The Virtual Boy was Nintendo's first 32-bit system and was described as the first portable game system to display 3D graphics.

Why it Flopped

  1. Overpriced.
  2. Despite being advertised as a portable game system, it was large in size and uncomfortable to use, thus it was considered false advertising.
  3. Nintendo rushed the Virtual Boy, far before its creator, Gunpei Yokoi, felt it was ready. This was because Nintendo wanted to focus more of its resources on the Nintendo 64 and because they wanted a new system to be out as soon as possible to keep gamers with Nintendo while they waited for the Nintendo 64.
  4. Prolonged use of the system could cause medical problems, often causing neck pain and back pain when trying to use. In addition, it was known for causing eye strain, nausea, and headaches. It was even capable of causing permanent eye damage if used too long.
  5. The only colors used in the games were red and black.
  6. The decision to make the graphics in red and black was a call purely based on cost. Attempting 3D graphics was crazy expensive in 1995, so having a single color was cheaper. Cheap multi-color LEDs weren't invented until 1996. While the tactic of a grayscale screen worked for the Game Boy, it didn't work for the Virtual Boy.
  7. Because of the name, some people believed this was the Game Boy's successor.
  8. It had a small library of games, with 22 games total, with 19 released in Japan and 14 in North America.
  9. Despite the name "Virtual" Boy, a large majority of the games failed to take advantage of the term, with gamers complaining that they weren't immersed in a virtual world, and felt that it was just like playing a regular 2-dimensional game that one would normally play on a television or handheld screen. 
  10. It was originally going to be worn on the head with head tracking, but Japanese safety regulations forced Nintendo to put it on a stand.
  11. None of the released games had any form of 2-player (the link cable that was supposed to allow this feature was never released).

Redeeming Qualities

  1. One of the very first consoles to implement 3D game graphics.
  2. Nintendo would eventually make built-in 3D without glasses correctly with the Nintendo 3DS.
  3. Fans of the console claim there are methods to lessen the medical problems this console can cause like playing the game in the dark to lessen eye strain.
  4. Some good games were on the console(even the Angry Video Game Nerd acknowledged this), although they were mainly games that could have been played on a home console or Game Boy. Among its Western releases at least, the only Virtual Boy game that's usually considered to be outright bad is WaterWorld.
  5. Its small library also means it's easy to finish the collection (though the prices may be very high).
  6. Decent 3D effects in some of the games.


The Virtual Boy flopped horribly and was discontinued in less than a year, making it Nintendo's most infamous console. Despite its flop, it is considered a valuable collector's item.

YouTuber Doc Seven ranked it as the worst game console (made by well-known brands) of all time. (His review also contains a short clip of AVGN trying to find a good pose to use it)