So last week I talked a little about the history of the Virtual Boy and then left you hanging. Yes I did find a metric ton of Virtual Boys at Wal-Mart in the summer of '96 in Tennessee, but the amazing thing was that they were on clearance for around $25 each! Yes, I grabbed one and I still have it today!
I really had no interest in buying this Nintendo product, but for that price, brand new, I couldn't pass it up. The system was indeed portable as advertised and ran off 6 AA batteries. I did use it as a tabletop game sometimes, but when I got lazy I became an expert at laying on the couch and balancing the Virtual Boy on my face and chest. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who did that? I had heard that the red and black tones of the game along with the 3-D graphics caused people to have headaches, I personally never had that problem, but I can definitely see how players could have this problem. Fresh out of the box the Virtual Boy came with my favorite game for the Virtual Boy...
Mario Tennis! I was really surprised with how fun this game was. It's a casual game that can be played in a few minutes, the graphics were simple but nice and the control was solid. Speaking of control...
The controller was similar to an original NES controller. I can't quite remember why they had two D-pads, but I remember not using the right one at all. The layout was pretty easy to memorize if you were a previous Nintendo player, which is a good thing since you really couldn't look down while your face was stuck in the visor. My only small issue with the controller is that it is where the 6 AA batteries are stored to power on the system. This creates a bit of weight in the controller and makes it a little uncomfortable to hold for longer periods of time.
This is a backside view of the Virtual Boy. Not much to see here, just a cool design and sleek looking system.
Since I did enjoy Mario Tennis, I searched out and bought a few more games for the system including Mario Clash, Wario Land, Teleroboxer and a Japanese Baseball game. Unfortunately by the time I got into the Virtual Boy there were little to no games for sale at our usual game stops including Babbage's and Electronics Boutique. There were only 22 games released for the system and I just may try to grab them all some day. Until that day comes I have the memories of one of Nintendo's biggest failures sitting on a shelf in my basement and I'm glad I own it. Thank you Mr. Gunpei Yokoi for creating this 32-bit, three dimensional footnote in gaming history!
Do you have any memories of the Virtual Boy? Let us know about it in the comments section below!