game when it came out in my local arcade and being completly flummuxed as to how games could be like that. It’s pretty dumb from what I could remember.

  5. Jake says:

    Ah yes, Time Traveler. An amusement park near me had one of those cabinets & every time we went, I had to try it at least once. It truly did play like shit, but I couldn’t stay away from a fucking HOLOGRAM game. One of the things I remember most about it was that shit like Cavemen, Cowboy Shootouts, Wizards, and Mad Scientists made sense. But, even as a kid, I was all WTF?! about one level that had you teleporting into a major league baseball game where you had to duck the pitch and the hit.

    This also reminds me that that same amusement park had another hilarious cabinet.


    I believe this game is the first ever to feature a GIANT ENEMY CRAB who’s WEAK SPOT you targeted for MASSIVE DAMAGE!

  6. Tondog says:

    I remember this very vaguely, as I’ve seen it maybe once in my entire life. From what I recall, it was damned awesome.

  7. Santa Faust says:

    Silverlake Mall. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. 1992. My friends and I had all cut class that day when we found this at the arcade. It played a lot like Dragon’s Lair (re: ass) but I distinctly remember staring at this thing in awe and thinking that I must’ve been standing right on the cusp of that awesome future I’d grown up believing in. The one with anti-gravity belts and robo-whores.

    Any day now. Any day…

  8. SimpleNate says:

    I remember playing this! I remember not grasping the idea of quicktime events too well…

  9. flashy says:

    Oh yeah! I remember playing this game AND that similarly holographic fighter at the Forest Mall in Fond du Lac, WI, way back in the day! Thought it was the most amazing thing ever! I can’t even begin to fathom how much money I tossed into those machines trying to finish them!

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