Of my many regrets in life, easily the worst I have as a gamer is that I lost my Virtual Boy. Yes, I was one of the just over 700,000 or so people in the world to own an actual piece of Nintendo’s greatest failure. It was a Christmas gift in 1995, from my overworked mother whom I now know could not afford it, but wanted to make up for what had been an awful year for our family.
For all the criticism levied against this clunky early attempt at 3D gaming (don’t call it VR, because it really doesn’t meet the definition) I absolutely loved it. Mario’s Tennis remains one of my all-time favorite games — in my memory, anyway. I also got a great deal of enjoyment out of the simplistic Virtual League Baseball and Golf. The only other title I owned was Teleroboxer, which I did not like at all, owing to its steep difficulty. I never did get to try either of what are considered the “best” games: Mario Clash and Virtual Boy Wario Land.
I took the Virtual Boy with me when I went off to college, but unfortunately my university experience included a few years in a fraternity house, and it was probably destroyed or stolen around that time. By then, I had become something of a lapsed gamer. In what was the other great error of my gaming life, I sold most of my NES, Super NES, and Nintendo 64 games for spending money, along with the N64 console itself. (Fortunately, I still have my NES, SNES, and various Game Boy consoles.) One of my goals as a collector today is to rebuild that lost collection, most of which can be done fairly easily and at a reasonable cost.
The Virtual Boy is a different story. Because so few were made, prices can be quite steep; I’ve never seen one for less than $200, and they often don’t include vital accessories like the controller and AC adapter. (It can run on batteries, but this is inconvenient and expensive.) Games can be hard to come by as well, particularly Wario Land. I still have my copy of Teleroboxer for some reason, though.
So much has been written on Virtual Boy already, and I have nothing meaningful to add until I re-acquire one for myself. PlanetVB.com is the ideal resource for any collector interested in learning more about this whimsical gaming machine. I also heartily recommend this excellent written history published earlier this year on NintendoLife. It’s a real eye-opener on a console best known for creating eye strain.