What If… the Virtual Boy Had Been a Success?

What If… the Virtual Boy Had Been a Success?



Come close and listen well, for we at DualShockers have dove into the furthest reaches of time and space to bring you exclusive access to the WORLD OF FUTURE PAST. We have stolen a drunken wizard’s magic eight ball so that YOU can witness a un-history that never was! Terrible futures lie in wait…if you dare.



What if…Halo Reach was an iPad exclusive?

What if…the Wii hadn’t started a mad rush to shoehorn motion control into every console?

What if…Sega’s colossal business blunders hadn’t cost them their place in the console business?

What if…Our beloved plumber Mario never existed to define the platformer?

So without further buildup:




The year is 2010, the setting is the same city or town you see around you, but yet something is eerily amiss. The streets are empty, the global economy has collapsed and all that remains of humanity are hunch backed freaks with crooked necks – almost as if some massive weight they had been wearing upon the front of their heads had forced the spine downwards into this new twisted state. You look into the creatures eyes to try to communicate but they do not acknowledge you as they cannot see anything outside of the red & black colour spectrum, or anything more than 4 cm away from its face. The creature roars in pain as yet another brain searing migraine kicks in before shuffling off into the dark ruins to ease its suffering with the very device that brought its existence down to this shameful mockery of humanity….and then it soils itself…probably.


This is the future – DAMN YOU NINTENDO !!!

The cause of my fictional apocalypse is the Nintendo Virtual boy, possibly one of the most bizarre and ridiculous concepts ever to leap from the drawing board into mass production. I try and imagine the board meeting where this thing got green lit, with Nintendo executives drunk on the success of the NES, SNES & Game Boy. In my mind it plays out something like the following…

(Chairman) “Lets make new portable handheld more advanced than the Game Boy”

(Execs) “Yeah !!!”

(Chairman) “We’ll use that new fangled virtual reality stuff”

(Execs) “Yeah !!!”

(Chairman) “And a tripod, man I love tripods. Nothing says portability like a tripod does”

(Execs) “ummmm..yeh !?!”

(Chairman) “And 2 colours, the Game Boy has shown us that people love monochrome.”

(Execs) “…ok”

(Chairman) “and goddam it I want this thing to hurt! I want a display that burns the freakin retinas off the backs of your eyes and makes your head feel like Alma from F.E.A.R. is having a brain explodey party in your temporal lobe! Now get outta here and don’t come back without a working prototype, and woe betide you if it don’t weigh ¾ of a goddam kilo!”

(Execs) “Yes boss! Great idea’s boss!!!”

***Yes I am aware that the Virtual boy was made well before F.E.A.R was released. I could have used the film Scanners to make the joke work but half of you plebs wouldn’t remember it.


This child is not playing – he is having his soul sucked out of his eyes.

Anyway I digress. The Virtual Boy was a handheld that clearly wasn’t a handheld, not only that but it was neither capable of VR graphics nor was it a boy, which beggars the question – what the hell was it ? But what if people had overlooked the limitations of the design and had embraced the device? Just as we see legions of happy commuters on the train playing on their Nintendo DS then we would have a similar scene but with a train full of Borg like drones, eyes hidden behind the sinister red plastic of the Virtual Boy, missing the stop for the office due to optical sensory deprivation.


“I liked the Virtual Boy so much I had it built into my face.”

Of course if Nintendo is famous for its company practice of revising hardware to the Nth degree. The iconic tripod would soon fall by the wayside on the Virtual Boy lite and instead we would have a head mounting strap – it’s the combination of the weight of the device coupled with the head mounting that has spasticated humanity in my apocalyptic introduction. But just as the DS led to the DSi, what could be the next step in the evolution of the Virtual Boy? Ladies and Gentlemen I present you the Virtual Boy CFi (Cyborg Fusion Interface).


“Hi my name is Philip, lets swap friend codes.”

OK maybe not, however when the 3DS was announced at E3 and while everyone else was pumping the air like drunken frat boys I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Once again we have a handheld (at least it is a handheld this time) that relies on your eyes being at a certain distance, at a certain angle and some people are already reporting discomfort from using the 3DS for prolonged periods. Could the ghost of the Virtual Boy be coming back to haunt Nintendo once again?