Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The View-Master so Awesome

It's such a simple toy, yet so awesome.  I wish I still owned the View-Master that I had as a kid because I'd view the crap out of it.

The View-Master wasn't originally a toy though, it was created as a means for people to view tourist attractions in color and 3-D.  The US military even used it to train personnel during the early 1940s.

If you're not familiar with the View-Master,  it is a toy similar to binoculars that you load with a paper disc full of seven images which you can then view in 3-D.  A bunch of cartoon discs such as "Masters of the Universe," "Charlie Brown," and Disney characters were available as well as discs featuring scenes from television shows.  Here's an 80s commercial for it.

Okay, maybe that doesn't sound all that great now, but it was.  The internet wasn't around to constantly entertain us so you had to entertain yourself.  The View-Master was like virtual insanity before Jamiroquai made it all creepy and weird.  There's a reason you don't see any women in Jamiroqui's virtual insanity apartment.  

Although View-Master disc images always seemed to turn red, which meant you couldn't view them anymore.   Of course, this only reinforced the genius of the product.  You had to keep begging your parents to buy new discs to keep the View-Master experience entertaining.

In a twisted way it was the equivalent of drug addiction for children.  They had to keep getting that "high" or good experience by viewing new discs.  I guess that would make parents the drug pushers, which kind of makes sense because they both won't hesitate to punish you, if you step out of line.

The View-Master is still sold today, but it looks more like a lame children's toy.  There's also a View-Master movie in development by Dreamworks who claim it will be in the vein of "Goonies."   I don't know how well that's going to work out, and in case it sucks like "Jumanji," don't let it influence the greatness of the View-Master.

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