Category_Cartoons, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

From Your Book Shelf to Your VCR! Enter Magic Eye: The Video and Experience 3D Illusions Sure to Soak You in Nostalgia!

For the Videovores that yearned for that $200 Starter jacket, bulked up with No Fear gear, rocked the mushroom bowl cut like there was no tomorrow and drilled their eyes into those inimitable Magic Eye books countless times, this post is for you. Sure, you had the books, but did you know that there was also a home video version produced for those beloved Magic Eye illusions? Oh, man. There totally was. Get ready for a surge of heady 90s nostalgia as we dive into Magic Eye: The Video!

What is that on the cover? An air hockey mallet? Man, I LOVE air hockey. And 3D. And VHS.

Yes, those damn books were everywhere. They abounded at book fairs and populated schoolbags aplenty while shabby, overused copies littered library tables. Their signature 3D effect would be injected into a whole host of items including mouse pads, lunch boxes, oversized posters and, yes, even VHS covers as exemplified by the video-only gem COSMIC SLOP! DIG IT.

Clickity-click for a look at the flick! SPACE TRADERS is the best of the bunch from this one, IMHO. CUH-RAZY.

Ultimately, Magic Eye books were either a source of amazing optical entertainment or extreme frustration. For those who couldn’t manage to see the 3D image, it was a sort of banishment into a world of harsh unknowing, clueless as to what the hell everybody was so amazed to see. Just a quick historical overview of the whole Magic Eye universe can be read right here on the official site, and for those folks out there who could never quite get a peek into the wild world of Magic Eye, here’s a piece on how to get your eyes in the zone. Trust me: once you get it down, you won’t lose it.

A little encouragement from the producers! DON'T GIVE UP, DUDE!

Personally, I loved the Magic Eye books; I was one of the kids that had the trick down pat. I just put the book on the tip of my nose, slowly pulled it back, and BAM! Magic! Only thing was these slices of trip-tastic joy didn’t count toward Book It and those free personal pan pizzas… so that was a bummer. However, that never stopped me, nor did it hinder the masses of children and adolescents from gobbling up these 3D amazements until their eyes gave out. By 1994, The Magic Eye craze was in full force.

A fair warning. But what would happen if I watched this slab o' analog on my SUPER HUGE flatscreen, bro?! Me thinks it would suck you into a dated 3D VORTEX. A VORTEX, MAN! That, or send you into spasms. Either way... bitchin'.

Cue Magic Eye: The Video. Ostensibly a sort of cash-in venture aimed toward the burgeoning home video market, this VHS tie-in actually offered a bit more than the famed books. But before we delve into the video content, we must realize that there are two types of Magic Eye stereograms: “Floaters”, which at first glance just appear to be standard 2D images, but become 3D when you apply the Magic Eye technique; and, of course, there’s the “Hidden” variety, which are the most popular and embody the essence of Magic Eye.

A still from MAGIC EYE: THE VIDEO featuring an illusion of the "floater" variety. I'M RICH, BAAATCH!

The 35 minute program displays a good split of these two types of illusions, collecting over 100 in all, most of which are taken from the books. An impressive assemblage of images emerge from the screen backed by a soundtrack ranging from soft and breezy soundscaping to ethereal Casio keyboard driven not-so-easy-listening with alternating faux-sax and faux-guitar solos. It’s painfully 90s, but in that endearing low-budget pluck that makes you pine for all those outer space specials from when you were a kid.

Another still featuring the "hidden" type of illusion. NO GLASSES REQUIRED = AWESOME.

The images are sectioned off into three different 10 minute segments, each deemed to be successively more difficult to unlock. I don’t know about the difficulty increasing, but the images sure do improve: the latter section of the tape features sweet jaguars, 2 on 2 basketball (with a slam dunk!) and what looks to be a rat driving a convertible. It’s pretty rad stuff, man. But what is it that this home video offers that the classic books just can’t? It presents a seamless journey into a cornucopia of Magic Eye images without the break of a page. If you can zone in (or out – whichever you deem fit) you can watch the 3D images change right in front of you. What’s more, this video takes the 3D images and puts them into motion, gliding them across the screen or slowly floating them upward as they evaporate into the next image.


This one’s video-only, and I’d bet my copy of Madballs: Gross Jokes it’s gonna stay that way. You can pick this bad boy up for just about a buck (and I wouldn’t pay much more than that!), so it’s a super-cheap video adventure rife with nostalgia, which is always a winner in my book. This also wouldn’t be a bad call for a party tape. Just imagine: a bunch of your inebriated buddies kneeling down in front of the TV with exchanges like, “YES! Dude, it’s a donkey!! DOOONKKKEYY!” with the person to their left in utter dismay: “Man, I could never do this shit… Damn it! MY LIFE!!!” And they WILL want to see it. Because it is awesome.

See for yourself, my video brethren.

Sit back, relax, enter the Magic Eye and Groove Always.

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