Nintendo's riding on the success of the Switch right now, but it's had its low points too. Few are as infamous as the Virtual Boy, a failed attempt to kickstart home virtual reality systems long before the Oculus Rift or Valve Index.
Still, the apparatus has been referenced a handful of times in Mario games since: in Super Smash Bros., Mario and Luigi, and most recently, Luigi's Mansion 3.
In a new interview with Kotaku, the outlet asked the developers behind Luigi's Mansion 3 whether there was any "awkwardness" with Nintendo about including the Virtual Boy as a tool called the Virtual Boo. When the player acquires them, Professor E. Gadd even mentions he plans on selling them, saying they'll "fly off the shelves." Here is producer Yoshihito Ikebata's response:
"The impression with the Virtual Boy is that it's a 'machine that specializes in three-dimensional expression,' and is a part of Nintendo history. Regarding putting this in the game, we had a good idea with the Virtual Boo name that was applied from the start. From within the development team, it was decided from the beginning of development to use that as the subject. There wasn't a negative response from Nintendo internally, and it was approved without any problems. I believe that there are users who aren't familiar with the Virtual Boy, but it would be great if they used this opportunity to learn about the Virtual Boy."
So no harm, no foul, I suppose? While other games have had the Virtual Boy as just a visual easter egg, this was a pretty overt joke about the system's shortcomings, and Nintendo still signed off. Considering it's been over two decades since the Virtual Boy, it's probably fine for it to fade out as a fun Nintendo trivia bit rather than an ongoing sore spot.