The Nintendo Virtual Boy |OT| Batteries Not Included


It’s the best thing about the system. It’s the last great wavetable synth sound chip. It sounds a lot like PC Engine sound IMO, except with a better noise (explosion) sound.


The CPU is 32-bit and similar to the PC-FX (PC Engine successor). So it was punching with PS1 and Saturn.

The golf game really demonstrates that as there are direct comparisons of golf games from the same developer T&E SOFT running on PS1/Satuen using the same/similar engine.


Thanks for the informative posts! I’ve got some reading to do - I only really know the historical circumstances behind the system’s development, but little else. Do you think the move from wearable to stationary device allowed R&D1 to upgrade the internals?


Amazing pick up!


Thank you. I still can’t believe I have one now. I just hope it survives the journey home well…


You really got to find a way to play Wario since it is the shining jewel for the system. A legitimately good game.


Bound High is even better.


I really couldn’t say, but it does look like a good use of the 3d, which is the one thing you can really hold against Wario Land. That nothing about it really warranted the 3d other then a few effects.

Much like how I would just lay in bed with the VB on me playing Mario Tennis even though it was nothing special. The 3d effect can add something to games that use it well even if they arn’t remarkable in any other way.


Yeah, I was hesitant on picking up Wario Land because of its exorbitant price, and I was sceptical about it using the 3D effect and controller to their fullest. Emulation would probably be best for now until I have more cash.

I went for Jack Bros instead - saw it boxed with all manuals and no notes about poor condition for 5400 yen! Which had to be a misprice. Cheapest I’d seen it before was 7800, and on Amazon the cheapest is 6800.

Indeed, when I went back later I saw another copy on the shelf for nearly double that.


The 3D effect on Virtual Boy games really impresses me despite exposure to over 100 3DS titles and a few VR games. I’m amazed by the craftsmanship of some of these developers in achieving such convincing 3D (both wireframe with Red Alarm and with 2D art) back in 1995. Puts a lot of 3DS games to shame despite presumably archaic development tools and more difficult programming/testing methods.


You gotta play Wario Land though. It’s really a great game. It really deserves a 3DS port.


Yeah! I definitely want to - Wario Land 4 is one of my favourite games of all time and the previous two are unique gems in the GB/GBC library.

By the way - does anyone have a clue what I need to do with my Japanese VB AC Adapter to get it working in Europe? Apparently in North America a SNES AC Adapter works fine, but that’s not the case for the European one?


I’m really happy my Virtual Boy headset made it back intact. I made sure to wrap the headset, controller and stand in bubble wrap, and I taped the focus and lens dials at the top to prevent them from moving. Luckily my VB came with the Japanese AC Adapter tap instead of the battery tap. I did some reading online and it turns out the Japanese AC adapter tap will accept a PAL NES/SNES AC adapter, and it powers on!

So I’ve been checking out some of my games properly now after only really previously spending time with Vertical Force and Galactic Pinball:

Mario’s Tennis
Played a tournament on this. It’s impressive how much depth there is to the tennis despite it being a two move game. It turns out what shot you make depends entirely on when or where you hit the ball back, and which part of the court you aim it at. Because of the slower pace of the character movement - which is compensated by a slower ball - you’re given a lot more time to think carefully about positioning. My only disappointment came from how it’s easy to exploit the AI, at least on normal. Didn’t realise the Panel de Pon creator directed this.

Red Alarm
Probably the most impressive VB game I’ve checked out to date. T&E Soft’s programmers are wizards - despite the wireframe graphics the object design is inventive and the 3D effect is highly convincing. It also feels wholly unique today despite the game’s age - for a 3D shmup the dual d-pad controls are intriguing, as is the throttle system (it’s more like changing gears) and the ability to strafe in four directions. I just wish I were better - the furthest I’ve made it is the boss of level 4, where I ran out of fuel on my last continue.

Jack Bros.
Reached Area 5. This maze-adventure/shooter game is throwing in new ideas on almost every floor. Are the other characters (Jack Lantern and Jack the Ripper) basically alternate difficulties?



Thanks for sharing! Very informative look at the game and the circumstances behind the VB’s development. Glad they did settle on a second D-Pad, it works so well in many games (quickly thinking of Galactic Pinball, Red Alarm, Vertical Force, Jack Bros off the top of my head).

Wonder if there’s any information about 3D Tetris - I’m guessing Nintendo pushed them to make it?

Galactic Pinball is still blowing my mind by how good it is. Played the Cosmic Table (badly) and noticed the fun Metroid stagger and Samus references in the high score table.

Then there’s the Samus ship cameo and shmup shooter stage. Was grinning playing it!


Galactic Pinball is one of my top VB games. The music is just incredible. I listen to it a lot but it’s never the same as through the actual punchy VB.


The music really is fantastic. Says a lot for the game too that I woke up this morning with the Cosmic board music in my head, despite having not played that board in a couple of days.

Whenever I look up what the critical reception of these games was back when they launched it saddens me a little.


Cosmic is great! I also love Colony and UFO. Alien always sounds so 80s and sleazy to me lol.

Yeh it’s sad, but I also feel lucky to own one, and I always talk it up if people ask about it.


If you have the means, try to play bound high. You’ll need a flash cart though. Or a reproduction. But it’s the best game on the system with a killer soundtrack.


Mm, the reception at launch doesn’t matter now. It’s definitely a criminally overlooked system as mentioned earlier in the thread. The nine games I’ve bought are all high quality and feel unique compared with what we get today - moreso given the VB’s great controller and use of 3D.

I feel extremely grateful to have randomly stumbled across an operational unit last week. Just hope I somehow become good enough to finish or master most of the games! I can’t beat Jack Bros. (on the last world), Vertical Force (can’t beat stage 3 on normal, or stage 4 on easy), or Red Alarm (stage 4).

I started Teleroboxer - cool game that continues to carry the arcade-like sensibilities that Nintendo R&D 1 does best. But I can’t even beat the second level, hahaha.

One day…

Oh I think I saw this last week when I looked at a list of cancelled VB games. It looked like a really neat concept, will add it to the list.


Teleroboxer is a tough, almost unfair, challenge.