Ranking Nintendo’s Consoles #11: Virtual Boy

 

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11. The Virtual Boy (1995)

The Virtual Boy proved to be a dismal failure for Nintendo. It was an absolute bona-fide disaster and it supposedly forced the retirement of creator Gunpei Yokoi, the brilliant mind behind the once successful Game & Watch (not to mention legendary producer of such games as Metroid, Donkey Kong and Mario Bros.). It didn’t take long before Nintendo realized their mistake, and just months after its release, Nintendo decided to pull the plug.

The 32-bit system powered by six AA batteries was marketed as the first portable video game console capable of displaying “true 3D graphics”. Designed as a set of red coloured VR goggles mounted on a tripod with a controller wired to it, the Virtual Boy demanded users hunch over and cramp their back in order to play. It was weird, and perhaps too weird for its own good. In many ways however, it was ahead of its time. The console featured sharp, high-resolution graphics and was capable of some extraordinary gameplay. Unfortunately, the system was largely overshadowed by its controversial LED (Light Emitting Display) technology which rendered the visuals in monochromatic red on black. Even worse, the system was not intended for use by children under the age of seven, and displayed warnings on the box and in the manual that cautioned users about long-term side effects including permanent damage to the eyes. Those who did purchase the console complained about sickness, flashbacks, and painful migraines. Although the system was a huge failure, diehard fans still defend it to this day, praising the quality of games and the well-designed controller featuring a symmetrical button configuration, dual control pads, and comfortable handles. (Ricky D)

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