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You got your MIDI Maze in my Virtual Boy!
January 3, 2013 6:15 PM   Subscribe

Thought you knew everything there was to know about the Virtual Boy? YOU WERE WRONG. [via] posted by griphus (31 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
So the Flickr guys didn't invent Faceball, they were just ripping off one of the most obscure 1980s video game cartridges ever?
posted by Nelson at 6:51 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"It wasn't long before the Virtual Boy die-hards were on the case though."
hahaha etc.
posted by Shadax at 6:54 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


That sentence was the runner-up for the title of this post.
posted by griphus at 6:57 PM on January 3, 2013


I remember seeing Faceball 2000 in Nintendo Power and it looked super-awesome. Then I played it and it sucked.

Boy, what an unusual sequence of events!
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:57 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


As much as I loved the virtual boy, it really was a terrible idea. It shot lasers at eyeballs.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:00 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Up to 16 computers could be networked in a "MIDI Ring" by connecting one computer's MIDI-OUT port to the next computer's MIDI-IN port.

Genius!
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:01 PM on January 3, 2013


... and the corpse twitches again. Grand that they've found another game, but will it actually use the link port so we can play this head to head or in groups?
posted by BishopFistwick at 7:05 PM on January 3, 2013


As much as it sucked I LOVED Faceball on the SNES. Hadn't played deathmatch in Doom yet so it felt revolutionary at the time...
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:46 PM on January 3, 2013


Man, I loved Faceball 2000 as a preteen. I do not know if it would hold up, but it was maybe my favorite multiplayer game, period, until Goldeneye. My brother and I spent a lot of time with that game.
posted by Caduceus at 8:18 PM on January 3, 2013


As an owner of a Virtual Boy, which I got for $30 new, I approve of this post. Bay Area Mefites are encouraged to enquire about trying it.
posted by zippy at 9:03 PM on January 3, 2013


Faceball. LOL.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:43 PM on January 3, 2013


"It wasn't long before the Virtual Boy die-hards were on the case though."

I put on my robe and wizard hat.
posted by carsonb at 10:28 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


It took this post to push me over the edge and actually register here, paying $5 for the privilege of saying I wrote (most of) MIDI Maze on the Atari ST. Not sure if bragging or confessing.
posted by mpark at 2:00 AM on January 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


thsmchnekllsfascists: "As much as I loved the virtual boy, it really was a terrible idea. It shot lasers at eyeballs"

I really hope you're joking, because the display was based on an oscillating mirror and LED system.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:07 AM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


mpark, awesome!!
posted by JHarris at 2:17 AM on January 4, 2013


This post created revenues of $35 dollars. That must be a significant percentage of VB's total revenue.
posted by ersatz at 3:42 AM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The release of the Virtual Boy more than made up for being one of those kids who had a Sega Master System (with Segascope 3d glasses!) instead of an NES.

That's some nice 32-bit 3D graphics you have there. Too bad they're all in eye-bleeding red! BWAHAAHHAHAHAHA!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:48 AM on January 4, 2013


I know this is only slightly on-topic, but I would really like to see some Virtual Boy games re-released as Virtual Console titles on the 3DS.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 5:45 AM on January 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Before you all laugh at the Virtual Boy, I recommend you play the best game for the system - Virtual Boy Wario Land - and then try to tell me that you can still see. Because you can't (unless you count endless red).

But I kid. I love my Virtual Boy.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:46 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ahh, the Virtual Boy. Ranking with the Manhattan Project as a miracle of innovative and futuristic technology applied to a terrible, terrible idea, and the doom of Gunpei Yokoi, perhaps the last century's most masterful bodger.

Still, I wish I had dropped a twenty on one once the great stacks of clearance started to appear outside the KB toys, even if only to drag it out of the closet once a year to provide a concrete illustration of failure.
posted by monocyte at 9:04 AM on January 4, 2013


MPark, were you involved with the virtual boy port at all?`
posted by jonbro at 11:09 AM on January 4, 2013


As much as I loved the virtual boy, it really was a terrible idea. It shot lasers at eyeballs.

No, it didn't. Having owned and subsequently disassembled a Virtual Boy back when, I can confirm that there were no lasers involved. The Virtual Boy used an array of red LEDs which shone into an oscillating mirror, creating the pixel fields for the "screens."

No lasers involved.
posted by stenseng at 11:49 AM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, I loved Midi Maze.

You know, in retrospect, I attended what must have been some of the earliest LAN parties. They weren't quite LAN parties, because, well, there weren't LANs yet. I don't remember seeing home network hardware for a long time after that, not really until the advent of the coaxial NE2000 on the PC.

We didn't have anything that sophisticated. Rather, we had a bunch of Atari STs hooked up in a MIDI ring, networking over a mighty 31,250 bits per second. This was at the Christmas parties for the computer store where I worked, and having five or six of these machines in the same place at the same time was pretty unusual. Holy crap, that was fun.

We did actual LAN parties too, years later, weekends where we'd drag our computers to someone's house, hook them all up, and start playing -- but coax networks were such a pain that we were usually struggling for the first whole night just to get all the machines talking reliably.

I'll tell ya, MIDI networking may not have been fast, but was it ever easy. And reliable.
posted by Malor at 11:59 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was the virtual boy the first to do that dual pronged boomerang controller design that'd become so prominent with the PS1?
posted by codacorolla at 12:04 PM on January 4, 2013


Nope, PSX was released in Winter '94, Virtual Boy in Summer '95. But the boomerang thing was a natural evolution. Controllers started curving like that as early as third-party NES controllers, IIRC.
posted by griphus at 12:10 PM on January 4, 2013


Thought you knew everything there was to know about the Virtual Boy? YOU WERE WRONG.

I knew that it sucked. That was enough.
posted by asnider at 12:28 PM on January 4, 2013


MPark, were you involved with the virtual boy port at all?

No, just ST and Atari 8-bit.
posted by mpark at 1:32 PM on January 4, 2013


The NES MAX was 1st party, and infinitely superior imo to all other controllers, including the NES Advantage. It was perfect for holding the right side like an old disc camera, letting your index finger rest across the B button and Turbo B, and your middle finger across the A buttons. This was a superior grip as it gave much more control over trying to use 1 thumb to work both buttons. So you had at your discretion mega-turbo or normal holdable buttons concurrently. So many turbo controllers of the era had extra mode switches you had to toggle to change from turbo to normal ops. The NES Advantage was one such. If the MAX had a nice D-pad instead of the ring thing it would have been an order of magnitude more potent but it was perfectly devasating as it was.

I miss mine.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 2:56 PM on January 4, 2013


Here's one for mpark: an Atari 8-bit version? How on earth? Care to provide any implementation details or stories, behind either that or the ST version? I find that stuff fascinating.
posted by JHarris at 3:43 PM on January 4, 2013


mpark, just so's you know, you were responsible for the best office Christmas parties, like, ever. :-) At least, the ones I probably enjoyed most. The vast majority have been a chore, but we had so much fun with MIDI Maze in the late 80s.

So, thanks! You caused much cheering, jeering, and trash-talking. :)
posted by Malor at 6:11 PM on January 4, 2013


JHarris, not a lot of stories that I remember (it's been how many years? Gack, I don't want to do the math). The 8-bit version was to be compatible with the ST version but also included in-game chat and MIDI or modem networking. It was never officially released (or even properly finished iirc), but I was shocked to discover that copies have been floating around somehow.

Malor, I'm glad to have been partially responsible for some good memories. To be clear, though, it was a team effort.
posted by mpark at 8:51 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


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