Codex Gamicus

'SubRoc-3D is an arcade game released in 1982 by Sega, and the first such game to provide a three-dimensional image to the player, using a display that delivers individual images to each eye.[2][3] This was achieved using a special eyepiece,[3] a viewer with spinning discs to alternate left and right images to the player's eye from a single monitor.[2]

Stereoscopic 3D[]

The stereoscopic 3D filters in the original arcade cabinet are rapidly spinning discs that are housed inside the periscope and create a "shutter" style of 3D. Jointly developed by Sega and Matsushita, this stereoscopic 3D system was considered revolutionary at the time, as it was a major improvement over the red-blue anaglyph 3D glasses used for movies at the time, and was a precursor to the LCD shutter glasses used for most 3D movies and games today. [1][2]

This is to be distinguished from the visuals used in vector games like Battlezone or 3D polygonal games like Virtua Fighter, which use algorithms to display appropriately scaled and rotated graphics to provide the illusion of three dimensions in a two-dimesional display. The graphics in SubRoc are two-dimensional, handdrawn sprites displayed in a three-dimensional tableau.


It was adapted for ColecoVision, with simulated 3-D effects, by Arnold Hendrick and Philip Taterczynski of the Coleco game design staff, with programming by David Wesely of 4D Interactive Systems.


SubRoc-3d appears briefly during a scene in the 1983 movie War Games.


  2. 2.0 2.1 Bernard Perron & Mark J. P. Wolf (2008), Video game theory reader two, p. 158, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-415-96282-X
  3. 3.0 3.1 SubRoc-3D at Museum of the Game

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