Virtual Boy: The System That Should've, But Couldn't


In the summer of 1995, Nintendo released a little red system in America called Virtual Boy. Virtual Boy was an interesting experience to say the least, as it was a somewhat "portable" (which was basically a lie from Nintendo...it was too large to be portable, yet wasn't a console) 3-D gaming machine that was shaped like a stereotypical virtual reality headset with legs on it. To make the 3-D visuals work, the graphics were done in black and red, which caused a hissy fit among tight-ass gamers. Sadly, the Virtual Boy wasn't that popular and met a quiet death less than a year later. If anyone is to blame, it's Nintendo for not releasing enough top games for the system's launch (Nintendo was going through a phase where they believed everything they touched turned to gold, not to mention they were too busy concentrating on the upcoming Nintendo Ultra 64 and the current hot property that was the SNES). The game that came with the Virtual Boy? Mario's Tennis. Less than 14 games were eventually released for VB (with more probably released in Japan), showing that Nintendo just did not put any effort into it. It's a shame, because games like Galactic Pinball and Wario Land VB showed that if used properly, the system could kick ass. Since we here at the Vine usually buck what's popular and embrace what's not so, we're huge fans of the lesser known Nintendo system.

Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of VB's demise is Rareware never got to work their magic on it. They even said in an interview, and I paraphrase, that Virtual Boy was "an ambitious project." I mean, if anybody could have pulled the system out of the gutter, it was Rare. They had single handily pumped a few years of life back into the SNES, pushed the limits on Game Boy, and would later on be the most consistant developer of hits on the N64. Now, imagine if you will "Donkey Kong VB." That's what I was always counting on from Rare, and I even bought a Virtual Boy in preparation for whenever the first Kong game did come out for it. While Galactic Pinball somewhat made up for that game never coming out (once again, due to the VB's demise), it still was enough to seriously tick me off. Especially when you consider what might have been....

You turn on the Virtual Boy, and after the normal VB openers end you're greeted with a view of the Kongo Jungle treetops popping out at you. It's nighttime on Donkey Kong Island (night works best with VB's color scheme), and the stars appear to float towards your eyes. Slowly the camera pans down and it shows an army of Kremlings marching through the jungle brush, long snouts sticking out right at you. After ACM graphics in brilliant 3-D round out the in-game story, the game logo is visable on the horizon. Suddenly it races towards you, crashing into the foreground and gently moving backward where it can clearly be read: "Donkey Kong VB" (alternate names I've thought of include Donkey Kong Land VB, Donkey Kong 3-D, and so on). When you get into the actual game, you can play as brilliant ACM 3-D models of Donkey and Diddy. Virtual Boy was a 32-bit system, so it could have been possible to make the game even bigger than the DKCs (minus the several colors). Rare could have also done a few tricks like being able to play in the background and foreground of levels (something Wario Land VB pulled off). Just think of the Blast Barrel levels if that were the case!

Sadly, this is nothing but a pipe dream. Virtual Boy is nothing more than Nintendo's red and black-headed stepchild. What a pity. I'm sure somewhere there's an alternate dimension where Virtual Boy was successful and Nintendo was less cocky. Those bastards are probably playing Donkey Kong VB 3 right now. Pokemon probably never even came out in that dimension. God I hate them. One of them is probably even mocking our dimension as I type this. I can almost here them...laughing....giggling....having a fantastic time with their rich lifestyles. I wish for their deaths....oh yes.....I wish for them all to die....


A SirSlush2 Duction