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The Videogame History Museum's GDC Nintendo Exhibit Was Full of Retro Delights

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The Virtual Boy even appeared

GDC (Game Developers Conference 2014) has drawn to a close, and it brought us some snippets of Nintendo news, mainly focused on the download market. Nintendo showed off various games on the way to the eShop, promised there were plenty more, and showed off Mario vs. Donkey Kong running on the Nintendo Web Framework. The big N made a rather neat appearance away from its own stand and presentations, as well.

The Videogame History Museum, a not-for-profit organisation, set up a rather impressive exhibit that was primarily focused on presenting Nintendo's history of consoles, though some additional arcade machines and systems were thrown in. The Nintendo part of the exhibit looked impressive, however, including some rare items as well as others that are familiar but not always on show at these events — notable examples include the Famicom Disk System, a fully functioning R.O.B. and even the Virtual Boy.

Of those at this past week's event in San Francisco, Joystiq has done the best job of capturing the exhibit. Check it out below and let us know which of the retro treats on show is your favourite.

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User Comments (23)



9th_Sage said:

I'm glad they included the Virtual Boy. It may not have been a success (or even that great really) but it's an interesting part of their history when you realize that it was in some ways the predecessor of the 3DS.



WingedSnagret said:

Good for Nintendo not being ashamed of past failures. The Virtual Boy, short lived oddball that it was, is nonetheless a part of Nintendo history, and it's nice to see that they still treat it as such instead of sweeping it under the rug.



K-Gamer said:

I still really don't know what a "R.O.B" does... also R.O.B. for SSB.



OdnetninAges said:

This was at the SXSW Gaming Expo 2 weeks ago, before it was at GDC. I played Virtual Boy Wario Land on it. Needless to say, it was awesome to play (it's Wario Land, after all), but my eyes hurt after about 5 minutes. Luckily, like the 3DS, there's a way to change the "3D Depth", so that was great. I was surprised that it actually was similar to the 3DS, yet so much different. (Black and Red, no way to turn 3D off, having to look inside a box, etc.) They also had the Japan-only DVD-playing version of the GameCube there, and I've never seen one of those before outside of the internet (like the Virtual Boy), so that was cool. They had very, very old issues of Nintendo Power there, including the first issues, and issues from before it was called Nintendo Power, and was called "Nintendo Fan Club News". Those were sitting nearby the R.O.B. There were a bunch of old consoles and games to play. They ran Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! for NES, Super Mario All-Stars and TMNT: Turtles in Times for SNES (latter could be for NES... Don't remember, didn't play that game) and Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros. and GoldenEye for N64. They had Super Smash Bros. Melee running on a big screen with a couch a table nearby (designed to look like a living room...?) There was a TV they had running that played a bunch of old VG commercials, too.

So it was pretty fantastic. I spent a good deal of time there during the expo.



FritzFrapp said:

Very little these days. He needs a CRT tv to operate. And he only supported two games on the Famicom/NES anyway.
Still, he always looked cool...



enderboy221 said:

I actually have a Virtual Boy. I got it for $20 with the console, controller, ac adapter, stand, and Mario's Tennis. I actually enjoy the thing, and somehow it doesn't hurt my eyes.



dok5555555 said:

At around 00:58 in the video, what are those stickers on Mario Bros. and Ice Climbers boxes. They look kinda like footballs.



dok5555555 said:

@Frapp Actually I meant the sticker in the middle of the box. It's a round brownish thing. (Actually it might be half red, half black, its hard to tell.)



Knuckles said:

@K-Gamer ROB, Robotic Operating Buddy, originally an NES was packed with this guy and sold as a toy instead of a video game system, because the market wouldn't accept the NES after the video game market crash of '83.
Without ROB, the NES wouldn't have sold.



allav866 said:

I'm not too surprised by the VB's appearance. As bad as it was, it is an important part of Nintendo's history. Nintendo even acknowledges its existence in various games, including Animal Crossing: New Leaf and StreetPass Mii Plaza.



Handy_Man said:

I own the Virtual Boy and also managed to get all 14 games that were released for it, and I feel like the system is underappreciated. Sure, you look like a alien while playing it and the graphics do hurt your eyes, but the games that are made for it are actually pretty fun (except for WaterWorld) and interesting to experience. Virtual Boy Wario Land is my favorite, of course, but other games like Galactic Pinball and Nester's Funky Bowling do a superb job of showing off the 3D effect, which feels much more powerful than the 3DS's 3D effect. The Virtual Boy isn't amazing, but it's definitely worth experiencing at least once and it isn't as bad as you initially think it is. If you see someone that outright hates the Virtual Boy, there's a great chance that they actually never used it before and are just going off of what they heard about the console from some gaming website.



Dark-Link73 said:

I want to add R.O.B. and the N64 DD so bad to my collection. Way out of my budget. Seeing the VB on display makes me want to pull it down from the shelf and play a couple of rounds of Mario Tennis. I'm too comfortable sitting on the couch under my blanket, lol.



FritzFrapp said:

Doh! I blame the time of night when I replied. Yeah, I see it now. There's one on Hogan's Alley as well.
They're Paid – Thank You stickers. Quite when they were put on there, I've no idea, but they show that a transaction took place at some time.
Perhaps Nintendo of America had to buy copies of their own games to produce for court evidence in the Magnavox trial as they couldn't find any left in their warehouses? Just guessing.



Mario-Man-Child said:

The attitude in the comments is that Nintendo should hang its head in shame because of the Virtua Boy and it's good they're not hiding their shame.
They're even acknowledging it's existence. Which is good. We all like good.



A1234 said:

all 3 founders of Videogame History Museum and great guys! I frequent Sean's store and it is amazing! if I ever make it to New Jersey I will for sure go to Joe's store. I met Joe and John at Sean's store for his collectors' parties at his store. also note they are the organizers of Classic Gaming Expo held in Las Vegas. I still need to make it there!



sleepinglion said:

I have a ROB but he's just about as useful now as he was then. Don't get me wrong, I really like his aesthetic and remember early posters with him on them fondly, but he was just too unresponsive and slow for me. I used to play Gyromite with just the blue and red button setup sans ROB.

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