Sega’s 3D Tech

There was a lot of hard work being done by video game companies in the 80s. The American market was in shambles and nobody knew how to break into a new era for entertainment. Sega released their 8-bit Master System in 1986 and with it the ability to play some games in 3D. But this wasn't the Red / Blue 3D you'd see on the NES with Rad Racer. No, Sega created an Active Shutter system that made truly impressive 3D. Nicole Branagan does a deep dive on this early technology to see how it worked and let me tell you, it's pretty impressive.

The glasses are, in a sense, passive devices. Even though they’re called “active shutter” glasses. That is to say, they are entirely controlled by the signals sent by the console. Liquid crystal needs an AC signal to activate or deactivate, and I’ve captured one of the channels on my oscilloscope. Unfortunately, the signal doesn’t work when the scope is connected to my computer (grounding issues), so here’s a terrible photo.

Excerpt from Nicole's blog Nicole Express

Nicole's breakdown of the tech is impressive. She is using a Japanese Master System with some modifications to get it to work. She goes over some nerdy details with the chips and even gets them to work on LCD screens.

For anyone who is fascinated by 80's tech, this is a cool technical walk down memory lane.

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