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Virtual Boy

The Virtual Boy was a console produced by Nintendo from 1994-95, intended to both exploit the then-recent interest in Virtual Reality games (bought about by films like The Lawnmower Man and a number of VR games in arcades) and supplant and eventually replace the Game Boy. The head of development for the console was Gunpei Yokoi, the inventor of the Game Boy.

The unit employed a proprietory screen design which simulated 3D visuals by carefully placed shades of Red and Black. It was designed to be placed on a table, with a headset for the user to look through and a control pad which was essentially a modified version of the SNES's control pad.

The system cannot be described as anything less than a total failure. People with imperfect vision simply could not make out the 3D visuals, and regardless of eyesight a person could only use it for around half an hour at a time, as it tended to cause eye-strain, and it was believed (but never proved) that some people's eyesight could be damaged permanently.

In the end, sales barely reached into the 1000's in Japan, and the system never received a major release in other territories. Following on from the Virtual Boy's failure, Gunpei Yokoi left Nintendo.