The Virtual Boy may have jumped on the VR train 20 years before the technology was ready, but now Nintendo’s failed headset is getting a second life.
After some trial-and-error, Redditor The-King-of-Spain developed a method to emulate Virtual Boy games using an Android phone, Retroarch (an emulator program for the mobile OS), some questionably procured ROMs, and a headset like Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR.
With just a little tooling around in Retroarch’s settings, the results will have you playing games such as Mario Clash, Wario Land, and Teleroboxer like it’s 1995, but with the comforts of 2016.
The-King-of-Spain also reports that despite the original Virtual Boy’s penchant for nausea, playing for a fair amount of time on the Android emulator didn’t cause them “any of the Virtual Boy’s trademark motion sickness.”
The King also suggests desaturating the Virtual Boy’s blood-red display to greyscale to cut down on eyestrain, making the Android “port” of Nintendo’s headset much more palatable for extended play than it was back in the mid-’90s.
Seeing as Nintendo is litigious with its property, we estimate it won’t be long before the cease-and-desists come flying in, but only if the company isn’t so ashamed of the Virtual Boy – or busy with its own mobile games – that it feels like fighting over it.
While the black-and-red eyesore may not have too many defenders, The-King-of-Spain has made once-forgotten parts of Nintendo’s history playable again, this time without the need to keep a bottle of Advil nearby.