Virtual Boy, The VR Pioneer Is 25-year-old [VIDEO]

Game Boy’s father wanted to use stereoscopic 3D for his machine, dedicatedly researching the solution for VR, and finally, Virtual Boy became his last work.


Virtual Boy turns 25, a commercial failure of Nintendo that pioneered virtual reality

Today’s is a special anniversary as it marks 25 years since the launch in Japan of Virtual Boy, one of the biggest commercial failures of Nintendo, but precisely for this reason also one of the collectibles most appreciated by fans. The truth is that we can talk about this console, which never premiered in Europe, as being ahead of its time due to its promise of a primitive virtual reality based on the use of stereoscopic 3D images.



„I was one of those who always insisted on doing something with 3D glasses” – Shigeru Miyamoto


“Virtual Boy was, in my opinion, a commercial failure,” said Satoru Iwata in one of his recollections.  “It would have been understandable to me if Nintendo had experienced a kind of trauma when it came to the 3D genre. However, its efforts with 3D technology persisted tenaciously. And it could be said that this boldness has finally paid off. I think it’s an interesting succession of events,” he said of the birth of Nintendo 3DS and its commitment to stereoscopic 3D.



Shigeru Miyamoto was also present at that talk with several of the Nintendo geniuses. “At that time I was interested in virtual reality, and I was one of those who was always insisting on doing something with the 3D glasses.” This led him to speak directly to Game Boy’s father and one of the leading figures in Nintendo history, the sadly deceased Gunpei Yoko. The Japanese admit that he was not involved in the project because at the time he was working on the development of the Nintendo 64.



With its characteristic red and black graphics and 3D graphics simulation, this semi-portable machine failed to attract the attention of the mass public. Iwata noted that its graphics were “a slight disadvantage in an era where video game graphics were increasing in quality by leaps and bounds.” Miyamoto also believes that defining it as a console was a mistake, since being a toy, and with more than 100,000 units in Japan, it would have been considered a success.


“Virtual Boy had to solve two important aspects, and it came to light without solving either of them. It is not that the machine itself was a wrong product, but that we were wrong in the way we displayed it,” said the father of Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. The platform had a small catalog of games, without having a star title that showed all its virtues, so its popularity was low. At the gates of the Nintendo 64 premiere, the machine ended up falling into oblivion.



After four years in development and a $ 10 million investment in technology, Virtual Boy ceased production just one year after its birth. It did it with a catalog of 22 video games. But despite not achieving the desired success, Nintendo has never forgotten this machine, to the point that Nintendo Labo included a tribute to the Virtual Boy.



From Sensorama to Virtual Boy, from Oculus to PS VR, different machines have come and went, many different strange solutions have been born, but the most perfect realization of virtual reality seems to remain the Holy Grail of the IT world forever.

One thing is for sure: modern VR, but at least the 3DS owes much to the great red console.

Virtual Boy, we salute you!

Happy Birthday!

Source: 3DJuegos

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Praesagus is a Role-Playing enthusiast and a huge fan of most story-driven games. He's also a diehard fan of everything related to Star Wars, Star Trek, or Fallout and likes to divide his free time between his beloved girlfriend and the retro games he loves so much.

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