View-Master for a new generation

The original VR headset returns for the digital age.


Mattel’s View-Master has a claim to being the first (crude) form of virtual reality, and the colourful plastic headset has returned with a fully immersive, educational and accessible VR experience for kids.¬†Instead of sliding a little cardboard disc in, you pop the headset open and put in your mobile phone (similar to how Samsung’s Gear VR or Google Cardboard work). The familiar discs are still around, but they are placed on a table or other flat surface for an augmented reality experience.

The “starter” set comes with the headset and one disc and will only run you about $30, with additional discs costing about $15 each. The discs are optional, though, as the View-Master is Google Cardboard compliant, so any app designed to work with Cardboard will also work with the View-Master, with the classic plastic lever replacing Cardboard’s push button to navigate through apps and environments. Despite that, we’re assuming a lot of parents will try to force some of the educational benefits on their kids, with apps designed specifically for View-Master taking them to places like famous landmarks, the wilderness or inside the space shuttle. They also include little fact boxes they can open as they go along.