Remember taking the bright red Mattel View-Master you had as a kid, popping in one of those reels of film and looking at 3D pictures of far-away places or exotic animals?
The View-Master is back, and with a big upgrade: Mattel has partnered with Google to bring the search giant’s Google Cardboard virtual reality software to the View-Master, letting kids explore environments like a space shuttle or a new city in 360 degrees.
Mattel’s new View-Master works by combining what Mattel calls an “experience reel” with a specialized app on an Android smartphone. It can also run any of the 200 or so Google Cardboard virtual reality apps currently in the Google Play store, serving as an affordable gateway into the world of virtual reality.
“Combining technology and innovation with this classic toy gives kids an enhanced experience allowing for play opportunities not yet imagined through new, digitally curated content,” said Mattel SVP and Global Brand General Manager, Toy Box Doug Wadleigh in a statement.
Announced Friday, the View-Master will be available early this year for $29.99 along with a sample reel. Customers can buy packs of new experience reels with fresh content for $14.99 each. Mattel told USA Today that it’s experimenting with bringing back some of its classic View-Master content for the new platform as well.