Nintendo have always been trend setters within the video game industry, constantly evolving and experimenting with our much loved medium. Sometimes these experiments revolutionise gaming as we know it, such as the NES, Game Boy and the Wii to name but a few. However, sometimes these don’t quite work out as intended, like the ill-fated Virtual Boy.
That’s not because the Virtual Boy was the wrong idea though. In fact, whilst the Virtual Boy has long been the source of heavy criticism and repeated jokes, in many ways its vision of a virtual future has somewhat been vindicated in this year where virtual reality goes mainstream. What’s more, whilst virtual reality looks set to push the boundaries of what we know, some are currently using the technology to breath new life into Nintendo’s 90s VR experiment.
This all comes by way of one reddit member who goes by the name The-King-of-Spain. You see, by using mobile VR headsets such as the Gear VR and Google Cardboard, The-King-of-Spain has finally created an emulator that can truly encapsulate the original spirit of the Virtual Boy. What’s more, this Virtual Boy emulator for mobile VR even goes one step further and improves on the experience.
This is done by replacing the rather unusual red LED visual output with a brand new grey-scale palette. Not only does this arguably make the games more appealing to look at, but it also has the side-effect of heavily decreasing the likelihood of players being afflicted with the searing migraines that plagued the few who invested in a Virtual Boy back in 1995.
Back in the 90s not many purchased the Virtual Boy, especially given it was never released outside of Japan and North America. Moreover, with only 22 games ever released for the system, it doesn’t have the most diverse range of experiences. However, given that this is a Nintendo system, unsurprisingly there are definitely some games that are worth playing, such as Wario Land and Teleroboxer.
For better or worse, hopefully this Virtual Boy Emulator for mobile VR will finally allow a mass population to experience one of Nintendo’s stranger consoles. It may not be exactly the same as sitting in front of a Virtual Boy and holding that double d-pad controller, but it may be as close as many will get with the console and its games becoming rarer and rarer. Either way, this certainly is a welcome development in the quest to preserve video gaming’s past experiences.