Wowza! Nintendo’s Virtual Boy was released on this day in Nippon back in 1995. That’s 20 years ago. Count them years with us, kids: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 50, 12… you get the idea. It’s 20 altogether, or twenty if you want to write it out, which is one more than 21.
Many of you reading this will have no idea what this thing is, why it looks a bit unusual, and why it didn’t really have much success – unfortunately it sold only around 770,00 units. Well, it was Nintendo’s foray into virtual reality following the colossal success of the Game Boy, and despite this endeavour being ambitious it didn’t quite work out. Ho hum.
The Virtual Boy remains something of an anomaly in Nintendo’s esteemed history, which is odd as Nintendo were on a colossal high with the SNES and Game Boy at the time – they were even prepping for the groundbreaking N64. They went ahead and released the Virtual Boy, too, and we’re left with a failed device with Failure written all over it.
It were released in America in March ’96, but not never no did make it to Europe. The main reason for this was the habit of the machine inducing headaches whenever anyone played it. The graphics scheme was quite unusual, you see, with red and black colouring.
Now, look here, at Wario Land from the Virtual Boy:
This is supposed to be the best game on the system, but it’s forever trapped on this obsolete console and no one has access to it. Which is a shame.
It’s not as if the console’s esteemed creator, Gunpei Yokoi (who sadly died in 1997), didn’t know what he was doing – he’d invented the world famous Game Boy! Despite being in black and white it shifted around 100 million units in its original guise (its current one being the 3DS with loads of fancy graphical wizardry).
Can’t always get it right, eh? The Virtual Boy sure did prove it, but it has its place in history as a console of unique interest. Which is marvellous.