History Behind Virtual Boy Purchase
Like that other system with "Boy" in its name, I didn't bite on the Virtual Boy at all. However, as with many other people, once I saw the system for $25 and the games for $10 two years later, I just couldn't resist picking one up. Somehow, my friend and I rationalized the purchase of this oddity. I picked up my Virtual Boy on June 12, 1997. I got it at Electronics Boutique. The system was $24.99 and I picked up Mario Clash, Wario Land, and Golf at the same time for $9.99 each. So both my friend and I continued to pick up a few other games over the next month or two. I even got two games from Japan for the equivalent of 10 cents each! Ouch! After that summer, neither he nor I have played our Virtual Boy systems again. As a matter of fact, I think I played the system fewer than a dozen times.
Retrospectively, there is not much else that can be said about the Virtual Boy. It was a colossal failure. It is to Nintendo what big-time product flops are to other companies, such as Coke's New Coke, Sony's Betamax, Apple's Newton, Ford's Edsel, and so on. Strangely, even though the Game Boy only had four shades of "gray," the Virtual Boy with its black background and three shades of red seemed inferior. Psychologically, I think there's just something unnerving about seeing red on a black background. It just didn't work.
With the 2009 release of Avatar into movie theatres, 3D had made a resurrgence into culture. Nintendo even made another attempt at 3D gaming with its portable Nintendo 3DS in 2011. But that in no way, shape, or form redeems the Virtual Boy as a "product ahead of its time." Virtual Boy was poorly designed and poorly executed. There was no way to make lemonade out these lemons.
Since fewer than 1 million Virtual Boy systems were released, its place in history is sealed as an elusive, obscure, and aberrant collector's item. But let's be honest: Collectors don't want this system to play it; they just want to say that they have one.
Galactic Pinball gets the nod as my third favorite Virtual Boy game. It's just plain ol' fun. In actuality, though, the Virtual Boy's library contains many games with simple thrills or little substance, so the competition isn't heated. Galactic Pinball, however, won me over because of its convincing 3D effects and fun gameplay.