Nintendo’s lost 1990s “VR” console comes to 3DS thanks to a remarkable emulator
news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 19:26 · 1 minute
Nintendo has made some bold, weird choices with its hardware designs. But none were so bold and weird as 1995's Virtual Boy, a "woefully premature commercial curio," as one Ars writer put it , that "quickly passed unlamented into history," as remarked another . The awkward red-on-black tabletop headset system wasn't so much ahead of its time as beamed in from an alternate reality. In this reality, it didn't sell much and was largely forgotten.
Nintendo has seemed eager to let the Virtual Boy fade from the collective memory , but clever coders have labored to keep the system accessible outside vintage hardware collections. The latest, and perhaps most accessible, is Red Viper , which plays Virtual Boy games on a ( lightly hacked ) Nintendo 3DS, the other Nintendo system on which 3D features were underappreciated. It is full-speed, it supports homebrew games, you can change the drawing color to something other than red, and it is free. It's built on top of the work of earlier 3DS emulator r3dragon , which itself drew heavily from the Reality Boy project for Windows .
— Floogle (@Skyfloogle) February 25, 2024
Red Viper makes use of the 3DS's top screen for game display and turns the lower screen into a system options panel. It maps the Virtual Boy's own face buttons onto the touchscreen. In the Twitter thread announcing Red Viper's general release, coder Floogle notes that the emulator is only roughly translating the Virtual Boy's 50 Hz refresh to the 3DS' 60 Hz by pushing a frame every 20 ms. There is, Floogle supposes, some hardware headroom for improvement.