Nintendo Virtual Boy (1995 – 1996)

The Virtual Boy was a 32-bit video game console released by Ninteno in 1995 to the Japanese and US markets (it was never released in Europe).

Although advertised as a portable system, the console was a table top model requiring a flat surface to rest on, with the player looking into a headset. It was promoted as the first portable game console to  provide an immersive 3D experience.

The display used red LEDs for cost reasons, but the console was still initially expensive.

The 3D effects were a result of two linear arrays, each one directed to an eye that are presented to the player through oscillating mirrors that cause the Virtual Boy to emit a murmur. The 3D effect could cause eye strain, and there was an option to pause the game every fifteen or thirty minutes.

Nintendo initially showcased three games for the Virtual Boy, and planned to release two or three each month. By the time is was discontinued, 22 titles had been released.

The cartridges (‘Game Paks’) themselves were not compatible with any other Nintendo system, and unlike other Nintendo Game Paks, had a small removable cover for the pins.

The Virtual Boy proved to be a commercial failure and was discontinued in 1996.  Nintendo did not release another 3D console until 2011 with the Nintendo 3DS.

Sources / Resources