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Sega's 'Time Traveler' might have changed arcade games, if it wasn't for Street Fighter II

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Sega's Time Traveler was a "holographic game" that used a curved mirror and CRT monitor to make it appear like the game's characters were floating in 3D space.

time traveler 560 official
time traveler 560 official

When Sega’s "holographic game" Time Traveler arrived on the scene in 1991 it looked like it was going to revolutionize the face of arcades. A curved mirror, CRT TV, and stereographic Laserdisc made the action appear like it was floating in front of you in 3D space, while you used a joystick and button to navigate a series of Dragon’s Lair-style quicktime events. The game was a brief success, but Sega could have never foreseen the smash Street Fighter II became, and despite Time Traveler's innovative presentation, its simple move-jump-shoot repetition couldn't compete with the deep fighting mechanics and addictive head-to-head gameplay Capcom brought to the table. Sega’s response was Holosseum, a fighting game in the vein of Street Fighter but using the holographic Time Traveler cabinet — the company's second and last experiment with the technology.