Nintendo Virtual Boy

The Virtual Boy is a 32-bit tabletop portable video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. Released in 1995, it was marketed as the first console capable of displaying stereoscopic “3D” graphics. The player uses the console like a head-mounted display, placing the head against the eyepiece to see a red monochrome display. The games use a parallax effect to create the illusion of depth. Sales failed to meet targets, and Nintendo ceased distribution and game development in 1996, having released only 22 games for the system.

Development of the Virtual Boy lasted four years and began under the project name VR32. Nintendo entered a licensing agreement to use a stereoscopic LED eyepiece technology which had been developed since the 1980s by US company Reflection Technology. It also built a factory in China to be used only for Virtual Boy manufacturing. Over the course of development, the console technology was downscaled due to high costs and potential health concerns, and an increasing amount of resources were reallocated to the development of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo’s next home console. Lead game designer Shigeru Miyamoto had little involvement with the Virtual Boy software. The Virtual Boy was pushed to market in an unfinished state in 1995 to focus on the Nintendo 64.

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