Nintendo’s biggest failure gets incredible 3DS emulator

Rebecca Hills-Duty
Virtual Boy emulator on 3DS

The Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s least successful console, but clever modders have found a way to resurrect it using the 3DS handheld.

The Nintendo Virtual Boy was released in 1995 after several years of development but was quickly met with harsh criticism. Even so, some retro fans are keen to experience the Virtual Boy.

Whether out of idle curiosity, a general love of VR or retro gaming, or interest in some of the unique games released on it. Now thanks to modder and developer Skyfloogle, owners of the Nintendo 3DS will finally have that chance.

Virtual Boy and controller

When it was released, the Virtual Boy was not warmly welcomed, with many players reporting issues with the monochrome red-and-black display, or discomfort in using it for long periods.

VR technology was in its infancy in 1995, and the Virtual Boy was kicked out of the door too early to make room for development on the Nintendo 64.

Even so, some will defend the Virtual Boy as not being as bad as its reputation would suggest and would like others to try it for themselves instead of believing hearsay on the internet.

Virtual Boy in the palm of your hand

Despite all the derision thrown its way, and Nintendo apparently being determined to confine the Virtual Boy to the memory hole, there were some games on the console which retro enthusiasts would recommend.

Whether it is for genuine quality such as with Panic Bomber or Mario Tennis, or historical curiosity such as Jack Bros from Atlus. Up until now, it has been very difficult to get a sense of how the sense of depth would work in these games without having access to the rare and expensive original hardware.

Thanks to Skyfloogle releasing the files on Github, 3DS owners can utilize the upper 3D screen to get a feel of how these games might have looked and played originally, and maybe find some hidden gems in the process.

About The Author

Rebecca is a Tech Writer at Dexerto, specializing in PC components, VR, AMD, Nvidia and Intel. She has previously written for UploadVR and The Escapist, hosts a weekly show on RadioSEGA and has an obsession with retro gaming. Get in touch at