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Nintendo Virtual Boy

The Nintendo Virtual Boy, released in 1995, was a video game console that used a twin eyeglass style projector to display the games in "true" 3-D (though monchromatic). The launch price was around $180. It was a flop in the marketplace, for several reasons:

  • It was marketed as a portable system, but it was not as portable as consumers thought it should be
  • The display was known to cause eye problems, especially for those under 7 years of age (it allegedly stunts eye development).
  • Buyers did not feel that the games released for the system were particularly fun to play.

Every Virtual Boy game will pause automatically every 15-30 minutes to remind the player to take a break, to prevent undue eyestrain and possible headaches.

Hype surrounding the device before its release included public musings by Nintendo that the device might resemble a gun set vertical, projecting a 3D image in the air above it. The actual device was considered a disappointment compared to this description when it arrived.

Console hardware specifications

  • Processor
    • NEC V810 (P/N uPD70732)
    • 32-bit RISC Processor @ 20 MHz (18 MIPS)
    • 1 MB of DRAM and 512 KB of P-SRAM
    • 1 KB Cache
  • Display
    • RTI SLA (P4)
    • 384 x 224 Resolution
    • 50.2 Hz Horizontal Scan Rate
  • Power
    • 6 AA Batteries (9 VDC) or AC Adapter (10 VDC)
  • Sound
    • 16-bit Stereo
  • Controller
    • 6 buttons and 2 pads
  • Serial Port
    • 8 pin cable
  • Hardware Part Numbers
    • VUE-001 Virtual Boy Unit
    • VUE-003 Shaft
    • VUE-005 Controller
    • VUE-006 Game Pak
    • VUE-007 Battery Pack
    • VUE-011 AC Adapter
    • VUE-012 Eye shade Holder
  • Weight
    • 760 grams
  • Dimensions
    • 8.5"H x 10"W x 4.3"D

Cartridge specifications

  • 8-16 Mbit ROM
  • 0-8 KB Battery Backed RAM
  • Toshiba TC538200AFT and TC5316200AFT SRAM Chips (16 Mbit)
  • 60-pin connector

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