For the anniversary of 20 years since the launch of the Nintendo Virtual Boy console, I allowed myself to restore the article about it, by my own standards. The product is considered to be one of the biggest misfires in the industry, posthumously wearing the banner of a cult collectible artifact. I invite you to an extensive description.
Birth of the concept
Nintendo has been playing games using 3D technology since the days of Famicom. Several games that used stereoscopic depth were released on this platform in Japan. However, to fully enjoy the new technology had to buy special glasses. The technology was quite expensive and not very successful, so eventually the project was suspended.
Nintendo, however, in the 3D issue has never been in favor of winning. The project to create a console based on this technology was entrusted to the legendary engineer of the company – Gunpei Yokoi (Creator of the portable console Gameboy and many other devices and toys under the sign N).
Playing with stereoscopic 3D in the early 90s of the 20th century, was still an enterprise draining the pockets of the company’s owners. Meanwhile, on the horizon, she drew another console with an innovative 64-bit processor, the project of which will soon process a higher priority than Virtual Reality-32 (the name of the prototype Virtual Boy and, referring to virtual reality, and the number 32, is, of course, the number of bits in the processor).
Against this, the cost of the VR-32 project began to be cut along the very line of resistance, resulting in the taking of the cheapest components on the market.
Red honey was the cheapest possible solution at the time. Although Nintendo in its defense argued that the color display causes excessive jumps in the picture, and the blue Led Was not clear enough and too expensive. The whole technology is to create a red image on a black background with two very fast rotating mirrors. The 32-bit processor proved to be necessary to synchronize two different images with each other.
There is a theory that if the project left the Studio a little later it would be possible to apply the technology founded in 1996, namely niebieskio-green Led. But that didn’t happen.
The entrance to the market
At Shoshinkai on February 14, 1994, a new system from Nintendo was announced and presented to the world. For a wider audience, Virtual Boye’s presentation hit the Consumer Electronics Show on January 6, 1995.
The starting price was supposed to be $ 180, which was not a small price, as for a portable console. The droplet media network was quite loud and took a lot of budget. For example, the Blockbuster store offered to rent a console with two games for two days. When returning received a discount coupon with a discount of $ 10 when buying a console. Another store offered $ 100 to anyone who accesses SNESa with three games to be able to buy Unraveling The Enigma Of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy themselves a Virtual fight at an attractive price of $ 69.95.
Unfortunately, it was the autumn dust. Released July 21, 1995 in Japan and August 14 in the US console, in a short time it ceased to sell itself, which recorded not only Nintendo, but also the industry media. In the short period of its existence, it is estimated that only about. 770 thousand copies.
The kit included an eyepiece, display case, stand, Mat, instructions and Mario Tennis game.
Assembling all the elements is simple, but you have to be careful with the plastic elements. First, you need to apply a protective cover for the eyepiece, so that the projected image will be better visible. The stand can be attached, starting with only one side, you should pay attention to this when possible dismantling of the device. The stand has a special hook that allows the tongue and photos from the device. The last module to build is the pad.
Nails in the coffin
It’s a pretty lightweight device. At the bottom is a rack mount, a port in the rain, and a port of never-designed cable for multiplayer gaming. There is also a volume control and input Jack for headphones. On the top of the device there are two knobs for adjusting the depth and sharpness of the image. However, it is not recommended to mess with them too often, as this often leads to damage to the tape inside the device.
Pad from the Nintendo Virtual Boy was both a source of power the entire console. Mounted to it pojemniczek batteries (6xAA) or purchased separately the camera 10B. Operation time on batteries is approximately 7 hours. In holding the pad is very convenient, but with the full position of the battery is quite heavy. It shows certain similarities plan issued in a later period is for the Nintendo Gamecube console.
What’s more, up until the days of the optional accessory for the 3DS console (Circle Pad Pro), was the only pad for the portable Nintendo console to have two control buttons. If the controller is equipped with a camera should be careful not to fall out during the game. Handling drops initially can be challenging because during the game we don’t have the ability to look at it. However, very few games use the full controller description.
Games were on 60-contact carriers. Small and narrow, with an extra removable dirt cap. The storage capacity was 128 MB, but the full potential could never be used. The console has a 16-bit stereo speaker, which you can adjust with a special knob. Perhaps you can plug in the headphone output, in Japan were even sold specially designed headphones to the console with the serial number VUE-014.
The console was released only in the Japanese and American region, so we are dealing with only two publishing markets. Virtual Boy, like the rest of the portable console is free from regional blocking (this situation in the portable Nintendo hardware lasted until the release of DSi) has therefore no problem with importing games from another region. 19 games were published in Japan, where the console was shorter life than in America, and there remained only 14 titles. USA has only three names exclusive to your region, and Japan is 8. The output price of the games ranged around the amount of $ 40.
Before the mass release of Virtual battle, several prototypes of the model were made. First appeared at The shoshinkai and Consumer Electronics Show. He’s got a blue-red hull. Two more were shown only in Japan. The first not kept no rulings on eyepiece, the second released in a white box and not had described ports. Another prototype was released in the US and featured only the logo on the site, and will. It had to be handed over to test game testers. There is also a special exhibit, which is 2.5 times larger than the standard model.