Virtual Boy NL

The Virtual Boy is 19 years old in North America today, having arrived in the region on 14th August 1995. It doesn't have a European anniversary to celebrate, as it never had a release in the region.

It's a system that shows us a few aspects of Nintendo that remain today, in some ways representing its key strengths. Nintendo consistently looks to bring new ways to enjoy games to the market, innovating with its controllers, accessories and general concepts. It's keen to immerse gamers in the experience. Finally, the company is able to suffer a failed platform yet move on to impressive levels of success with other systems.

The Virtual Boy was perhaps ahead of its time, attempting to use Virtual Reality and 3D technology before it was fully ready. Its design is also attributed as a cause of failure, though the narrative persists that it was pushed out of the door before the legendary designer Gunpei Yokoi felt it was ready; it would be Yokoi-san's last project for the company.

For a number of years it was left ignored by Nintendo, airbrushed from history, but in recent times it's appeared in games such as Tomodachi Life as a peculiar shrine around which Mii characters dance in praise of the device, and there's a Virtual Boy hat in StreetPass. It's part of Nintendo's history again, albeit treated as a peculiar oddity rather than a pillar of the company's story of gaming industry domination. We still love it though, and it has pride of place in our very own Nintendo shrine — we're only half kidding — here in Nintendo Life HQ.

So here's to you, Virtual Boy. 19 years old today. If you want more details on this quirky system check out our Virtual Boy hardware classics feature.