Original Post

I have a few Virtual Boys around my house, but I noticed something strange with the serial number sticker on this one…

If you look at the sticker, it looks like a smaller sticker or something is underneath it. Any idea what that would be?

16 Replies

Hmm… interesting. I just checked a few of mine, and I see that on the higher number stickers (around VN103), while the lower numbers all have normal stickers. Maybe it’s one of those anti-theft stickers combined into the serial number sticker… I dunno. I guess you could try peeling it back to see what’s under there, but I’m guessing it’s not anything too exciting.


My VB that starts with VN1047 has no bump.

I would remove the SN sticker, but I have a feeling if it is another sticker underneath, it would be destroyed.

Oh… hmm, I dunno then. I only looked at about 8 of mine, but I’ve got a bunch of VBs around V100-V101 and they have no bump, but the ones around V103s do… I could check the rest and see if there’s any others that don’t fit the pattern.


The sticker under it looks to be pretty thick, doesn’t it? Looks like it won’t be destroyed so easily. You should carefully remove a corner of the serial sticker to see what’s underneath. I’m curious. 😀

Don’t the Japanese VBs have a smaller SN sticker? I saw a picture in the SN thread (page 2 I believe) that made me think that. Anyway, my thought is maybe they used the wrong mold or something for that batch of covers?

I went ahead and took the plastic parts off (I don’t know what you would call that piece of plastic, maybe the tripod connector?), and found the number “3” on the part I posted about. My other VBs had a 1 (VN102399491) and a 6 (VN104716715). I am guessing those numbers refer to the mold revision or something?

As a side note, the one with the 6 was starting to look pretty sloppy on the back! Looked like someone may have been welding nearby, and a bunch of metal splattered on the mold (but just really fine dots, not huge spots). The outside still looked good, just the inside was bad looking. I have a picture, but it came out poorly, and I already put that plate back on (and I don’t want to take that one apart anymore, it is my original store bought one :))

I also did some measuring, and to the best of my ability, I came up with the bump being 0.00345 inches thick (0.087mm for the rest of the world). Because of the way the plastic was molded, I had to use a different plastic backplate to get my zero mark, so I can’t give a good estimate on how correct that thickness is. Anyway, that thickness is about the same thickness as 20lb copy paper (Sorry, I don’t know if the rest of the world uses 20lb paper as the default weight).

I will probably try to peel it off later, but I have no idea how to do it somewhat cleanly. I have a feeling it will be a big mess.

Holy crap, my VB was living a double life!

Is that a Japanese sticker below it? Here are the two SNs…

VN104130085 <- SN that I peeled off V10168481 <- SN that was underneath It looks like we have a mystery on our hands!


Heheheh… that’s cool! Probably when the VB bombed in JP worse than it did in the US, they shipped lots of unsold VBs to the US (or maybe they’re clearance VBs, and the $25 clearance worked better in the US than Japan, so they shipped them here to be cleared out).


What the… interesting find! So… is it a japanese unit? How does the rest of the bottom of the unit look like?

Yeah, thats what I don’t understand either… the rest of the VB is the same as the American VBs… (it says EXT for the link cable, which I think is supposed to be something else for Japanese, isn’t it?) But yeah, all the text on the bottom matches up exactly the same with all my other VBs.

I think what probably happened is maybe they just manufactured a bunch of new bottoms, switched out the old bottoms, relabeled the other plastic part, and then sent them to America because they were trying to clear out stock, or just catch up with American orders?

But I don’t think they would send them over here just to sell them on clearance, maybe they needed extra when they lowered the price? (not when they did the sub $100 clearance prices, but the other lowering, to $150 or whatever it was)

I guess what could have also happened is they may have mislabeled the units, and then had to relabel them (I could see them labeling them as the last step after they verify it works)

I dunno… I find it hard to believe they ever needed “extras” until they did the all-out clearance… I don’t think there was ever a shortage, since none of their other price drops really sparked sales. But yeah, that serial number sticker is only on the plate that attaches to the stand, so who knows if just that part or the entire VB was used. Since the bottom doesn’t say PLAYLINK, it sounds like it may just be that one piece, since that’d be pretty hard to change (although some of my systems do have a weird rectangle around EXT like the mold must have been modified at one time, but I doubt it was changed after the plastic piece was already made).

Pretty interesting either way though.


DogP, just out of curiosity, what is the highest and lowest SN you have that has the bump? We may be able to “date” when this happened somehow by doing that.

The other interesting thing I noticed, according to the hardware section, it says only 140,000 Japanese systems were sold and the covered up SN was 10168481, which would make it seem like it was almost 30,000 more than the Japanese market wanted.

It’s too bad we didn’t have a more complete SN list, but I guess it doesn’t really matter, just something interesting.

I keep meaning to go through all my VBs and post all the serial nums… but they’re not all in one place (or I should say… they’re all in different places :P). But I’ll try to dig through the ones that are convenient tonight and check the range w/ the bump.


Nice! Might there be a way to temporarily lift off the serial stickers to also get all the serials underneath? Maybe using hot air?

Adding oil to paper makes it transparent, and then once the oil dries the paper is no longer transparent. But the SN stickers may have a coating that would make the oil trick not work, I’m not really sure (plus you would want a non-odor oil that would dry clear). I wish I would have remembered that before I went and peeled off my old label!

I don’t think you’d want oil though, since it doesn’t really “dry”… it’d also possibly affect the adhesive (like many oils do to remove gumminess). What I’ve found works to see through paper is to use freeze spray (or flipping a compressed air can upsidedown and spraying)… the paper then goes back to normal when it unfreezes. But like you said, it’s kinda a glossy coated paper, so I dunno how well it’d work, and the cold may also affect the adhesive.


I successfully use hot air to remove most stickers (hot air gun at low setting or a hair dryer), as old as 30+ years. To remove the glue or at least dilute it it’s most often possible to uses gas/petrol/benzine (sometimes the not so aggressive methanol does the trick instead), it can be bought chemically clean in 100 ml bottles here in Sweden and is meant to be used as stain remover on clothes and such. There are also commercially available sticker-glue removers out there.

Perhaps they used the wrong stickers in the factory and relabeled them without removing the faulty one?


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