Argue For The Nintendo Virtual Boy, If You Can

Argue For The Nintendo Virtual Boy, If You Can

The president of Nintendo of America and I have something in common: Neither of us has ever played the Virtual Boy, the odd virtual reality Nintendo gaming goggles that flopped in the ’90s. We haven’t, so the Virtual Boy needs you.

See, once in a while here on Kotaku we write about the upcoming Nintendo 3DS system and maybe mention that you will be able to download Game Boy games to it. When we do this, some Kotaku readers wonder and wish for the ability to download Virtual Boy games. The 3DS does immersive no-glasses 3D, you reason. Surely, there’s got to be a Virtual Boy store coming? Or at least there should be?

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told me last Friday that he couldn’t answer these questions because he is not well-versed in the Virtual Boy. “As a consumer, I have experience with every Nintendo platform and I think every accessory, including the Superscope, with the exception of the Virtual Boy… so it’s difficult for me to articulate a point of view back to our parent company [in Japan]why we absolutely have to have a Virtual Boy store”

Fils-Aime can’t argue for the Virtual Boy, people. But can you? I suggested to him that Kotaku readers could write draft memos for Reggie to send to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. No guarantees he’s going to send them (in fact, I bet he won’t), but please do write a memo here to Mr Iwata in the comments.

Do what you can to argue that we should be able to download Virtual Boy games on the 3DS when it ships early next year. How convincing can you be?


  • Dear Mr Iwata,

    In 2007, the Virtual Boy was listed as number five in PC World’s “Ugliest Products in Tech History” list. Let’s face it, it was (and is) impossible to look cool while playing the Virtual Boy. Anyone who did play the system will agree that the device was unwieldy in design, with a heavy ‘head’, and two short, spindly legs to support it. Although numerous Virtual Boy games claimed to allow for two-players, this function never eventuated. The monochromatic displays only allowed games to be coloured red or black, and when you add to this claims that the Virtual Boy caused headaches, nausea and even blindness, and it’s no wonder people were uninterested. TIME Magazine’s website even went so far as to list the Virtual Boy as one of the worst inventions of all time. Now if you’re like Reggie, and don’t know your Nintendo history, you’ll be sad to hear the system was discontinued just one year after its release. Despite the device’s obvious shortcomings, there remain fiercely loyal supporters who claim that a number of the 14 games released on the system in North America were actually fantastic. Take for instance Wario Land, Mario Clash, 3D Tetris, Galactic Pinball and Red Alarm. These five titles alone proved the value of the Virtual Boy, allowing people to experience quality gaming experiences in 3D for the first time. This is precisely why the Nintendo 3DS needs to have a Virtual Boy – Virtual Console. Never before has a device been capable of emulating these classic games in 3D. It would be an easy cash-in for Nintendo. The real question is why they shouldn’t have a download service for these games. Who wants to pay to play Super Mario Bros again on another system? Gamers today want new old games to (re)play. As it stands, the Virtual Boy is like an unwanted child that the big N cast aside one Christmas, less than one year old. By including a VB-VC, Nintendo would be, in essence acting like the biblical father who accepted his long lost prodigal son back from the wilderness. Otherwise, the majority of gamers will never know the nostalgic joy of gaming in 3D, Virtual Boy style.

  • It’s impossible to get a virtual boy, extremely annoying to play and has quite a few good games that people do want to play.


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