Translations from Game Labo Vol. 194 -- October 2011 Issue

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I wonder if 3D is a bad omen?

Mana-Sama's Nostalgic game inferno



Part 7: Virtual Boy

Company: Nintendo
Release date: July 21, 1995
Retail Price: 15,000 yen

n some way or another I have crossed the path of the topic of 3D images. Society is now seeing a state of the prosperity in 3D, and as a Game console enthusiast it brings me to recall the aloof 3D game console, the "Virtual Boy"…….

My first experience with 3D was when I was a very young child. If I'm not mistaken, it was the start of it's research, and you could view things from red and blue cellophane glasses. Then when I was a teenager, I went to see "Jaws 3" in 3D at the movie theater. It was the first 3D movie I ever saw. In my own personal experience, the intensity of the images popping out in front of my eyes still burns in my mind even now. "If 3D is the new thing, we must be experiencing the future," at least thats what I felt when I was a child.

After that, the first magnificent 3D game console was introduced by Nintendo. This red unit was the dazzling Virtual Boy. With a futuristic control pad, a unique unit design, its not an exaggeration when I say it had the looks of a futuristic game console.

I had my first encounter with the Virtual Boy during the early days of MALICE MIZER, when we were doing a live tour in Osaka.

I was getting ready in the dressing room, when a staff came in saying "You have a present from a fan" and was holding the Virtual Boy!

Although it was well known among fans that I love games, it was a completely unexpected present. I accepted it, and I remember immediately as I was gathering my image together in the dressing room I unveiled it.

The Virtual Boy, although somewhat large, was an independent game console with its own monitor. The fan who gave me the present also included the game "Red Alarm" so I could play it right away. How thoughtful. Then at once, with my heart pounding I put on the Virtual Boy goggles for the first time.

So, the Virtual Boy was a type of gaming console with a screen built for one person. I was cut off from the real world before my eyes and reached into the 3D space. What a concept……. Yokoi Gumpei, who created big hits such as Game & Watch and the Game boy, was no ordinary person!

If I were to speak fundamentally about the game screen, the 3D space was constructed of a jet black center with a bright red frame. Until then a screen with this depth had never existed for games to be able to experience the mysterious 3D world.

It was my first time to witness the mysterious world in this three-dimensional depth. From there my attraction to the gaming world changed.

However, all the Virtual Boy's games were completely in black and red. The three-dimensional world was only in 2 colors, so allies, backgrounds, enemies, etc all appeared to overlap. It was hard to advance in games because I couldn't tell what's what, so I got the feeling of being trapped in an inner mind trip. If I continued to play games on it for a long time I would feel tired and weak.

I should say as a result, in spite of the Virtual Boy's flourishing debut, it quickly stalled. However, I want to acknowledge the value of that sort of originality to come out in a game console for that period in time.

Also, in recent years Nintendo has debuted the 3DS, which has dispelled that regret! The degree of public interest of being able to see 3D with the naked eye was amazing, but now they are in the middle of desperate reinforcement by having to do drastic price cuts and such. I hope this situation doesn't become like the Virtual Boy all over again.

Translations by Sarah @ Mana-Sama.net