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Tyco Sega Video Driver

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Tyco Sega Video Driver

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The Tyco Sega Video Driver, known as the Family Driver,  is an obscure dedicated video game system designed by Sega.

It was released in the late 1980s in Japan, before being brought to North America as well as parts of Europe. Manufacturing of the product and North American distribution was handled by Tyco, with Action GT distributing the product in the United Kingdom and Gig in Italy. It is a VHS-driven device with games similar in nature to full motion video releases of the early 1990s.

The video driver is a battery-powered plastic steering wheel attached to a bulky sensor. The sensor is meant to then be physcially attached to a television, though it only fits comfortably on 13-20-inch 4:3 screens found in the late 80s. It sits in front of the television, "looking" at the screen. Mounted on top of the sensor is a small plastic car, which can be moved left or right across the top of the unit by steering the wheel.

The video driver relies on special VHS cassettes, which although are functionally identical to normal cassettes, devote the bottom section of the the picture to flashing white lights. These lights are then picked up by the sensor as "obstacles" - the user having to move the car out of the way to succeed. When turned on, the wheel automatically adds points to a mechanical scoreboard mounted on its front - if the car is positioned in a location recognised as an obstacle, no points are added, the idea being to hit as few obstacles as possible. There are also gears mounted on the unit, which need to be adjusted to match the rate of the flashing lights.

Only two games were ever released for the Video Driver - California Chase and Road Race, which were both bundled on the same cassette and are essentially the same game but with different footage. Two further games, Police Persuit and Road Racer are also known to exist - these may be localised versions of the two bundled games, or entirely different releases. The Video Driver was largely unpopular with the general public and was discontinued shortly after release.

 

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