My, how time flies. It's already the 20th anniversary for the Virtual Boy, Nintendo's worst gaming invention to date. I know a lot of people would love to put the blame on the Wii U for being terrible, but actually it's a neat little system with poor third-party support. The Virtual Boy? It was terrible from the start.
Kotaku did a write-up on the Virtual Boy, explaining how the device came strutting onto the scene like the next big thing back in 1995 but failed to generate any long lasting hype because it was a very broken product.
It wasn't broken in the sense that it didn't work as intended; it definitely worked. It was broken in the sense that the gameplay experience was nauseating and the virtual reality at the time consisted of red vector graphics. The main problem is that stuffing your head into the device and trying to play it through those awful goggles could easily result in headaches and nausea. The flashing red vectors, poor frame-rate and all black backdrops was like some sort of perquisite for shock therapy. YouTuber vmbo has a clip from Red Alarm that you can check out below.
Yeah, that game is like a poor man's version of Star Fox with crappy graphics.
The low resolution, the choppy frame-rate, the strange red graphics and the forced requirement to keep your head mounted inside of the Virtual Boy's goggles made it one of the strangest, most uncomfortable and scary experiences in the world of interactive entertainment.
It was no surprise that the Virtual Boy ended up being a colossal flop and managed to make one of Gaming Blend's lists for that express purpose.
After that harrowing experience with virtual reality, Nintendo opted not to head back down that road and they've stayed clear of VR ever since. It's a little sad because we're seeing the whole virtual reality theme make a big comeback these days and taking impressive strides with technologies like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. Both those devices have major backing from companies like Valve and Facebook, and they're prepping to come to the consumer market soon... along with Sony's Morpheus for the PS4.
A lot of people were hoping Nintendo would strike some sort of deal to get back into the VR game, but the foray into that realm back in the mid-1990s saw them trying to stay innovative in other ways within the interactive entertainment space.
But who knows, maybe the Nintendo NX will have some sort of compatibility with virtual reality technology. I mean, it was Nintendo that really put auto-stereoscopic 3D at the forefront of the consumer market with the Nintendo 3DS, so there's really no telling what the Big 'N' may have up their sleeve. But I think it's safe to say that in celebration of the Virtual Boy's 20th anniversary, the company likely won't be attempting to go down that exact path again.