The Virtual Boy was Nintendo's first attempt at a 3D video gaming system. Released in 1995, it used a head mounted display containing a monochrome red colored image that used a parallax effect to produce 3D picture. The Virtual Boy was one a one of a kind system full of potential, but suffered from poor sales and was eventually discontinued a year later.
In that short year there were a number of original video games released by Nintendo and other third parties that were actually quite fun to play. If you haven't heard of or played any of these games, have a look at some of the popular titles and see what you missed!
Though discontinued, you can still purchase Nintendo Virtual Boy systems and games online. Check Ebay or Amazon often to see what is available.
Though not as fun as the original, 3D Tetris is a fun title in it's own right. You play the game from a different perspective this time, on top of the playing area looking down. The pieces drop down on top of each other in a 3 Dimensional 5x5 playing area. Does it sound difficult or confusing? Don't worry, you get the hang of it right away thanks to the 3D effect used to create the depth of the playing area. Remakes have since been made for the web and Windows, check out this flash version of the game for an idea of how to play.
It would make sense that Nintendo releases an updated version of Tetris for their new gaming console, but will it be the 5x5 playing area 3D Tetris, the standard Tetris but with depth effects, or something completely different?
Reminiscent of the original Mario Bros. game, this version utilizes the 3D depth of field, and allows the player to crawl through pipes to the foreground and background to take out enemies. A truly fun game, this would make for a great casual gaming experience on the 3DS. Nintendo may never re-release this title, but it would make an excellent mini-game for them to include in a full Mario 3DS title.
The original Mario Tennis released on the Virtual Boy was bundled with each system sold. The 3D effect in this game is great, as you can see the depth of the tennis court, and how close the ball is to your player(s). Chances are that a tennis game, maybe not Mario Tennis, will be released for the 3DS, so this version of Mario Tennis might be overlooked.
Set in a full 3D environment using wire frame graphics, you control a space ship with dual D pads, shooting down your enemies and navigating around obsticals. The game is a fun and challenging, getting harder and harder as the levels progress. Red Alarm actually started off as a Star Fox tech demo before it was released as a full game with the Red Alarm title. Since there is going to be a Star Fox 3DS title already, the chances of this game seeing the light of day again are slim to none.
The title to this game could've easily been Robots Boxing in 3D, and perhaps that title alone could've saved the system from an untimley death. You control a boxer in a first person perspective battling it out with boxing robots. The enemy fists really take advantage of the 3D effect and jump right out at you; it may even cause you to flinch to avoid a fist in the face. The gameplay is similar to other boxing games like Punch-Out, using pattern recognition to learn when to block and when to attack.
The definitive platformer for the Virtual Boy, Wario Land featured staples in the Wario Land series, including ability-hats, treasures, and Wario's bad attitude. The game uses the depth of field 3D effect to create layered levels for Wario to explore. Wario Land is quite fun and challenging, and a pretty long game, relatively speaking. The Wario series is now a popular franchise, and it is very possible that Nintendo will release a completely new 3DS Wario game, but it would be great to play the Virtual Boy version on better hardware that isn't so strenious on the eyes.
Should Nintendo bring these games back to their new 3D gaming system, the Nintendo 3DS? If the Nintendo 3DS is as popular as the Nintendo DS was, they would have an opportunity to recoup some of their losses from the Virtual Boy era. It is only a matter of time before the 3DS hardware is hacked and a Virtual Boy emulator is ported over to the 3DS hardware, so why not take the opportunity to make a profit and release these games with updated graphics and sound, online support and new play modes?