The Virtual Boy has been predominantly inaccessible to the majority of Nintendo fans since its original release. It was hardware arguably ahead of its time, but also technology that was unable to compete with modern standards of the era. The Nintendo 64 was after all released a year later in 1996 and blew the console industry away with its cutting-edge graphics.
With the Virtual Boy little more than a memory now and Nintendo rarely acknowledging the existence of the system, it seemed unlikely newer generations of fans would ever be able to experience the hardware’s stereoscopic 3D graphics.
Until now, that is.
Overlooking the legalities of actually playing the small library of games for the system using alternative methods, Jay Mattis – founder of indie game developer High Horse Entertainment – has released ‘VBjin emulator’ for the Oculus Rift headset, essentially allowing users to play Virtual Boy games using modern VR technology.
Mattis explained to Digital Trends how the project came to be:
Once the console was discontinued, Blockbuster Video was trying to get rid of their inventory and I actually bought it pre-owned, along with their entire games catalog, for dirt cheap. I loved it, but I couldn’t play it for long periods at a time. I had to sit in an awkward position to keep my face in the visor, and the whole setup took way too much room on my desk to keep it connected all the time. When I got the emulator running, I was excited to re-play some of the games I remember so fondly but in a significantly more comfortable setting.
The emulator also includes two modes – one where the screen is fixed and static like the original Virtual Boy and the other where the screen exists in its own world so you can move closer or further away from the display. The trademark red filter can also be changed to grey, which is said to make the experience easier on the eyes.
What do you think about modern technology reviving the Virtual Boy? Would you like to see Nintendo one day re-release the original game library for this system or even test VR again on a future device? Tell us below.