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Virtual Boy emulator lets you relive Nintendo’s original, flawed home VR system

Virtual Boy Wario Land - Cardboard Test
The Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s ’90s attempt to make virtual reality a viable alternative for gamers. Little did it know that it would take a bit over two decades of further display, graphics and software development progression for that to become a reality. Still, perhaps by porting over some of the games from the Virtual Boy we can enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed, without giving us a raging headache.

But playing those games on a PC emulator wouldn’t be right. These were games that were meant to be viewed in glorious three-dimensional virtual reality — even it was only red and black. So Redditor King of Spain has done the truly noble thing by figuring out the steps to bring them to Google Cardboard instead.

To make this work yourself, you will need a Google Cardboard “headset” or similar device, a compatible smartphone, and the Retroarch emulator for Android. There are a few other steps, but none of them are overly complicated.

The funny thing with the Virtual Boy is that much like a few of the other niche systems released during the ’90s, there are some great classic games on there that you might otherwise never have had the chance to play if they hadn’t been ported over to other platforms in the ensuing years.

If nothing else though, they show what early attempts at virtual reality and 3D gaming were like. We see elements rendered in backgrounds that, with proper lenses to render that depth, offer a surprisingly good 3D effect. The result isn’t going to make you feel like you’re in Mario’s world with him, as you would get with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but for a more than 20-year-old bit of software running on a headset using a standard smartphone, it’s quite impressive.

Are there any classic games you would like to see brought to new life in virtual reality? We wouldn’t mind a few point-and-click games being remade with that sort of perspective in mind.

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