Virtual Boy

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Virtual Boy
バーチャルボーイ Bācharu Bōi
VirtualBoy logo.png
Virtual Boy.png
Generation Fifth
Predecessor(s) Game Boy
Successor(s) N/A
No. of games made 22 (List of games)
No. of games available at launch 4
Best-selling game Mario's Tennis
Last game 3D Tetris
Technical Details
Media Virtual Boy cartridge
Storage capacity 128 KB dual-port VRAM
Model no. VUE-001
Compatibility & Connectivity
Can connect with N/A
Input Virtual Boy Controller
Backwards compatible with N/A
Forward compatible with N/A
Services provided N/A
Launch date NA: July 21, 1995
JP: August 14, 1995
Lifetime 1 year
Discontinue date JP: December 22, 1995
NA: March 2, 1996
Units sold 770,000

The Virtual Boy (Japanese: バーチャルボーイ Virtual Boy) was a video game console designed by Gunpei Yokoi and released by Nintendo on August 14, 1995. Designed to bring virtual reality into the home, it consisted of a visor on a pair of spindly legs, and used cartridges that were similar to those of a Game Boy's in size and appearance. Ultimately, the Virtual Boy failed as a console, and was released only in Japan and North America with a full library of only 22 games ever released for the system.

1.26 million units were shipped worldwide before the system's discontinuation, and of those only 777,000 were ever sold. Because of its rarity, the Virtual Boy is regarded as a valuable collector's item despite its reception and reputation.



The Virtual Boy was first unveiled as the "VR32", a next-gen console that would serve alongside the upcoming Nintendo 64. Whereas the Nintendo 64 would bring Nintendo games into 3D on a 2D screen, the Virtual Boy was said to put the player into the game, to experience it almost firsthand.


The design of the console has been described as mushroom-like, with the red visor sitting atop two small legs crossed at the middle. Instead of a small screen or inputs to a television, the Virtual Boy features a viewfinder that looks into the system, where the images are displayed. Each eye sees a slightly different image, leading to the perception of a three-dimensional shape.

Due to cost and the low-quality nature of LCD displays in 1995, it was decided ultimately that the system would not be in color, but in monochrome, like the Game Boy. Unlike the Game Boy, however, which featured shades of gray pixels on a greenish screen, the Virtual Boy used red LEDs to create images on a background of black. This proved to be painful to the eyes, and Nintendo's many warnings of eye strain to customers dissuaded them from purchasing the console. The upcoming Nintendo 64 also dissuaded many who did not wish to pay for two new consoles in such a short span of time.

Gunpei Yokoi left Nintendo to found his own company after the Virtual Boy was discontinued. Although most claim he was unceremoniously demoted before his leaving, Yokoi had actually planned to retire after the launch of the system, and its failure had kept him from doing so. Yokoi had also designed the Game Boy Pocket, a more successful device, after the failure of the system and before he left.

Nintendo's rivals at the time leading up to the release of the Nintendo DS believed that the system's dual screens would present players with the same trouble that the Virtual Boy did, leading to its own demise, and Nintendo averted any risk by choosing to market it as a third pillar, rather than as a continuation of and successor to the Game Boy line.


The Virtual Boy launched with four games: Mario's Tennis, Teleroboxer, Red Alarm, and Galactic Pinball, Mario's Tennis being a pack-in game for the console.

Only 22 games were released for the Virtual Boy in its lifetime, the least of any Nintendo console ever produced. Of those games, 14 were officially released in North America, and 19 were released in Japan. However, only ten of these games were published by Nintendo. Over twenty additional titles were also in development or stated to be in development before the system was officially discontinued and all games in production were cancelled.

External links

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