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Welcome to the third dimension! On this site you will learn everything about Nintendo's Virtual Reality experiment, the Virtual Boy. Released back in 1995 only in Japan and North America, the system failed all along the line and disappeared from the market less than a year later, quietly and without any official word. Only 22 games were released for the Virtual Boy during its short lifespan. Here we want to build a memorial for this unique oddity of videogame history. Dedicated to its brilliant creator, Gunpei Yokoi.


Virtual Boy at Swiss Games Fair 1995

Did you know that Nintendo showed the Virtual Boy not only in Japan and the United States, but also at European events? Seppatoni has tried the Virtual Boy at the Swiss Games Fair in 1995 following an invitation by the Nintendo Club magazine and has shared a little write-up and a scan of the invitation letter.

"In 1995, the Swiss and Austrian edition of the Nintendo Club magazine reported in detail about the upcoming Nintendo Virtual Boy. One day, Club members from Eastern Switzerland received an exclusive invitation to the "Schweizer Spielemesse und Mobautech" ("Swiss Games Fair and Mobautech") in St. Gallen in August 1995, which takes place in September each year. The special thing about it: The club members were allowed to try out the Virtual Boy behind closed doors at the Nintendo booth.

Since I too was a happy recipient of such an invitation and St. Gallen was only half an hour away from our place of residence, I went to the toy trade fair with my parents at the OLMA site. I remembered the still strong presence of the NES at the Nintendo booth, which finally gave me the opportunity to purchase the long-coveted The Legend of Zelda.

With the invitation for the VB test, I turned to a member of the staff who led me to some unobtrusively placed cabins with closed curtains in the back area. Immediately the curtain was pulled on an unoccupied chamber, and there stood the brand new Virtual Boy. After a brief instruction, I was allowed to put my hands on the unit for the first time behind closed curtain to play Mario's Tennis. I was immediately impressed by the fantastic 3D effect and the splendid presentation of the game with numerous well-known Mario elements like Lakitu or the hills in the background. So I dived into the red-black world for about 15 minutes before I had to leave the cabin again. But at least I've noticed that during this time, players on the device next door have already changed twice.

When I asked when the device would be available to us, I was told that it would probably be out in early 1996."


Rustual Boy - A WIP Virtual Boy emulator in Rust

Rustual Boy, a new Virtual Boy emulator written in Rust, is currently in development by ferris.

This emulator is not quite complete, but covers quite a bit of the CPU, memory mapping, and video hardware. It also contains a basic command-line debugger supporting disassembly, mem dump, breakpoints, etc. Many ROM's are fully compatible so far, but there's still some fundamental things that aren't yet implemented, such as some floating point flags/exceptions, bit string op's, etc. There are also a few bugs lurking around :)

Performance isn't fantastic yet, but the emulator should be playable at least. YMMV. Naturally, I'd like to get the core emulation logic in place before focusing too much on that.

A more detailed status/compatibility section will be written when the emu is complete enough for it to be relevant.

More info and discussion in our forums!


Ben Heck's Virtual Man

In the last episode of the Ben Heck Show, Ben took apart a Nintendo Virtual Boy to see what was inside and how it worked. Now, he takes those same parts and rebuilds it in a new way. A little smaller, a little lighter and with custom IPD/focus controls so the VB can be worn on the head like a modern VR helmet.


Ben Heck tears down the Virtual Boy

In the latest episode of The Ben Heck show, Ben takes a look at the Virtual Boy. In the course of the twenty-something minute teardown, he not only completely takes apart a Virtual Boy console while inspecting its inner workings, but also comes up with a simple way of fixing the all-too-well-known display problems -- I'm sure we'll soon see those clamps mass produced and for sale by somebody, somewhere *hint, hint*.

Be sure to keep an eye on the show's Youtube channel, since next week's episode will be trying to improve the system now that it's repaired and disassembled!