Nintendo's lost '90s VR console is coming to the 3DS thanks to a great emulator

Flugel/X

Nintendo has made some bold and strange choices with its hardware designs. But none were as bold and bizarre as 1995's Virtual Boy, “a woefully premature commercial masterpiece,” as one Ars writer put it, which “quickly passed unhappily into history,” as another noted. The red-on-black tabletop headphone system wasn't so much ahead of its time as it was broadcasting from an alternate reality. In this reality, it didn't sell much and was largely forgotten.

Nintendo seemed eager to let the Virtual Boy fade from collective memory, but clever programmers did their best to keep the system available outside of older hardware collections. The newest, and perhaps the most accessible, is Red snakewho plays Virtual Boy games on (Penetrate lightly) Nintendo 3DS, another Nintendo system whose 3D features were underrated. It's full speed, supports homebrew games, you can change the graphic color to something other than red, and it's free. It builds on the foundation of the previous 3DS emulator work r3dragonwhich itself was largely derived from Reality Boy Project for Windows.

Red Viper uses the 3DS's top screen to display the game and turns the bottom screen into the system options panel. Maps the Virtual Boy's face buttons to the touchscreen. in Twitter topic When announcing the public release of Red Viper, programmer Floogle noted that the emulator only translates the Virtual Boy's 50Hz refresh to the 3DS's 60Hz by pushing a frame every 20ms. Floogle assumes that there is some room for improvement in the hardware.

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For his part, Flugel Believes Jack Bruce., Wario Land, Teleroboxer, Red alert, Mario ClashAnd Galaxy pinball Especially worth checking out. That's about 27 percent of the total 22 games officially released for the Virtual Boy, which isn't a bad success rate in certain light. There is much more Homemade Virtual Boy material outside.

Good Vibes Gaming's overview of Red Viper and the Virtual Boy itself.

While your author lacks a 3DS, let alone Virtual Boy experience, Red Viper's reception suggests it's a good way to experience some interesting games, especially Nintendo's first-party games. The Good Vibes Gaming YouTube channel calls it “Perfect on 3DS” and it's a great way to experience “true gems.” Mayadeen on YouTube has been uploaded Screenshots from Wario Land Works on Red SnakeAnd while you don't get the near-immersive 3D element, you can feel the look and feel of it, which will likely improve after this wider release.

Ars reporter Bing Edwards previously wrote A detailed history of the Virtual Boy and his influence. Edwards also happens to have co-authored a book about the mysterious console, Scheduled in May From MIT Press.

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