There‘s a saying on the Internet that goes something like this:
If you laugh, no one sees.
If you cry, no one cares.
But fart just one time….
The editor wanted an article on the history of Nintendo‘s Virtual Boy game system, and the request landed on my desk with a thud. I reacted with a shrug. The NVB was not a game system I was ever particularly interested in. My biggest concern was that writing about it would be completely dry. Other game systems inspire some reaction one way or another. The Sega Genesis is my favorite system of all time. The Nokia n-Gage had real potential. The Gizmondo‘s line-up sounded like a joke. The Tiger R-Zone WAS a joke. But the Virtual Boy? That inspired nothing but total apathy from me.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the keyboard. The history of the NVB is simply a classic marketing blunder, due to poor design, poor timing, and is really no more noteworthy than any number of other systems that sink like sand in the ocean. But as I read more about it, I learned more and more about its creator, Gunpei Yokoi. This was not a system conceived out of misplaced hubris. This was the work of an incredibly ingenious man, and this one misstep got him thrown out of the sock hop.
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