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Virtual Boy(Nintendo) - Review
Virtual Boy(Nintendo) - Review
Published by Saru786
Author review
Average 68%
Question Virtual Boy(Nintendo) - Review

Gameplay from Wario Land on the VB.

VB Promotional TV Commercial with the slogan of "A 3-D Game for a 3-D World"

Name: Virtual Boy
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Generation: Fifth Generation Console
Available: August 14, 1995(NA)
Discontinued: 1996
Units Sold: 770,000
Media: Cartridge

Welcome to my review for highly misunderstood Nintendo VG system, the Virtual Boy. I hopes you likes it a lots!


I'm having a hard time believing that I'm the only one who actually appreciated the Virtual Boy. Then again, Gyromite (NES) is one of my favorite games, and I think R.O.B. the Robot was under-appreciated. Not to mention that I don't like Metroid Prime. Therefore, my tastes are a bit unique, but I thought I'd throw my opinion into the mix anyway.


It's a bit bulky, but everything comes together nicely. The red and black color scheme is a bit disappointing, but I think the look is unique. It gives the games their own style -- especially Red Alarm. The red and black graphics are simply not as horrible as the vast majority of people make them out to be. Yes, it would have been nice to have more colors, but the graphics are stylish in red and black. As for the system's power -- it's not the strongest console, but for its time period it was certainly strong. It is a 32 bit console which makes use of a technology called "Reflective." This technology interposes two reflected images in the eye of the viewer in order to simulate a 3D environment. In other words, Gunpei Yokoi's creativity at one of its finest moments. Although Nintendo touted it as a portable, I think it serves its purpose just fine as a stand-alone tabletop console. According to Nintendo, the plan was to replace the GameBoy with the VB, but that was obviously over-optimistic. I think it would have been a fine third pillar in my Nintendo library, but it appears as if I'm alone on that position. Another issue I'd like to address are the reports that the console tends to induce headaches, nausea, or eye strain. I have never found one of these ailments to occur in all the time I've spent playing the Virtual Boy. In all fairness, I am not at all prone to car sickness or any other sort of motion sickness, but it does seem as if these conditions may have been exaggerated by many. I think this console is just largely misunderstood.

Mario Tennis for the VB, not too bad.


The controller for the Virtual Boy is very practical. Some of the original designs seen at Spaceworld in '94 closely resembled a Gamecube controller. It has some grips for the fingers, which are fairly comfortable, and the two D-Pads provide excellent control in the worlds the VB presents to the gamer. Standard A, B, select, and start buttons get the job done adequately, and trigger-style L and R buttons were nicely placed. I prefer this controller to many others -- even by today's standard.

VB's Controller.

The stereo setup sounded great because the speakers were right by your ears. This allowed for action to soar across the screen and across your aural plane in synchronization. As long as developers made proper use of it, the audio system was very sturdy on the console. The system also comes with a jack for headphones -- bonus points.


Virtual Boy's short lifespan didn't allow for a large library of games, but for such a short time, it certainly had plenty of hits. No killer apps, so it doesn't get a perfect 10, but the great launch games it got were more than compensatory for the lackluster amount of games. Teleroboxer, in my opinion, is on par with the classic Punch Out series. Red Alarm is just as good, and just as stylish as Star Fox. Mario's Tennis is even better than the 2000 release of Mario Tennis 64. Wario Land is the gem of the system -- an absolute classic. Mario Clash is an excellent diversionary adventure. Jack Bros., Vertical Force, and Panic Bomber demonstrate excellent, incredibly entertaining efforts by third parties. I love the games that came out for the system, and am lugubrious that more weren't released. I bought most of them, and wish I'd bought more before they became valuable collector's items.

Games for the VB, seem nice.

Established publishers Hudson Soft, T&E Soft, Kemco, Rare, and many others were signed on to develop for Nintendo's red and black wonder. Too bad it didn't get off its somewhat-awkward feet before killer apps could be released for the system. However, even before the crash of the system, it had plenty of respectable publishers on board. Again, the fact that the system was misunderstood had much to do with its collapse, and the seemingly lackluster third party support.


The perceived impracticality of the Virtual Boy was what killed it off. Its rather unwieldy structure, lack of multiplayer support, and confining user-interface through the use of the VR-goggle-approach all combined to shoot the Virtual Boy in the leg. However, I hold to the opinion that the system was misunderstood. Although all of the aforementioned flaws are in fact true of the VB on some level, they were not necessarily hindering. A multiplayer link cable was in the works, a vest to support it was being made to make it more user friendly and portable, and the use of VR goggles was indeed somewhat confining, but a unique experience by its own merits. Make no mistake, the system is not multiplayer friendly, but that is not necessarily a problem. I don't see anything wrong with the system being solely usable by one person with the potential for some minor two player support. This is much how the Game Boy works today. Some games have multiplayer functionality, but it is not necessarily practical having to link systems together, and it is not that much more entertaining to play a portable game with multiple players than to play by yourself. At least, that's how I see it. I think the Virtual Boy's flaws in practicality were arguable, or at the least exaggerated.


The Virtual Boy had such wonderful potential. With Gunpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamoto at the helm of Nintendo's VB game development, I don't see how the system could not have been just as memorable as Nintendo's other systems. In the works was a semi-sequel to F-Zero called Zero Racers. I think racing in the VB's virtual reality environments would have been a blast. A Zelda game, a Metroid adventure, a Mario platformer, new Star Fox, Kirby, Donkey Kong -- the possibilities were endless. Unfortunately, the Virtual Boy got stamped out by an un-experimenting public before it could soar.

Although the Virtual Boy at its launch and, shortly after, at its death was not a 10/10 system, I award the system with a coveted perfect score for its incredible potential and ingenuity. I loved this system, and I was sad to see it crash and burn so miserably and tragically. In addition, its demise brought about the demise of my favorite video game celebrity: Gunpei Yokoi (RIP). Thank you, Gunpei, for such a wonderful little toy. His creations have given me so much pleasure, and much like his Virtual Boy, Yokoi's potential was often under-appreciated, and was never achieved after his tragic death in 1997. To me, the Virtual Boy reflects its creator: genius with an unapparent and unrecognized potential, whose chance at truly flourishing was trounced by a tragic fall.

Final Scores:

Graphics: 8/10 Highly misunderstood and exaggerated, were great.

Storyline: 1/10 Doesn't really have a story, so score doesn't affect the system overall.

Controls/Gameplay: 9/10 The controller felt great, great for any game on the VB, and made gameplay great aswell.

Sound: 9/10 Could hear really good, but little flaws with sound, not too much.

for reading my review of the VB, please comment on your opinion of this review, and the system itself.

- My hat is off to you, Gunpei Yokoi -- R.I.P

- Next Review:
A Guitar at the palms of your hands. Wait....

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By AlloftheAbove on 04-06-2009, 03:25 AM
Looks like a boat motor.
Nonetheless, neat review.
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By Ausden on 04-06-2009, 07:18 AM
Great review. I remember this system well. A complete disaster in my honest opinion. After about 5 minutes of playing this think I thought I was going blind from the red and black colors. Especially that game that had nothing but red lines all over the place.

I'm more suprised at the units sold in 1 year than the life span itself. Does anyone else notice how similar the game cube controller is to the virtual boy?
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By Saru786 on 04-06-2009, 11:43 AM
Member reviews
Average 68%
I'm not understanding, how do you feel blind? I've playing it for years now, it's great for me, not once has it hurt my eyes, people exaggerate it too much. :/
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