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What was Nintendo thinking? By Gruel

It was early 1995, and the SNES and the Genesis were enjoying its final months of dominating the home console market. Sega and Sony announced there own 32-Bit systems to be released later this year, and Nintendo released a statement saying there next generation console, the 64-Bit Nintendo 64 will be delayed another year. But Nintendo did have a 32-Bit system, err let’s say portable here ready to go, but there was just one catch. It was a Virtual Reality headset with it’s only color being red. It came out billed the ”Virtual Boy.”

The Virtual Boy launched in April 1995 with 4 games. It came packed with Mario’s Tennis, and other games available at launch were Teleroboxer, Red Alarm(space shooter), and Galactic Pinball. And on a side note it’s funny how the Virtual Boy had twice as many games at launch the N64 did. Any ways what came in the box was the Virtual Boy headset gear, a tripod to hold the headset on, a copy of Mario’s Tennis, and a controller. The controller was rather unique, because it featured a control pad on the left and right side of the controller so it was perfect for both left and right handed people.

There was not that much of a variety of games for the Virtual Boy. It only ended up having about 15 games for it in the US during it’s life span. The games were mostly strategy/puzzle games. There were only 2 sports games, not including Teleroboxer, but they were Golf and Virtual League Baseball, none of the other major sports titles were featured. You did have a couple of flight shooters with Red Alarm and Vertical Force. And there were plenty of puzzle/strategy games like Jack Bros., Panic Bomber, Mario Clash and 3-D Tetris. And there were a couple of action/adventure games like Waterworld and Wario Land. That’s it. I believed I covered the entire Virtual Boy library right there. Nice Variety, huh? Too bad there wasn’t any RPG’s. Nintendo Power showed screen shots of the VB’s first RPG called Dragon Hopper, which was scheduled to be released in late 1996, but the title was dropped due to low Virtual Boy sales.

And as far as 3rd Party support goes, Nintendo released all of the Virtual Boy games except for Waterworld, which was released by Acclaim I believe. So the Virtual Boy only had a total of 2 publishers, but it did have quite a bit of developers. T & E Soft worked on Golf, and Red Alarm. Hudson Soft worked on Panic Bomber and Vertical Force. And there were a couple others too besides Nintendo themselves, but that still isn’t a lot of companies any ways.

The Virtual Boy was capable of pulling off 32-Bit graphics, but the color of the graphics were only shades of red. That’s it. You want description of graphics, well all I got to say it was 32-Bit polygons and sprites in Red, that’s it. But any ways a lot of the games for the Virtual Boy had tremendous graphics like Wario Land, and Telero Boxer, for example, featured some of the best sprites I’ve ever seen, but not too many Virtual Boy games used polygons even though they’re capable of pulling them off.

Well, I only got 4 Virtual Boy games, and I’ve seen video footage for about the rest of them, and I gotta admit, some games featured great music and sound effects, such as Wario Land, Golf, and Nester’s Funky Bowling, but some, however, featured sound that could’ve been pulled off on the old NES(Mario Clash). The story for good sound for the Virtual Boy is exactly the same for sound on the Game Boy, and that is you gotta put a lot of effort into it to pull off some really great sound effects.

If any of you are wondering when I got my Virtual Boy, I got in the summer of ‘97, just 2 years after it came out for only $20 at Wal-Mart, yes, it dropped $130 in value within 2 years of its release. And I got the 3 games for $5 each. I knew the Virtual Boy was gonna be a complete disaster, but for some dumb reason, Nintendo didn’t and they ended up with there first failure in the US. Also the Virtual Boy proved to be a bigger disaster than other failed systems. The Virtual Boy only lasted 10 months. Other failed Sega systems like the Sega CD and 32X each lasted about 2 years.

That’s the story on the Virtual Boy, now let’s get down to the final ratings rundown:

Graphics Capabilities: 7.1
Sound Capabilities: 6.2
Variety of games: 2.8
3rd Part Support: 0.7

Overall: 4.2

4 / 10

Rated: Apr 27, 2000 • 00:00