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#1
Why I love the Virtual Boy
Posted on: 2014/11/29 8:53
Nintendoid!
Joined 2013/3/25
217 Posts
Long Time User (6 Years)
Feel free to list your own reasons.

Cheesy title aside, I just felt like making this. Virtual Boy isn't exactly loved or even liked by many. It's a niche console with a strong but small following. Reasons for appreciation of this console should be easy to summarize, right?

For me, it's very easy to sum up.

The Virtual Boy is weird.

... And I love that about it.

The VB has almost nothing in common with or has much similarity to any other Nintendo console. It was Nintendo's only tabletop console, has a plug in controller yet is a single player console (again, blurs line between console and handheld), the controller has two D-Pads, the console's power source comes from the controller, the cartridges/cart slot use IDC connectors rather than PCB edge type connectors, uses an incredibly strange video display technology, has no power indicator light and the console is encased in a kind of plastic I have never seen used for any other Nintendo product, having a strange softness and the empty airspace inside makes the VB feel almost toy-like when held and felt.

And yet, the Virtual Boy is undeniably Nintendo-y, for lack of a better word. It still uses Nintendo's classic product catalog system, "VUE-VMTJ-USA", has Nintendo's logo stamped on virtually every detachable piece of the console, has that classic Nintendo repair service phone number sticker as seen on every other Nintendo console (1-800-255-3700), has high quality construction of the console, controller and other hardware typical of Nintendo at the time, the Virtual Boy is even durable to an extent, flying in the face of the delicate video display hardware inside and perhaps coolest of all, it really is a bizarre merging of the SNES + SuperFX and the Game Boy, in its graphics and selection of games.

I don't remember if this was spoken about in some Iwata Asks interview, but the gist always reminds me of the beauty in the Virtual Boy. Nintendo basically said (as a whole) they regret having produced and marketed the Virtual Boy as a standard Nintendo console, instead should have relegated it to a sort of electronic toy, due to its extremely experimental nature.

That, more than anything else, is why I love the Virtual Boy. It represents what Nintendo used to be, a company that took chances. The Virtual Boy is nothing but one big chance. It was experimental, a bit gimmicky, half-baked and probably not what Gunpei Yokoi intended at all, but Nintendo still had the balls to release it. Mind you, they quickly backpedaled and canceled the VB without so much as a whimper, but in many ways it changed Nintendo as a company, for the better and worse. Nintendo never did take a chance as big as the Virtual Boy agaub, but they didn't stop trying to innovate with hardware, as evident with the success of the Wii and DS. All that innovation ties directly into the biggest innovation Nintendo ever attempted, the Virtual Boy.

That and the games are fun. Yeah, almost forgot that.
Edited by 3DBoyColor on 2014/11/29 9:04
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#2
Re: Why I love the Virtual Boy
Posted on: 2014/12/2 3:04
Nintendoid!
Joined 2012/10/16
206 Posts
Long Time User (7 Years)
Since the success of the SNES, they have always tried to be something different. They seem to succeed really with only their actual licensed properties in most cases. I can't wait for them to return to a single screen. The dual screen is just another gimmick. Bringing back the "Gameboy" title would be epic.
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#3
Re: Why I love the Virtual Boy
Posted on: 2014/12/3 10:04
Nintendoid!
Joined 2013/3/25
217 Posts
Long Time User (6 Years)
Nintendo was most unique with the Virtual Boy, every attempt afterwords has been a lot safer. The DS and Wii did not use experimental bleeding edge technology like the Virtual Boy.

The DS's dual screens aren't a gimmick, they increase the total amount of screen real estate. Having two computer monitors isn't a gimmick either.

Game Boy is so painfully '90s, it would never fly today. People would complain that it discriminates against girls and however many different sexual personalities there are now today.

I think freshening up the handheld line once again would be a good idea. How about a headset that is capable of virtual reality? ;)
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#4
Re: Why I love the Virtual Boy
Posted on: 2014/12/4 2:54
Virtual Freak
Joined 2011/1/21
USA
57 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (8 Years) Top Donator: 2nd
I definitely agree with you on your reasons for loving it. It's certainly a unique little system, so much more personality than a typical one!

Alongside those, I too have a few other reasons I love it so much.

Besides the obvious 3D effects which are quite neat, I feel the system has a way of being immersive in such a way most consoles never can. With some head phones on and your eyes peering inside, you become completely submerged into the little red 32-bit world within. Combine the 3D with the immersive factor, and it sports a kind of believability you can't really quite get elsewhere. I feel I almost teleport when going in and out of the system.

The other factor, which is completely development sided, is the relative "horse power" it touts compared to other systems of the time. The processor is more than twice the power of the SNES or Genesis, and is capable of running at a smoother 50 fps compared to 20-30 typically, among other aspects.

Really though, there is much to love about the black sheep of the Nintendo console family. I know the 3D aspects aren't for everyone but I still can't quite get why the system isn't loved, or at least appreciated, more than it is (outside of maybe the library size and low amount of major software). I mean the most beloved handheld in the world, The Gameboy, only had 4 colors as well so it's strange I often hear that as a major complaint "in the wild".
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#5
Re: Why I love the Virtual Boy
Posted on: 2014/12/4 5:02
PVB Elite
Joined 2013/6/17
Canada
1167 Posts
Top10 Poster10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (6 Years)
Quote:

HollowedEmpire wrote:
Besides the obvious 3D effects which are quite neat, I feel the system has a way of being immersive in such a way most consoles never can. With some head phones on and your eyes peering inside, you become completely submerged into the little red 32-bit world within. Combine the 3D with the immersive factor, and it sports a kind of believability you can't really quite get elsewhere. I feel I almost teleport when going in and out of the system.

I mean the most beloved handheld in the world, The Gameboy, only had 4 colors as well so it's strange I often hear that as a major complaint "in the wild".


I hear you on the immersion point. It's like entering your own little world while you play. For me it's almost like going back in time when I play it, which is really cool feeling.

I agree about the point about the Gameboy. People blasted the VB for not being in color, yet a year after the Virtual Boy the entirely Black and White Gameboy Pocket comes out...to an amazing reception! Ok, it was a nicer display than the older Gameboy, but still it had nothing on the VB's crisp, non ghosting High res display. I just don't get it.

I was playing Mario's Tennis last night, and I was just struck by the characters for some reason. I didn't quite notice it before, but the characters are really the most lively and detailed I have ever seen the Mario gang in any game near that sort of time frame. It's really cool to see the characters drawn in a similar style to how they were presented in the childrens cartoon books that were available in the early 90's (Yes I still have my Super Mario 3 book =P). I'm struggling to think of another Mario game where they had this sort of art style..all the games before were the smaller, simpler sprites, and the games after were simple polygonals, and once the hardware got better Mario turned all "computer generated" looking. Kind of made me appreciate the game a little more =D
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