The Virtual Boy wasn't a success, that much is beyond debate. It sold poorly and effectively led to Gunpei Yokoi's departure from Nintendo - a sad event when you consider how much he had done to make the company such a force in the field of toys and video games. Despite its commercial failure the system still has some worthwhile games and that's why a new way of playing Virtual Boy games via emulation might be of interest.
You'll need an Android phone, the multi-faceted emulator RetroArch and a Google Cardboard-compatible headset - and the ROMs required to play, which is where this solution becomes a little sticky as distributing such files is very questionable legally. After a little tinkering with the settings, you're good to go - the guy who has come up with this approach even claims that it avoids the headache problem that the original Virtual Boy hardware was infamous for:
After about 30 minutes of play time, I'm not experiencing any of the Virtual Boy's trademark motion sickness. There's also something to be said for playing the games in grayscale instead of the headache-inducing red. It's pretty cool to see Virtual Boy games in their full stereoscopic glory, but the added depth doesn't seem to add much value gameplay-wise.
If you want to see what the footage looks like in 3D without using a Google Cardboard, you can watch the video on your New 3DS - follow this guide if you're unsure of how to do that.
Given that the 3DS has an autostereoscopic display, it's puzzling that Nintendo hasn't released Virtual Boy games on the Virtual Console by now, but in the meantime this is a workable solution - if you're willing to ignore the obvious issues surrounding ROM distribution, of course.
[source theverge.com, via reddit.com]
Nintendo, take notes.
Wario Land VB on the 3DS when?
I always wanted to play this Wario Land, as it seems to be the best game the console has to offer.
Some sort of Virtual Boy VC on the 3DS would be nice.
@GeminiSaint "Not now, we're too busy releasing games no one wants or even heard of."
I have a Virtual Boy with all 14 games, it is truly an underappreciated gem.
They just need to release all 4 games cough cough on 3DS
They could've at least kept it as red on a black background.
I've played some of Wario Land VB on emulator and I would gladly pay Nintendo for a VC version on 3DS. If there ever was a system made to emulate VB games, 3DS is it.
I can understand not doing it though, as putting resources into creating an emulator to only run a handful of games doesn't seem that profitable, but here's hoping!
@KFlow325 I definitely agree! Nintendo wouldn't lose anything by doing it, and it would get people to experience the surprisingly (at least) decent games on a system that is more suited for them.
I'm tempted to grab a Google Cardboard to give this a try.
I feel whelmed.
I always thought Nintendo would re release VB games on 3DS.
3DS emulation in VR will be a big selling point!
i;ve been saying that they should port virtual boy games to 3ds for ever. my other genius idea was to allow for 3d video uploading to youtube.. and a 3d youtube viewer app for the 3ds. so you can watch endless 3d content . no other device can claim to do that.. maybe a 3d tv with glasses but think of how many people have 3ds's
Nintendo totally missed the boat on that one.
@Gridatttack There are several good games on the system. The perceived quality of the VB's library is often erroneously coupled with the negative experience many players had with the system's glaring red lenses, "portability" struggles, 3D visual headaches, and poor sales preconceptions. Despite these logistic issues with the system, Virtual Boy boasted some unique and appealing features, like having innovative controls (proto-dualstick gameplay, anyone?) and being Nintendo's first (and only) 32-bit system.
Virtual Boy Wario Land is definitely an excellent game (it's much more similar to the original Wario Land on GB than Wario Land II or 3 are, and possibly surpasses it), but some other great ones (that I'm aware of) are Teleroboxer (Punch-Out!! successor), Vertical Force, Panic Bomber, Red Alarm, and Mario Clash (if you enjoy arcade Mario Bros., like I do, that is), for example. Some less-than-great-but-still-good games on the system (because of their ultra simplistic gameplay or ho-hum 3D effects in comparison, not actually due to poor gameplay) would be Mario's Tennis, Nester's Funky Bowling, 3D Tetris, and Galactic Pinball. There are some that are supposedly good that I haven't yet played, such as Jack Bros. and Space Squash, and there are some very good unreleased games for the system like Bound High and Niko-chan Battle.
Aside from the occasional cameo appearance in silly Nintendo YouTube vids or as a "hat" for your Mii, it seems that the VB is a relic of the past it wants to wholly separate itself from.
I do remember as a kid seeing full shelves of VB units at a local Target being sold for about $20. Not even such a low price could get those things off the shelves... It seems that the VB games in general were decent, but the biggest hindrance being the red wireframe graphics and being a "VR" system in name and physical design only. It felt like more of a precursor to the 3DS than anything else.
Virtual Boy Wario Land wasn't just the only good game on the VB. It was absolutely fantastically phenomenally wonderful.
Where is my 3DS remake, Nintendo?!
I don't think releasing VB games on 3DS would do much. I personally want a Wario game and if they remake the one on VB, I'm more than happy because I don't think all of us here played it which is sad since its the best game for the system.
I could be mistaken, but I feel like those who are hating on all VB games except for Wario haven't actually played anything on it. Try it, people!
@Gauchorino Try it where? I guess on an emulator on PC?
I never even saw a Virtual Boy in the wild.
Cool, so instead of almost needing a neck brace from using the Virtual Boy too much, now we would need brain surgery and chemotherapy from using Google Cardboard too much, due to getting brain tumors from absorbing too much RFI radiation from having the phone being active right against your eyes and forehead! And since a child's skull and brain are more vulnerable than an adult's, they get even more of the dosage! Great, great. You're doing this monstrous mobile/VR legacy proud, Google.
Good God. And it's being marketed towards children, too. This crap should be illegal. At least the Virtual Boy won't give you cancer from using it too much... So it's still better.
GBA is also a 32-bit system.
@jimi Nintendo hasn't done it by now, 5 years after the 3DS released, so they're probably never going to do it. Not with all major resources being shifted to NX. Since there are almost no Virtual Boys, emulation is the only way for most people to ever play the greatness that is Wario Land VB. It's Nintendo's loss to not utilize the 3DS in such an obvious way. Gotta do what you gotta do to not get neck cramps. (Although I wouldn't recommend using a mobile phone to play VB games, either.)
Nintendo can't even figure out how to run SNES on an old 3DS, I doubt they could get VB figured out =(
Shame we never got VB games on the 3DS VC. VB was too ahead of its time and even given the tiny library it had, it had some good games, not just in terms of the VB but some genuinely good games.
Any yet, still not possible to play officially on the 3DS, where they would be so brilliantly suited.
Sums up modern day Nintendo brilliantly.
PS. Virtual Boy Wario Land is actually a really solid platformer.
@Moshugan I wish I could suggest something more realistic. Seek and thou shalt find, my son.
@AVahne True, I guess I had "home consoles" in mind when I said that.
Really wish Nintendo would give us a way of playing virtual boy titles on the 3ds
Virtual boy 3DS VC would have been cool, and cellphones do not give you cancer.
The 3D effect on that vid is pretty nice, but it's so low-res. Was the VB originally that bad?
I'd love to try a Virtual Boy! Wario Land VB looks great.
@mushroomer @FragRed @Handy_Man
You're absolutely right.
"Virtual Boy Wario Land wasn't just the only good game on the VB."
If you remove the word "just" from that sentence, it'll actually make sense.
Well said. Bound High actually did get a limited release a few years ago (not official of course, but using original box inserts and everything), and there was an article on this site about it. I still love playing my Virtual Boy, and I was just explaining yesterday to people on GameFAQs that... well, everything you said, actually. People who have never tried it talk about it as if they know all about it.
Like in this article, the caption says "After about 30 minutes of play time, I'm not experiencing any of the Virtual Boy's trademark motion sickness."
Huh?! That's never happened to me or any of my friends even once, and at least 50 different people have played for over twenty minutes on mine. I had a lot of parties with way too many people at my first apartment and it was always being used by someone. On occasion, I didn't realize they'd been drinking until we couldn't get it focused (because of alcohol's effect on vision), and so they had to give up before they got started, but there was never a single complaint about headaches or motion sickness.
If that happens to someone that owns one, either there's something wrong with it, they're not adjusting it correctly, or it's some other rare situation. I've never seen it happen, but Iess than half as many people have tried my 3DS, and three of them complained about their eyes or head hurting! Part of the problem is that way too many people rely on what other people say who never actually owned one in the first place. Speaking of which...
"the guy who has come up with this approach even claims that it avoids the headache problem that the original Virtual Boy hardware was infamous for."
Wow, so he's had the same amount of success with avoiding headaches as everyone who's tried my actual Virtual Boy!
"There's also something to be said for playing the games in grayscale instead of the headache-inducing red."
Yeah. "Ugh! That looks terrible!" The display was red on black, yes, but there was nothing headache-inducing about it. I've literally played Galactic Pinball for 12 hours straight before, other than a couple two-minute bathroom breaks. That was after turning off the Auto Pause function, of course, which pauses every 20 minutes to remind you to take a break.
For extended play sessions, if your head isn't too small, I recommend detaching the VB from the stand, laying on your back and just setting it on your face - the soft edges should keep it in place until you lift your head. I actually am bothered by bright lighting and flourescent bulbs, so I've never had any on in my apartments - maybe that has something to do with the lack of glare in the lenses.
Still, the soft goggle-shaped black trim that extends and presses to the sides of your head is supposed to black out everything outside of the display so there's nothing in your peripheral vision (or room for light to get in and cause glare). Anyway, the red on black looks so much better than anything in black and white ever could.
NOTE: I will make another post, starting with the instructions for adjustment and focus, in case anyone that has a VB doesn't know the right way to do it.
Adjustment and Focus Steps
When you first turn the power on and see the VIRTUAL BOY logo in the center, you're at the "adjustment screen." While looking at the adjustment screen, turn the (IPD) dial on top until you see a mark in all four corners of the screen. You only need to be able to see them with one of your eyes, so don't worry if they don't appear solid. It's called the IPD dial because it's purpose is to match your Inter Pupil Distance. Everyone has slightly different distances between their eyes, which can have a huge effect on how you see the display. So if, for example, you're an actor or actress who played one of the twins on the show Second Chance, and the other twin was the last person to use the Virtual Boy, it's going to require some MAJOR readjustment.
To adjust the focus, start with the focus slider in the center postition, as marked on the housing. If the image is not sharp and clear, adjust the slider to the left or right until it is.
It's too bad so many people rely on first impressions, since they didn't post any instructions for adjusting and focusing when Virtual Boy units were set up in stores for people to try back then. Therefore, if customers were even aware that it needed to be adjusted, most had no idea that it can only be done correctly right after turning the system on or resetting it.
"the added depth doesn't seem to add much value gameplay-wise.
I think it added more value to the games than the 3DS does, and the 3D effect was more impressive overall, and that's coming from someone who's been a huge fan of the 3DS since the day it was released. Speaking of which, I do have 3D screenshots in the original coloring and resolution on my 3DS for Space Squash, Galactic Pinball, Wario Land and Mario's Tennis, and if the site wants to post them for people who want to view 'em on their 3DS, or if someone knows a free image hosting site that works with those .MPO files, let me know. They're not as good as when you're playin 'em on the real thing, but they'll probably give some of you who never played one a better idea of what it actually looks like, even though they're just screenshots.
One of the best ways the 3D adds to the experience is by using all that depth to clearly differentiate many things that would otherwise not be possible with just one color. I'm sure some of you've played the special stages in Mutant Mudds that are made to look like VB Wario Land. Seems like those were more simplified versions though, seeing how much this screen from Wario Land looks like a crowded mess in 2D.
In 3D on the VB, the pipe on the right is close to you, and the wall that it looks like Wario's blending into here is really a structure standing way in the background that he can jump to from the platform he's standing on in the foreground. There is a wall even further in the distance beyond that.
Here's another one of Wario Land, followed by one from Galactic Pinball...
@Nintendood I agree. The Virtual Boy didn't give me as many headaches as I thought it would when I bought it, and it doesn't have a truly bad game except for Water World. The Virtual Boy is something that people should try before they formulate their opinions on it, because it really is a one-of-a-kind system.
@toxibunny Try using cell phones by holding them up to your head, day in and day out, for 20 years. (Or less time, for those who use them starting at young childhood...)
@3MonthBeef Well, it's too late for Nintendo to do it now. We're not saying "DO EET NAO!" Just musing on what could have been... And hoping Nintendo learns their lesson.
@Handy_Man Yeah, everyone should avoid Waterworld at all costs!
So you actually did get some headaches? Did you make sure it was always adjusted and focused before using it?
I don't see how no one ever got them with mine, and a couple roommates I had would actually play it regularly at night, since the only game console they had of their own was an Atari Jaguar!
@Nintendood I mean, I always play my Virtual Boy in short bursts, so I never get any headaches when I usually play it. But I played Galatic Pinball for 45 minutes once and Wario Land for roughly 30 minutes a few times and did feel a bit dizzy after those sessions, but nothing serious. I do adjust and focus beforehand, but mostly so the image looks as sharp as possible. It's awesome to hear that you met some people who really enjoyed the Virtual Boy though!
@Nintendood Many days have passed, yet I remain very impressed by your knowledge about this system and graceful tact in dispelling misrepresentations about it. I'd say more, but for brevity's sake, it would be really cool to see you contribute an article on NintendoLife about the Virtual Boy, if you're able and willing!
@Gauchorino Sorry for my delayed reaction, I've gotten used to the fact that, for whatever reason, people on this site almost entirely stop commenting on articles after they've been posted for a few days. That's why I hadn't bothered checking for any replies since before you posted this.
Sure, I'd be interested in contributing an article to the site, and if you still have more to say, feel free to email me at [email protected] I don't recognize your name from before this article, but the way that your post is worded makes it sound as if you're on the staff or have contributed content yourself in the past...
@Nintendood No problem at all. I meant to respond to your original post when this article was still relevant, but I hadn't. Unfortunately, I have no formal connection to NintendoLife or anything like it (unlike the poor ambiguity of the last sentence of my last comment seems to imply...). I'm not even sure how to even go about getting the opportunity to write for them, but I think it would very fruitful for video game fans if you were to do so, considering your expertise and well-organized thoughts on the matter. I'm just giving you some free promotion for the job and will continue to do so in the future. Very sorry for the misunderstanding...
@Gauchorino Oh, nothing to apologize for! It just sounded a bit like that, plus it seems rare for other members to be so well-spoken, or even make it through a post without accidental mistakes in their writing... I appreciate the compliment very much, and you can still free to email me at the address if you ever want to (or if anyone from the site does read this, they can too, of course).
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