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Whatever Happened To The Virtual Boy?

Nintendo's virtual experience wasn't quite as well received as they hoped

A front angle shot of the Nintendo Virtual Boy with controller and games, shot on a white reflective surface in the studio with studio lighting.

With Nintendo now signalling that it is interested in VR again, the company would do well to learn some lessons from the Virtual Boy. This 1995 console, with its monochrome games and depth of field effects never quite delivered on the promise of virtual reality, and support for the system ceased just nine months after its release.

How did it work?

The Virtual Boy is a battery-powered tabletop games console, featuring a headset with integrated 3D display and a 32-bit NEC V810 processor. The headset contains two 1×224 LED arrays, each of which are reflected by a rapidly oscillating mirror to provide the illusion of a full 384×224 image per eye.

How much does it cost today?

While the initial cost of obtaining a Virtual Boy is pretty high, with prices climbing as high as £200 for the machine itself, depending on the condition and whether it’s bundled with any games, most of the software is comparatively cheap. Some of the better games such as Teleroboxer can be had for less than £10 boxed, and despite games for the Virtual Boy only being released for under a year, some can even be found brand new and sealed.

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