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Virtual Boy

The Strange and Disappointing History of the Nintendo Virtual

The Virtual Boy was an innovative idea for a gaming system from Nintendo although the history of the device has become infamous over the years. The original release date for the Virtual Boy in America was on August 14, 1995. The console had a very short lifespan for many reasons. Gamers from the time do not generally recall the Virtual Boy fondly today. The story of this Nintendo gaming systems has a few parts.

The Virtual Boy Story

The basic idea off the Virtual Boy was to make a mobile 3D virtual reality gaming system for the masses. Nintendo wanted to do this in order to appear innovative. They also had the goal of creating something that would be very difficult for other companies like Sega to copy or recreate. Problems started when Nintendo wanted to make the system as inexpensive as possible by using cheap parts. The final cost of the Virtual Boy on release was just under $200.

Playing the Virtual Boy

The experience of playing the Virtual Boy was underwhelming at best. The screen for the game was a monochrome red. Everything looked very strange. Many people who tried to use the Virtual Boy actually became sick because of the strange way 3D graphics were attempted. You also had to use a relatively clunky controller. It did not follow the same familiar pattern as the old Nintendo controller of the time.

Awkward Design

One of the worst parts of the Virtual Boy was the awkward design. The original marketing stated that the system was supposed to be portable like a Game Boy. It was anything but. The goggles could not be worn and had to sit mounted on a tripod. The system has a tendency to fall down during use because it was top-heavy. You had to hunch forward and look into a small area to see the screen. The awkward design made it basically impossible to enjoy playing the Virtual boy for any length of time.

Market Problems and Discontinuation

The Virtual Boy never caught on largely because of negative reviews and bad word-of-mouth. The history of the Virtual Boy ended on March 2, 1996 when Nintendo pulled the system. Part of the demise was because only 14 games were ever released for the system in America. Few really took advantage of the 3D graphics and none had the polished feeling of a real Nintendo game. The high cost, poor design and lack of promised features like being able to connect for multiplayer games killed the Virtual Boy in less than a year after the initial release date.

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