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Shoshinkai Software Exhibition 1994

Every year Nintendo of Japan traditionally introduces their newest games and consoles to gamers and insiders on their own tradeshow, the Shoshinkai (スペースワールド). At the end of 1994, it was the Virtual Boy's big day in the Harumi International Trade Center in Tokio, when it was first shown to the public.

Prehistory: After it came out in early 1994 that Gnpei Yokoi's R&D1 team and Reflection Technology had been working on a 3D console for 2 years, rumours and artist impressions of project Virtual Reality and VR32 came up all over the world. Everybody was anxious to know about the wondermachine Yokoi may have developed this time, after he already invented the incredibly successful Game Boy before.

As big as the hype was before Shoshinkai, as big was the disappointment when finally the curtain fell to reveal Nintendo's "wondermachine" to the public... A bizarre looking, bulky red piece of hardware on a stand, plus only three games in early state, which all looked pretty poor and were absolutely nothing revolutionary. What should people think about that? Still it was from Nintendo, the biggest and most respected videogame company of the world, but the three playable games shown, "Mario Bros. VB", "Space Pinball" and "Teleroboxer" were half finished at best and really nothing that could excite the visitors of the show. A lot of them even complained that the system was uncomfortable and that it would cause headaches after a short time.
Not only the games, but also the Virtual Boy itself was only shown in prototype form, the display systems were running off AC Adaptors. The displays were placed around some blue "pillars", which had Virtual Boy logos on them and screens, on which demovideos were running. Hosts explained the system to visitors.

Nintendo said, that they wanted to sell 3 million systems and 14 million games in the first year! Besides the three playable games shown on Shoshinkai, 2 more games were annouced to be available at the launch of the system, which was said to in june in Japan and in Europe in late '95 / early '96. In the following months respectively 2 to 3 games were announced to be released, 12 third parties were on board at that point of time. The price was said to be 19.800 yen, which were about $200 at that time.
Nintendo's president Hiroshi Yamauchi told the UK-based magazine Total!: "It has always been Nnintendo's strategy to introduce new hardware systems only when technological breakthroughs allow us to offer innovative entertainment at a price that appeals to a worldwide audience. Virtual Boy delivers this and more. It will transport game players into a virtual utopia with sights and sounds unlike anything they have ever experienced - all at the price of a current home video system".

After shoshinkai, not many positive articles about Virtual Boy were in the media. For many, the system already was a "Virtual Flop"...