When I was 10 years old, my family had a ‘Vectrex’:
One day, my dad collected a load of cardboard boxes, and assembled a structure (using masking tape) which entirely enclosed the unit and the top half of the player in a darkened environment. He then spraypainted the appendage black.
The immersive effect, for a young kid like me, was mindblowing, and although he may not be credited with inventing ‘virtual reality’, I have to think that he is in some way responsible for my gaming passion….
Last year, whilst playing TOCA racer with Steering Wheel and pedals, I dressed up my friend (who is also 30 years old), in washing up gloves, a motorcycle helmet, a balaclava, headphones, and a workmans jumpsuit, strapping him to the chair with a pair of braces. Although the claustrophobia greatly enhanced the immersion of his Formula 1 experience, he nearly passed out due to the heat. Oh, and he got really snotty when I took a photograph and showed his mates :)