The new dimension.. a look at nintendo’s other 3D console..

So, the 3DS has been out for a while, for many, this will be their first experience of 3D games. Nintendo has been working on 3D technology for a long time, all the way back to the NES. the Gamecube is 3D capable (but no games supported it) and they even tried to add a 3D screen to the Gameboy Advance SP.
go here to read more about Nintendo previous 3D efforts:
or here if you want a more in depth look:

 But theres one 3D console that everyones tends to forget, whether intentionally or not. and that is…… the Nintendo Virtual Boy!

I’m lucky (unlucky?) enough to own one and a few games to go with it..

The system was a huge commercial failure, selling very few units and having only 14 games released (in america) it was far too expensive and had “headache inducing red and black graphics” but, even so, i love it! and heres why…. it looks hideous, like one of the Martians from war of the worlds, or simply, a pair of goggles on legs..

The 3D works amazingly wellUnlike the 3DS, which you have to hold at the correct angle, you don’t have to worry about being at the wrong angle to see the virtual boy’s 3D effect, you just have to put your eyes in the screen and the image is there, in full 3D right in front of you. despite the red graphics it is very impressive to see things flying towards you and you really do feel like your there.. its a very impressive effect and is much more noticeable than the 3DS. There are dials on the top of the console so you can adjust the depth and other things to make the 3D work better for you, but i find it works well whatever setting you put it on. it’s very immersive, shutting out all the light apart from the screen, and the speakers on the side of the system provide a very good surround sound experience that adds to the immersion. one thing that doesn’t help immerse you in the game, it the very annoying “Auto Pause” which pauses the game either after 30 minutes, or, on some games, after each stage..

It has better games than the 3DS (So Far)It has 3 mario games! Mario tennis, mario clash and wario land VB. all three of the games are good, wario land is especially good, i haven’t played it but I’ve heard its one of the best in the series, and its unfortunate that it was only ever released on the virtual boy, heres hoping for a re-release on the 3DS once the virtual console shop becomes active! 

Mario clash is much like the original mario bros arcade game, but in 3D, you play on two different layers and can throw shells into the background or foreground to take out unsuspecting koopas!

and mario tennis probably has the best use of the 3D effect, you can really tell how far away the ball is, as well has having good 3D it also has an amazing soundtrack! with music just as catchy as mario land. and fun, if a bit simple, gameplay. its also quite long, having single player and tournament modes, where you have to play a match against all the characters, there are unlockables and it saves your scores onto the cartridge, this is one of the VB games i go back to and play and still enjoy just as much now.
mario tennis music!

Great puzzle games, such as tetris (every console needs a tetris!) infact the virtual boy has 2 versions of tetris, a normal one and a “3D” tetris… i’ve only got the normal version, called V-Tetris, it plays exactly how you would expect. but with flashy 3D backgrounds and once again, awesome music! its just as addictive as any version of tetris, except you have to play it with your head inside a war of the worlds Martian…

another fun puzzle game is Panic Bomber, i have the Japanese version so i have no idea what the story is.. but somehow, bomberman and his friends have given up running through mazes and decided to play a game of puyo pop instead. its quite fun but really, has very little to do with bomberman. 
Starfox won’t the first 3D nintendo game staring a space ship, that award goes to the fantastic VB title, Red Alarm! it plays very much like a clone of star fox, but benefits from the virtual boy’s controller, having two d-pads, one for movement and another to dodge enemy bullets, it plays well and looks awesome in 3D, the levels are challenging but not annoying and the boss fights are clever and fun to look at. of course, from screenshots its impossible to tell exactly what it looks like, but trust me, its a lot easier to see when your actually playing it, and doesn’t look like a jumble of lines, even though this picture might make you think otherwise…

Another shooting game i have for the VB is a vertical scrolling shooter called Vertical Force. it plays much like any vertical shooter, such as Raiden, Nanostray or any other shooter like that.. except, this one has two separate layers you can play in. you can move your ship into the background, and back again by pressing a button, and enemies appear on both layers, so you have to keep switching between them, its a very clever idea and one that could only work in 3D. its one of the best games for the system and uses the 3D to its advantage to create a new gaming experience. it’s pretty much impossible to find good screen shots, so heres the back of the box..

of course, not everything about the virtual boy is good, its powered by SIX AA Batteries, which go, INTO THE CONTROLLER, which is a strange design choice, and they last even less time than the game gear, about 3 hours.. it’s awkward to use the machine unless you have a table in front of you to stand it on, don’t even try using it anywhere other than a table, its just not possible… as this guy shows..

but as a piece of gaming history and certainly one very unique machine, it’s worth experiencing at least once. one of the most experimental game systems i have ever seen. although it has its problems, i have a soft spot for the virtual boy, and it shows that Nintendo isn’t afraid to try new ideas. and im glad they haven’t been put off making a 3D console, i hope the 3DS will have Virtual Boy games available to download, so people can experience these games, as most of the games are decent, its just the console that lets them down. but i doubt nintendo want’s to acknowledge the existence of the VB so the chance of a VB virtual console is slim at best… but i can hope!

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