Let's Get Virtual (Sort of) With Retronauts Micro

Let's Get Virtual (Sort of) With Retronauts Micro

Contemplate Nintendo's greatest failure with this companion piece to last week's portable game consoles episode.

The Game Boy ruled portable gaming with an iron fist throughout the '90s. Well, maybe not iron, but whatever that plastic was that Nintendo used to make the Game Boy was just about as tough.

Last week, we looked at two of the Game Boy's later competitors, WonderSwan and Neo Geo Pocket. Someday, we'll look at its earlier competition, Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear. But as we work our way backward in time, we have a brief Micro episode focusing on the weird sidestory that came smack-dab in the middle of the '90s: Virtual Boy.

It's hard to know whether Nintendo actually intended Virtual Boy to be Game Boy's replacement — the name would suggest yes, but the actual manner in which you used the two systems was completely different, and they occupied totally separate gaming spaces. And Nintendo's not saying — their story about the Virtual Boy changes radically with each telling. I don't crack this particular mystery in the latest Retronauts Micro, but Virtual Boy makes for an interesting story nevertheless.

And hey, the system still generates headlines. Just a few days ago, someone ported Hideo Kojima's Snatcher to Virtual Boy. It may have been a dud of a system, but it nevertheless holds a certain fascination. I mean, it's the only system with games that star Wario, Jack Frost, and Nester. It's a strange little slice from a very specific point in history. Inessential, perhaps, but all the more interesting as a result.

Download links:

Libsyn (10:55 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud


Following our look at Game Boy's competitors in the late '90s, Jeremy explores the system's would-be successor: Nintendo's disastrous Virtual Boy. Aw, but it wasn't all bad.

Music in this episode comes from the Game Boy Wario Land games. I couldn't find any actual music rips from real Virtual Boy games, so those will have to do.

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