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Animated History of Nintendo hardware in 2min 12 seconds
January 10, 2013 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Enjoy this delightful short animation which lays out the history of Nintendo hardware ; History of Nintendo.
posted by Faintdreams (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Virtual Boy ignored again. Poor thing.
posted by fullerine at 8:15 AM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


According to wikipeida, the Virtual boy was only ever released in Japan, and was only on release for a year it was such a dismal commercial failure. I suspect there are many, many Nintendo fans who have no idea it even existed.
posted by Faintdreams at 8:28 AM on January 10, 2013


I distinctly remember seeing a demo Virtual Boy on the shelves here in the US.
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:32 AM on January 10, 2013


I uh...

"It was released on July 21, 1995 in Japan and August 14, 1995 in North America at a price of around US$180."
posted by mkb at 8:38 AM on January 10, 2013


"It was released on July 21, 1995 in Japan and August 14, 1995 in North America at a price of around US$180."

Virtual Boy was definitely here; it was perhaps a bit too expensive, and a little ahead of its time. People didn't know what to make of it, they saw the monochrome graphics as a step back, when consoles were already going from 8-bit to 16-bit graphics in full color.

Still, nice animation. Had a slick retro feel to it.
posted by xedrik at 8:38 AM on January 10, 2013


The Virtual Boy was basically a perfect storm of bad design decisions. There was no comfortable way to actually use it, because it either had to sit in a holder on a desk and you stuck your face into it, or you had to strap it to your head and either lay on your back, or hope it didn't fall off (it was pretty big.) The way it displayed the graphics: either shades of burning red or pitch black, and necessarily blocking out any external visual stimuli, gave people headaches and motion sickness. Most, if not all, of the release titles were middling-to-terrible high-concept stuff that had already been done on the Game Boy years prior, and much better (mainly because the games had no reason to be in 3D.)
posted by griphus at 8:58 AM on January 10, 2013


I distinctly remember seeing a demo Virtual Boy on the shelves here in the US.

I remember playing one while it was chained to a shelf at Target.
posted by msbrauer at 9:20 AM on January 10, 2013


They were afraid that if someone stole it, they'd have to take it back and they didn't have the right paperwork for a return from a shoplifter.
posted by griphus at 9:21 AM on January 10, 2013


The Virtual Boy is a bit of a sad tale (and yes, it was available in North America - I bought mine from KB Toys back when they were Kay Bee Toys). In a lot of ways it was ahead of its time - the 3DS is obviously a better implementation of the same idea.

Only 22 games were ever released for the system, and only 14 of them were available in North America. One of the rarest is Water World, which probably makes it the only Water World branded thing that's in any sort of demand.

I actually liked a few of the games. Red Alarm is a neat StarFox-esque shooter that I put plenty of hours into. Wario Land is a worthy member of the Mario platformer family. And even Mario Tennis which shipped with every system was pretty fun.

The system never gave me headaches or eyestrain, but pulling your head out of the dimly lit monochrome world after a couple of hours of playing was always disorienting.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:30 AM on January 10, 2013


One of the rarest is Water World, which probably makes it the only Water World branded thing that's in any sort of demand.

I think to anyone who was alive at the time, "Waterworld for Virtual Boy" really just sums up the entire situation in four words.
posted by griphus at 9:33 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Animated History (from 1980 on) of (most of the) Nintendo (home) hardware (released in the US).
posted by hellphish at 9:53 AM on January 10, 2013


They sure made some odd choices there. For example: Only Nintendo of America products, and they didn't show all of them (No Virtual boy as discussed above, and no top-loading NES, no redesigned SNES). Even stranger, that wasn't a North American SNES, but either a Japanese Super Famicom, or a PAL SNES. However, they seem to be using Japaneses release dates with North American hardware; SNES was 1981, not 1980, according to Wikipedia.

Also, I found the animations really annoying and flashy, but that could just be me.
posted by Canageek at 10:00 AM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


^ Or maybe they are going by Euro releases? I thought the SNES they showed WAS the redesign, but now you have me wondering.
posted by hellphish at 10:07 AM on January 10, 2013


I will always remember the ad where they announced the Game Boy was now available in color! Not a Game Boy with a color screen, but the original black and white Game Boy molded in a plastic that wasn't gray. Still one of the most amazing bait-and-switches I have ever seen.
posted by ckape at 11:10 AM on January 10, 2013


I bought a Virtual Boy in North America, launch price. Months later, it was available for $20. I got to raid the blockbuster clearance bin for the few games released. I was never bothered by the black & red color scheme, & was hoping that this would be the next big thing, w/ a bunch of 3D AAA titles. Boo!
posted by broken wheelchair at 12:49 PM on January 10, 2013


I remember playing with a Nintendo Virtual Boy at the mall. The flickery red screen and lackluster graphics were a real turnoff.

This was a time when I would go down to the arcade and dump $20 into a Cruis'n USA machine, (supposedly) running on Nindendo's new Ultra64 platform. Rumors of Nintendo's powerful new 64-bit system were everywhere, and then they release this not-very-portable, not-very-powerful system with graphics no more impressive than the original Game Boy, at least to my eyes. It was an easy system to ignore and forget.

But Nintendo is certainly allowed the occasional dud. They've had an amazing run of innovative and influental hardware and software, completely unmatched in the gaming industry.

I love the continuety between the old Game & Watch devices, the original NES gamepad, and the various Game Boy systems. It's a fine example of the importance and longevity of great design.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 2:02 PM on January 10, 2013


Hanafuda is a sort of hardware I suppose.
posted by Winnemac at 7:14 PM on January 10, 2013


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