By Eric Chetkauskas / July 26th, 2015
While many people–myself included–have criticized the 3D display as the 3DS’ weakest hardware feature, the system is still a success. It has a vast library of games and enough other features to keep people interested in using it. However, I’m sure there is a contingent of folks out there who are unaware that this isn’t Nintendo’s first attempt at making a system for 3D games.
In 1995, Nintendo released new hardware that was supposed to make 3D gaming a reality, and for a short time, it did. Known as the Virtual Boy, this system was a stand-alone headset which the player would look into to see the game’s video display. This setup has a lot more in common with today’s virtual reality tech, like Occulus Rift, than the “glasses-free” 3DS. Although, being spawned from the Game Boy era, the display itself was a monochrome red and black; Nintendo hadn’t quite yet graduated to full-color graphics. Mario’s Tennis, 3D Tetris and Virtual Boy Wario Land were some of the games you could play in 3-dimensions.
Despite this seemingly-revolutionary gaming technology, the Virtual Boy is most known for being Nintendo’s biggest flop. Consumers all over the world just didn’t seem to care. A high price tag and reports of users getting headaches sabotaged an already-mediocre marketing campaign. A mere five months after launch, the Virtual Boy was cancelled in Japan. The system lasted almost seven months in North America, but never made it to Europe.
Today, fans look back on the Virtual Boy as an interesting piece of Nintendo history and a nostalgic curiosity. It has a certain “cult-classic” reputation among retro gamers. The system’s small library of just 22 games–19 in Japan, 14 in North America–gives beginning collectors a easy system to fully complete.
This week, the Virtual Boy celebrated its 20th anniversary, so we celebrate it. The oprainfall Retro Commercial Research Team–in other words, me–has dug up some TV moments for this early foray into virtual reality and 3D gaming.
Here are the highlights from the past week.
- Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition | Joe Sigadel
- Yatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm | Josh Speer
- Odallus: The Dark Call | Josh Speer
- Class of Heroes 2G | Joe Sigadel
- Fort Meow | Eric Chetkauskas
- Earthbound Beginnings | Jacob Dobbs
- A Pictorial Tribute to Satoru Iwata
- Last Week’s King and Kong (July 13-19, 2015): Self-Deprecation
- What Now for Nintendo: Picking a New Leader
- Total Control Ep 41: Paying the Atlus Tax (PODCAST)
- Updated: Phantasy Star Online 2 IP Block is Back
- Sony’s Top 20 Anime of Summer
- New Details and Images for Genei Ibun Roku #FE Revealed
- Atlus and VanillaWare Announce Odin Sphere Remake and New Project
- More Odin Sphere: Leiftrasir Details Announced
- Super Mario Maker Bundles Announced
- Pokkén Tournament Heading to Dave and Buster’s
- Project Setsuna Is About Sadness
- (18+) Five New VNs Announced by Sekai Project at Otakon
NintendooprainfallRetroretro wrap-upVirtual Boyvirtual reality