Pioneering VR in the 80's: A Look Back at the Nintendo Virtual Boy

By GhostRyder
Dec 7, 2015
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  1. Virtual reality has become something of a fascination once again as consumer devices like the Oculus Rift are almost ready to hit the scene along with other competitors. Soon anyone will be able to enjoy VR in all its glory. But why is it that the idea of VR for home users never took off before and now it seems like it'll finally come to fruition?

    During the 80's and 90's, Nintendo experimented with many different ways to make the home console better, add to the user experience, and keep consoles fresh and fun. We can find plenty of examples in the add-ons for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) like the Power Pad, Power Glove, and Zapper -- all enabling new ways to play games.

    By mid-90's the Super Nintendo was becoming obsolete and newer consoles were still a year away from release. During the wait for the Nintendo 64, the company produced a new console hoping it would tide people over until the N64 was ready and bring a new experience to the home console experience. The Virtual Boy was born.

    Read the complete article.

  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    "The Virtual Boy was Nintendo's first and only 32-bit game console released to the market." ?
    Nintendo's Game Boy Advance series is both a game console and powered by a 32-bit RISC ARM7TDMI. The 80+ million sold should give it a pretty high profile.

    Editor's note: A mistake in editing, now corrected.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2015
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,142   +483

    I had a virtual boy. It was neat but the eye strain was uber annoying
  4. WangDangDoodle

    WangDangDoodle TS Addict Posts: 199   +70

    I still remember those mid-90's years vividly, and I have to admit that I didn't feel like my SNES was becoming obsolete at the time. Quite the opposite, really. When Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct hit the shelves in 94, it felt like a breath of fresh air.

    I believe I already had the Sega (Genesis) Mega-CD 2 at that point, which game developers didn't seem to have a clue what to do with. The Atari Jaguar made it's appearance as well. It was superior to the SNES in terms of hardware, but failed in every other sense. There were so many tragic attempts at stepping up to the 32 bit plate. Thankfully, the PS1 came around in 95 (EU), and we finally knew which horse to bet on.

    I've never even heard of the Virtual Boy until I read this article, but it seems like just another obvious fail, and Nintendo should have known it wouldn't take. They've been lost in the woods ever since the days of the SNES. They're always trying innovate gaming with new technologies, and it never works as well as they advertise. As for VR tech... it may have come a long way since then, but it's still not ready. I'll be waiting for the second generation of Oculus Rift and it's ilk before jumping on that train.
  5. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder You know, that one guy with the PC Topic Starter Posts: 2,189   +589

    Oops, forgot about the Gameboy Advance having been a 32bit system...My bad.

    I actually enjoy playing on it a bit at least with a few of the games. It really was just a bit early to the market and didn't have the correct tech needed to make it something truly special. I do not think a lot of things about the console were really thought out mostly because it was rushed so they could focus efforts on the Nintendo 64.
  6. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

    I have one that still functions perfectly. I use it very rarely... mostly just to show it off.
    GhostRyder likes this.
  7. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Booster Posts: 216   +39

    Yep, got one at a crazy sale and recall my kids, under ten, projectile vomiting from the effect.. blew All that money (prolly most of the Christmas budget) and about 45 seconds on usenet woulda' educated me plenty.

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