Virtual Boy

From WE Computers Museum
Virtual Boy logo.png
Virtual Boy
Designer Nintendo R&D1
Manufacturer Nintendo
CPU 20 MHz NEC V810
Graphics An oscillating mirror does stereoscopic
3D by a line of 224 red LEDs displaying
in monochromatic 384 × 224 graphics
Memory 128 kB DRAM
128 Kb Video RAM
Media Game Pak
Released JP: July 21, 1995
NA: August 14, 1995
Added to Museum Not yet

The Virtual Boy was a table top video game system released by Nintendo. The Virtual Boy was released on July 21, 1995 in Japan and on August 16, 1995 in North America. It sold poorly, due to concerns over the red-tinted monochrome display, the uncomfortable headset, and reports of motion sickness. It was discontinued in 1996.


In 1985, a red LED eyepiece display technology called Scanned Linear Array was developed by the Massachusetts-based Reflection Technology, Inc. They marketed it to several large companies in the electronics industry, including Mattel, Hasbro, and Sega. The device was turned down, due to its red-tinted monochrome display and worries about motion sickness.

Gunpei Yokoi, the manager of Nintendo Research & Development 1 liked the device and sought to create a game device using it. In the mid-1990s, while Nintendo Research & Development 3 was developing for the upcoming Nintendo 64, the other divisions were free to come up with new product ideas. The result was the Virtual Boy, which was in development at Nintendo for four years before release. Other LCD devices were tested, but Nintendo went with the original red display, because it was the cheapest, and because color displays caused players to not see depth, but rather they just saw double images.