The Virtual Boy: A pair of goggles on a stand
As most of you already know, the Virtual Boy is considered the worst console made by Nintendo. Along with the Sega CD, Sega 32X, 3D0 and other assorted calamities, it miserably praised its own crapiness. Believe me, you could read it between lines:
“Its unique design eliminates most external stimuli, totally immersing players into their own private universe with high-resolution red images against a deep, black background“
…just in case you got immersed in a coma after reading that:
“Every Virtual Boy game has the option to pause automatically every 15-30 minutes to remind the player to take a break, to prevent undue eye strain and possible headaches”
So there you have it, Nintendo kindly warned us all about this sunken ship since day one and no one listened.
Now let me take you on a brief journey to the past and share a related story to the “true 3D graphics” machine.
1995 – Release Year
At my hometown Barranquilla, Colombia, there was a guy named Juan Carlos DÃaz, also known as “muro” (the wall), due to his great (but overhyped) goalkeeping skills. “Muro” was the first guy I ever saw playing the Virtual Boy at a local video game site called GAMEMANIA. Immediate fear of catching eye disease prevented me from placing my eyes on those binoculars. The funny thing is that the only guy I actually saw playing it was “muro”. He ALWAYS WAS THERE. In fact, thanks to him I never touched that piece of garbage.
A year passed and the Virtual Boy had already descended into dead stock. The machine stand that was once the home of Juan Carlos, now stood alone as a monument of its former self. No longer appreciated by fans and no longer working (and no Juan Carlos to be seen), my chances to ever play it were scarce until life offered me a new opportunity when I visited a friend’s house (his name Jonathan). “There you go, a Virtual Boy in a family house, a more hygienic machine!”, I thought. Out of curiosity I asked Jonathan to let me play it, but sadly (?), the Virtual Boy was dead for good, I could perceive it in him.
Back to the Future (2008)
I recently got in touch with Jonathan and in the midst of our conversation the Virtual Boy subject strangely surfaced. We laughed and trashed the console, but I still sensed tormented feelings on him. I told him that the only guy I saw playing that thing in Barranquilla was Juan Carlos DÃaz, to which he immediately responded:
“That was the guy who told me to buy it!”
What are the chances!? This is a small world indeed.
So 13 years have passed and I haven’t touched the Virtual Boy for once. I always felt that spending my money to get only 2 colors on a screen was a rip off. For instance, what will you rather play, RED and BLACK golf or the classic 8-bit NES golf? After watching the screenshots, the decision is pretty clear.
Red Alarm: Supposedly a flying game
Nintendo simply got it all wrong. Just one year later came the Nintendo 64 along with Super Mario 64, full of brilliant colors and 3d gameplay which made the Virtual Boy look totally outdated, obsolete and the worthy owner of a place at the nearest closet.
Super Mario 64: A defining moment in gaming history
If only we could have got something closer to this picture things would definitely have been different.
What immersive red and black graphics should look like
Today the Virtual Boy has become a “hot” collector’s item which suggests that people just can’t get enough of its rubbishness. They keep waking up each day, turning ON those goggles, trying to find “true 3D graphics” and “parallel universes” and 15-30 minutes later get caught in frustration, eye strain and failed hope.
- “muro’s” whereabout is currently unknown (he is for sure immersed in his own private universe of pain), blame it on the red and black machine.