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A Good Reason To Celebrate The Virtual Boy's 20th Anniversary

Illustration for article titled A Good Reason To Celebrate The Virtual Boys 20th Anniversary

Nintendo’s first foray into 3D gaming was released in Japan on July 21, 1995. On this, the Virtual Boy’s 20th birthday, let’s take a moment to appreciate all the joy it has brought gamers over the years. No really, I’m serious.

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One of Nintendo’s biggest missteps, the red-and-black 3D gaming machine that is the Virtual Boy also stands as a testament to the company’s dogged dedication of hardware innovation.

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Had most other companies released a major product that was met with a response as abysmal as the one the Virtual Boy received, they’d not only stop attempting to think outside of the box, they’d set up a defensive perimeter around it complete with attack dogs and sniper towers.

But Nintendo has gone on to bring us motion control, balance boards, controllers with built-in screens and—most apropos to this occasion—a 3D handheld that actually works, followed shortly by an updated version that actually works well.

So while the Virtual Boy may not have generated much in the way of direct joy, it was instrumental in establishing a Nintendo standard that would eventually make millions of gamers around the world incredibly happy.

Illustration for article titled A Good Reason To Celebrate The Virtual Boys 20th Anniversary
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Now back to the headache jokes.

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DISCUSSION

It’s a shame that it didn’t take off. It was ahead of its time. Nintendo’s always been pushing hardware forward - in addition to the Virtual Boy and everything after, we had:

Power Glove - motion control that existed before the Wii.

Power Pad - a body/fitness based controller that existed before the balance board and DDR

R.O.B. - the robotic operating buddy. I can’t think of a more dedicated/bizarre accessory, except maybe the massive Steel Battalion 2 controller.

Zapper and Super Scope 6 - while lightgun games did exist before Nintendo, the games created for them were pretty cool. To The Earth was my favorite NES zapper game, with Battle Clash and its sequel for SNES were great as well (entirely boss battles!)