Original Post

It has been noted that some Virtual Boy systems have a label that reads “PLAYLINK” next to the link cable slot, while others have a label that reads “EXT.” The purpose of this thread is to find out which Virtual Boy systems have “PLAYLINK” and which ones don’t. If you would like to contribute to the data, please provide the serial number of your Virtual Boy system or systems and also tell us whether the label next to the link cable slot reads “PLAYLINK” or “EXT.” It would be best if you could provide a picture of these areas as proof, but if you would not like to provide a picture, please consider looking at your Virtual Boy system(s) and sharing the pertinent data with us anyway.

Here are my data for the systems that I currently have:

1. USA Demo System (with white box)
Serial Number: VN10000940[8]
It reads: “EXT.”

2. USA Platform Display System
Serial Number: VN10031062[7]
It reads: “EXT.”

3. JPN Demo System (with mosaic box)
Serial Number: V10037488
It reads: “PLAYLINK”

4. JPN Retail System
Serial Number: V10084459
It reads: “PLAYLINK”

5. USA Retail System (1) – My very first Virtual Boy
Serial Number: VN10169097[1]
It reads: “EXT.”

6. JPN Retail System
Serial Number: V10178013
It reads: “EXT.”

7. USA Retail System (2) – Currently my only solder-fixed system
Serial Number: VN10249735[7]
It reads: “EXT.”

8. USA Retail System (3)
Serial Number: VN10252578[4]
It reads: “EXT.”

9. USA Retail System (4)
Serial Number: VN10321531[8]
It reads: “EXT.”

35 Replies

VN106317996 – EXT
VN103414957 – EXT
VN104680450 – EXT

Have pictures but they’re a bit large, can post later if needed.

VN10397006[4] – EXT

Maybe KR155E could merge these into the Virtual Boy Serial Number Inventory?

Yeah, it would have been good if this detail had originally been included in the Serial Number Inventory thread, but oh well… I guess it’s too late for that.

I found an interesting old thread that pertains to this topic:

http://www.planetvb.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?post_id=8607#forumpost8607

mbuchman had and/or still has an interesting Virtual Boy system. It seems that it was originally a retail Japanese system with the serial number:

V10168481

Then it was later turned into a North American retail system with the serial number:

VN10413008[5]

According to post # 10 in the aforementioned thread, this system has “EXT.”

*EDIT*

Well, mbuchman’s interesting Virtual Boy system got me curious about my systems, so I checked them yet again, and sure enough, one of my North American systems also had the bump in the serial number sticker, indicating that there was another sticker beneath it. So… in the interest of science, I peeled off the top portion of the North American serial number sticker, and lo and behold, there was a Japanese serial number sticker beneath it. Thus:

The system that I listed in the first post as:

9. USA Retail System (4)
Serial Number: VN10321531[8]
It reads: “EXT.”

Was at one time:

JPN Retail System
Serial Number: V10187552
Which read: “EXT.”

This brings up another important factor: If you want to contribute to the data of this thread and you have a North American system, you should check to see if there is a bump in the serial number sticker indicating a sticker beneath it and report that fact. Of course, if you don’t then want to peel the sticker partially away and reveal the original serial number beneath it because you don’t want to ruin the sticker, that is understandable. I myself was hesitant to do so, but then I remembered that I was planning to give one of my Virtual Boy systems to my brother anyway, since he has been doing development work for the Virtual Boy and doesn’t even have his own Virtual Boy system to see his work on! Thus, it looks like he’ll be getting this one. 🙂

This also raises another important question:
It is reported on this site that about 700,000 Virtual Boy systems were made. Is that figure based on the serial numbers? Because if a lot of systems were reused and given second serial numbers, then the total could be very much lower than 700,000.

VN105105129 – EXT

Edit:
On closer inspection i believe my US system is a re-sticker’ed JP system but i really dont want to peel the sticker off to find out.

  • This reply was modified 9 years, 7 months ago by VBmills.

Interesting… I haven’t looked at many JP systems, but the ones that I had seen all had PLAYLINK (most were demo systems, so maybe that’s why).

You can clearly see that they modified the mold from PLAYLINK to EXT. (PLAYLINK looks just like CONTROLLER… EXT. has a noticable rectangle around it, likely where the mold was modified), so I’d guess at some point in the run, they realized that the link cable might not happen, so they changed to EXT. Since the VB was released in Japan first, the mold was probably changed before any VBs made it to the US.

DogP

DogP schrieb:

You can clearly see that they modified the mold from PLAYLINK to EXT.

DogP

Well, not quite. If you look at the other pictures, you see that there is no rectangle…so your theory is somewhat half-way 😉

WoLfMaN wrote:

DogP schrieb:

You can clearly see that they modified the mold from PLAYLINK to EXT.

DogP

Well, not quite. If you look at the other pictures, you see that there is no rectangle…so your theory is somewhat half-way 😉

The quality of the molds definitely vary, but I believe on a couple of the pictures above, you can’t see it in the picture because it’s one of the better quality ones, and the lighting/angle isn’t just right. But at the correct angle, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to see a slight rectangle (maybe Benjamin can confirm). I have two sitting next to me, which I can’t tell, unless I get the glare just right, like this:

(S/N VN10112924[2])

DogP

Attachments:

DogP wrote:
Interesting… I haven’t looked at many JP systems, but the ones that I had seen all had PLAYLINK (most were demo systems, so maybe that’s why).

You can clearly see that they modified the mold from PLAYLINK to EXT. (PLAYLINK looks just like CONTROLLER… EXT. has a noticable rectangle around it, likely where the mold was modified), so I’d guess at some point in the run, they realized that the link cable might not happen, so they changed to EXT. Since the VB was released in Japan first, the mold was probably changed before any VBs made it to the US.

DogP

Hmm, but why spent money on changing the text if nothing else was planned for the port? My best guess is that nintendo planned some additional accessories for the vb that would have been connected using the link port and they changed the text during early development to not confuse users.

thunderstruck wrote:
Hmm, but why spent money on changing the text if nothing else was planned for the port? My best guess is that nintendo planned some additional accessories for the vb that would have been connected using the link port and they changed the text during early development to not confuse users.

That could be… though I never saw any hints that anything else was considered (barely saw any reference to the link cable). I’m guessing that they knew they were never going to make the link cable, so they got rid of PLAYLINK to reduce the number of calls asking “Where can I get a PLAYLINK cable for my PLAYLINK port?”

That, or another interesting thing is that the US manual calls it the GameLink port. Is it called PlayLink in the Japanese manual? Maybe they changed it to EXT. so all regions (JP, US, and presumably EU if it ever made it there) could use the same mold without inconsistencies on GameLink, PlayLink, etc.

DogP

DogP wrote:

thunderstruck wrote:
Hmm, but why spent money on changing the text if nothing else was planned for the port? My best guess is that nintendo planned some additional accessories for the vb that would have been connected using the link port and they changed the text during early development to not confuse users.

That could be… though I never saw any hints that anything else was considered (barely saw any reference to the link cable). I’m guessing that they knew they were never going to make the link cable, so they got rid of PLAYLINK to reduce the number of calls asking “Where can I get a PLAYLINK cable for my PLAYLINK port?”

That, or another interesting thing is that the US manual calls it the GameLink port. Is it called PlayLink in the Japanese manual? Maybe they changed it to EXT. so all regions (JP, US, and presumably EU if it ever made it there) could use the same mold without inconsistencies on GameLink, PlayLink, etc.

DogP

Maybe there is a hidden feature in those VirtualBoys to… wait for it… play Link in Mario Tennis.

DogP wrote:

The quality of the molds definitely vary, but I believe on a couple of the pictures above, you can’t see it in the picture because it’s one of the better quality ones, and the lighting/angle isn’t just right. But at the correct angle, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to see a slight rectangle (maybe Benjamin can confirm).

Yes. There is a noticeable rectangle on all of my “EXT.” systems. Some are ever so slight, such that you can only see them if you are closely looking for them.

That, or another interesting thing is that the US manual calls it the GameLink port. Is it called PlayLink in the Japanese manual? Maybe they changed it to EXT. so all regions (JP, US, and presumably EU if it ever made it there) could use the same mold without inconsistencies on GameLink, PlayLink, etc.

I checked my three Japanese manuals and found something interesting.

1. In my Japanese demo system’s manual (Serial Number V10037488), on the pages where it gives an illustration of the Virtual Boy along with descriptions, it shows “PLAYLINK” on the illustration, and then the connecting description reads: 外部拡張ジャック PLAYLINK

2. In the manual of my retail system with serial number V10084459 (this system has “PLAYLINK” on the actual system itself), it shows “EXT.” on the illustration page of the manual, and then the connecting description reads: 外部拡張ジャック EXT. Thus, assuming my system didn’t get put in the wrong box, it looks like they changed the instruction manual before changing the mold on the system itself.

3. In the manual of my retail system with serial number V10178013 (this system has “EXT.” on the actual system itself), it shows “EXT.” on the illustration page of the manual, and then the connecting description reads: 外部拡張ジャック EXT.

One will notice that the Japanese characters never change across the manuals. “ 外部拡張ジャック” translates to “External Extension Jack.”

The data that we have gathered so far does seem to indicate that the original mold for all Virtual Boy systems said “PLAYLINK,” and the first systems produced were released in Japan with “PLAYLINK” on them, but at some point in the production run, they decided that all systems from then on would say “EXT.” Thus, the area near the extension jack had to be modified, and this would have happened before any systems were shipped to America, since all North American systems seem to say “EXT.”

Now, the question is: what is the largest serial number on a Japanese Retail system that still has “PLAYLINK” on it? It seems that people with Japanese units around the 100,000 mark would best help to answer this question.

I have a Japanese model with PLAYLINK on it with V10093028.

I also have a North American model with EXT on it with VN100200591.

My Japanese VB serial number V10167485 has EXT port.

Also checking the manual it has EXT listed in the manual.

Attachments:

S/N: VN104568918

No signs of a JP sticker beneath the US one, and absolutely no traces of a rectangle around the EXT. mark, no matter how close I look 🙂

Here are all of the pertinent data that have been gathered up to this post:

VN10000940[8] has “EXT.” (USA Demo system)
VN10020059[1] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)
VN10031062[7] has “EXT.” (USA Platform Display System)
V10037488 has “PLAYLINK” (JPN Demo system)
V10084459 has “PLAYLINK” (JPN Retail System)
V10093028 has “PLAYLINK” (JPN Retail System)
VN10112924[2] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)
V10167485 has “EXT.” (JPN Retail System)
V10168481 has “EXT.” (JPN Retail System, later became USA Retail System VN10413008[5])
VN10169097[1] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)
V10178013 has “EXT.” (JPN Retail System)
V10187552 has “EXT.” (JPN Retail System, later became USA Retail System VN10321531[8])
VN10249735[7] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)
VN10252578[4] has “EXT.”
VN10321531[8] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System, was previously JPN Retail System V10187552)
VN10341495[7] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)
VN10397006[4] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)
VN10413008[5] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System, was previously JPN Retail System V10168481)
VN10456891[8] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System) – Note: No rectangle around “EXT.”
VN10468045[0] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)
VN10510512[9] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System, was previously a JPN Retail System)
VN10631799[6] has “EXT.” (USA Retail System)

Some important notes:
1. It looks like the last Japanese Virtual Boy system that was released with “PLAYLINK” on it occurred between unit # 93,028 and unit # 167,485 in the production run. If anybody has a serial number that reduces this range, reporting it to us would be beneficial. Also, if anyone has a serial number that throws a monkey wrench into this by falling beyond unit # 167,485, that would be very interesting.
2. Right now, it seems that a lot of North American units with serial numbers ranging from 321,531 to 510,512 could be reused Japanese retail systems. Any who might report about North American units in this range or beyond should check to see if there is that noticeable bump underneath the North American serial number sticker, indicating an original Japanese serial number sticker beneath it. This might give us a better idea as to how many Virtual Boy systems were actually made.

Don’t mean to pull up an old post, but I figured for the sake of data collection I’d add to this.

#V10047635 is a Japanese Kiosk unit, and #V10135382 is a Japanese retail unit.

USA System0
Serial Number: VN10245019[2]
It reads: “EXT.”

my only VB system for now

EXT

S/N : V10162816

Both of my US systems have EXT. on them.
VN10255715[0] and VN10497150[3]

I believe EXT. was just the US “name” for the port for the link cable. I think the Playlink was for Japan systems.

retronintendonerd wrote:
Both of my US systems have EXT. on them.
VN10255715[0] and VN10497150[3]

I believe EXT. was just the US “name” for the port for the link cable. I think the Playlink was for Japan systems.

Later Japanese systems got the EXT name as well, though. Looks like it was changed from Playlink to EXT at some point, we’re kind of trying to pin point where in the serial number list that happened.

 

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