Nintendo’s Famous Flop – The Virtual BoySeptember 14, 2020
Nintendo has a pretty solid track record with most of it’s products. Going way back to even their first foray into video games consoles and hand held devices to today (which spans nearly 35 years), there has been very few missteps. Even their most recent low period with the WiiU, still left a relatively OK taste in most of the adopter’s mouths.
But, roll back a little bit further in history and we can talk a bit about the Virtual Boy. The Virtual Boy came out in 1995, nestled right between the end of the Super Nintendo’s reign and their new eventual power house, the Nintendo 64. The device was the brain child of the original Game Boy creator, Gunpei Yokoi.
Virtual Reality At Home?
The Virtual Boy was the first quasi-successful and affordable home solution for virtual reality. It made many concessions to get to the market. These concessions probably sealed it’s fate as being one of the lowest selling consoles in Nintendo’s history. The main concession that most people think of with this system is it’s used of red and black graphics. This was for two main reasons. First, to keep costs down for both the displays and the hardware needed to process the images. Second, it helped the battery life of the unit (when you wanted to go portable with it). Of course, the overall design, while functional left most people in an uncomfortable situation. The unit was too big to wear on your head, so it was propped on a stand and you insert your face into the view finder. Neck strain was common as the stand was not very adjustable.
Only 22 games in total were released on this console and less than 800,000 consoles were sold world wide. Many factors contributed to it’s failure, but one can’t admire the lengths that Nintendo will go for something original and ahead of it’s time.
What do you think of the Virtual Boy?