Virtual Boy (partially found unreleased video games for Nintendo virtual reality system; 1990s)

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200px-Virtual-Boy-Set.jpg

A picture of the Virtual Boy.

Status: Partially Found

The Virtual Boy was a "tabletop" portable video game console created by Nintendo and released in the summer of 1995.

It is infamous for being one of Nintendo's most severe critical and commercial failures, with it only selling under a million units by the time it was discontinued in 1996. It was ravaged by critics for its limited color scheme, its expensive price (costing about $180 at launch), and the health problems that could be encountered from using the system, with people even citing that permanent brain damage could be encountered by using the system.[1] The system was discontinued in early 1996, leaving numerous games unfinished or unreleased.

Cancelled Games

Bound High!

This is one of the few cancelled games for the Virtual Boy that have had prototype builds released since the system's discontinuation. It originated when Hideyuki Nakanishi took a look at game plans sitting on the Japan System Supply company's president's desk, and, finding the plans unappealing, made his own game plan and put it on the wall for the company's president to see. When the president saw Nakanishi's plans, he was interested and greenlit production of the game.[2]

The gameplay of this game revolves around a robot named Chalvo, who can transform into a ball. The goal is to knock all of the enemies out of the game's "playfield" without falling out yourself. If Chalvo is to fall out of the area, he dies and all the enemies he has already defeated respawn. The game has four gamemodes: "Adventures of Chalvo", which involves Chalvo saving Earth from alien invaders, "Score Attack!!", where the player's goal is to defeat all the enemies in the quickest and most efficient way possible, "Random Game", in which players go through procedurally-generated levels, and Pocket and Cushion, where the player has to get as many balls into a hole as fast as they can.[3]

The game was originally intended to be released on August 26th, 1996.[4] However, due to the Virtual Boy's failure and subsequent discontinuation, the game was never released. It remained unavailable to the public for almost 15 years until the fansite Planet Virtual Boy acquired a build of the game and released it online in 2010, making it one of the only cancelled Virtual Boy games to have been found in its entirety.[5]

Doraemon: Nobita no Doki Doki! Obake Land

This game depicts Doraemon on a journey to rescue his friends from ghosts; he goes through numerous levels by either riding on a roller coaster, or bungee-jumping. It was developed by Epoch and was reported to have costed 5,500 yen (or approximately 52 dollars in U.S. currency) had it not been cancelled.[6]

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

Nintendo intended to make a Virtual Boy port of the Rareware SNES game Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, reusing sprites from the Game Boy game Donkey Kong Land. However, thanks to the failure of the console, it was cancelled, with no build having resurfaced as of yet.[7]

Dragon Hopper

Dragon Hopper was an action-adventure game depicting a dragon prince named Dorin who is on a quest to save his family from the Prime Minister of his kingdom. The game went far enough in development to be shown at E3 1996 and have a review in Nintendo Power.[8] It was intended to be released on August 26th, 1996;[4] however, it was cancelled, with no build having seen the light of day.

Faceball

Also known as MIDI Maze, Faceball is a first-person shooter where the objective is to shoot all the smiley-faced enemies in a certain amount of time; as the player goes through more levels, the time limit gets smaller. It would have been a port of a game originally released on the Atari ST computer. Had the game been released, it would have utilized the Virtual Boy's GameLink cable (which was never released itself).[9]

In December 2012, Planet Virtual Boy forum user bigmak announced that he had acquired a build of Faceball; after selling physical copies of the game for $100 due to having to sell his collection of Virtual Boy games to acquire the build, [10] he released the ROM on the internet for free, making it one of two rare cases of an unreleased Virtual Boy game getting found and released.[11]

Goldeneye 007

Goldeneye 007 was a racing game intended to be released alongside the home console (originally developed for the SNES, then for the Nintendo 64) game adaptation of the James Bond film Goldeneye. The developers who created this game are unknown; Rare, the developers of the Nintendo 64 version of the game, denied being the developers of this version. As such, it is assumed that Nintendo themselves developed it, due to the fact they (at the time) owned the video game license to James Bond and developed most of the Virtual Boy's games.[12] It was cancelled due to the Virtual Boy's failure; only one screenshot has surfaced.

Intercept

Information on Intercept is few and far between. It is unknown how far in development it got; however, what is known is who developed the game. It was developed by Coconuts Japan Entertainment and was intended to be released in December 1995.[13] As of now, all visual evidence of the game's existence, besides the Coconuts press kit, is completely lost.

Invincible Iron Man Gagaga-In

Invincible Iron Man Gagaga-in was a fighting game involving giant robots, and was developed by Hudson Soft and Eighting. The game was never officially announced; however, it went far enough into development to have a game design plan created for it.[14] The uploader, reportedly a former Hudson Soft employee, even apparently shared a clip of the game in 2013 before being forced to take it down the same day.[15] No other visual evidence of the game's existence besides the game plan document have surfaced.

J-League 3D Stadium

Not much information is known about this game, as it's only mention before cancellation was at SpaceWorld 1995. A translated description of the game reads:

"It’s the first software certified by J.League for the Virtual Boy. The ball comes at you, right before your very eyes, in a 3D perspective with an irresistible stereoscopic effect![16]

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Almost completely nothing is known about this game; the only evidence that it ever existed was in a brief listing in Nintendo Power, where it has an intended release date of sometime in the winter of 1996. Due to the extensive lack of information, it is unknown if it ever began development or existed in the first place.[17]

Out of the Deathmount

Out of the Deathmount was a first-person shooter where the objective is to escape a deadly mountain and defeat enemies along the way. The game was reportedly shown at SpaceWorld 1995 and was intended to be released in Japan in March of 1996. However, likely due to the failure of the Virtual Boy, it was cancelled, with only a few screenshots showing evidence that it existed.[18]

Proteus Zone

Little to nothing is known about this game. The only evidence of its existence is from a brief excerpt of a Japanese magazine describing it as having been developed by Coconuts Japan Entertainment, being a shooter, and having an intended release date of sometime in October of 1995.[19]

Shin Nihon Pro Wrestling Gekitou Densetu

Shin Nihon Pro Wrestling Gekitou Densetu was a wrestling game in which the player plays as one of eight New Japan professional wrestlers. The status of this game is disputed; according to a Planet Virtual Boy forum poster, a January 1996 issue of the Jugemu magazine claimed that the expected release date for the game was sometime in December of 1995, and that the tentative price for the game was 4980 yen. However, in the next month's issue, the release date of the game is no longer "expected", leading people to believe that this game was indeed released, albeit only in Japan and in very small quantities.[20] On top of this, it was also rumored at one point that a prototype exists in the hands of a private collector.[21]

Signal Rat

Almost nothing is known about Signal Rat, other than the fact that it was seemingly a racing game, was priced at 5900 yen, and was intended to be released in March of 1996.[22]

Sora Tobu Henry

Sora Tobu Henry was an action game focusing on the eponymous dog-like character with large ears, which he can use to fly around levels. It was intended to be released in the winter of 1995, but due to the system's failure, it was cancelled with only a few screenshots resurfacing.[23]

Star Fox

When the Virtual Boy was first announced, Nintendo presented a tech demo of a vehicle similar to one from Star Fox. However, it is unknown if Nintendo was intending to make a Virtual Boy port out of this, or if it was just a tech demonstration. Either way, the demo has not surfaced since its initial presentation.[24]

Star Seed

Also known as War Simulation, the only evidence of this game's existence is a listing in the German gaming magazine MAN!AC, where it is listed as being developed by Coconuts Japan Entertainment.[25]

Street Fighter II

It is unknown how far this port of the arcade game got into development or if it even existed in the first place, as its only mention was in the GameFan that claims the port was the product of rumors.[26]

Tobidase! PC Genjin

Tobidase! PC Genjin was a port of the Hudson Soft platformer PC Genjin, which revolves around Bonk, who uses his strong bald head to defeat enemies in order to save a reptile princess. A Hudson Soft developer stated that while working on this game, he used the also-cancelled Virtual Bomberman as a reference.[27] However, the game was never released due to the discontinuation of the Virtual Boy, with no prototypes surfacing online as of yet.[28]

VB Mario Land

Also known as Mario Adventure, this game was intended to be part of the main Mario series and was shown at Winter CES 1995. It is unique compared to the other 2D games in the main series; it features a top-down view in some parts of the game where Mario navigates through dungeons, similarly to Nintendo's other series The Legend of Zelda.[29] Mario Clash, a Virtual Boy port of the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros., was originally intended to be a smaller game included inside this bigger game.[24] However, due to the failure of the Virtual Boy, this game was cancelled and has not surfaced since, while Mario Clash was released as its own separate game.

Virtual Boy Mario Kart

A Virtual Boy version of the Mario Kart racing series of games was apparently in development; however, the only evidence of its existence is a mention in an issue of a German gaming magazine from 2000 where it is included in a list of scrapped games for the system.[30]

Virtual Block

Virtual Block was a game where the objective is to break blocks while playing as two blob-like creatures. The blobs' abilities include being able to fuse to create one bigger and more powerful blob, stretching, shrinking, and being able to push the ball used to break the rocks with more force.[31]

The game was intended to be released in December of 1995;[31] despite these plans, however, the game's release was cancelled. The game was allegedly shown at SpaceWorld 1995. However, no concrete evidence exists online to prove this claim.

Virtual Bomberman

Virtual Bomberman (not to be confused with a Virtual Boy port of Panic Bomber) was a game in the Hudson Soft Bomberman series of strategic video games. The plot revolves around Bomberman heading out of retirement after a "God Bomber" appears.

The game was intended to be released exclusively in Japan in February 1996, but, due to the failure of the system it was intended to be released on, it was cancelled, with barely any info about it currently online. However, while it has not turned up online, a prototype shown at SpaceWorld 1995 is known to exist.[32]

Virtual Dodgeball

Virtual Dodgeball was a sports game developed by Hect, intended to be released in December of 1995 with no set price before cancellation.

From what little information is available on this game, it appears to simply be dodgeball; however, what sets this game apart is the different stages, the ability to throw your ball in different ways, and one screenshot possibly implying a plot of some sort, due to the presence of what appears to be a boss.[33]

Virtual Double Yakuman

Little to no information is known about this game, with an even smaller amount of information about the game available in English. However, judging from available screenshots and an excerpt from Nintendo Power (mentioning it under the title of Virtual Mahjong),[34] it can safely be assumed that the game was merely a Virtual Boy version of the mahjong board game.

Virtual Gunman

Virtual Gunman was a first person shooter developed by Victor Entertainment, with an intended March 1996 release date at a price of 5,800 yen. It was reportedly shown (or at least mentioned) at Space World 1995, due to its presence in the event's guide book. According to it, the game is set in the "near future".[35] However, due to the failure and discontinuation of the Virtual Boy, Virtual Gunman was never released and has not surfaced.

Virtual Jockey

Virtual Jockey was a horse-racing game developed by Right Stuff. It revolves around a boy who uses his father's horse to achieve his father's dream of winning a derby. He has the ability to talk to the horse. However, he has to go up against the Kaiser Corps in order to win.[35]

Although the game never saw the light of day on the Virtual Boy, it has lived on in the form of a PlayStation game titled Jockey Zero. Many elements from that game seem to have been taken from this one, such as the story, gameplay, and the designs of the characters. Much of the game's info is supplied in a guide book.[36]

Virtual Pro Yakyuu '96

Also known as Virtual League Baseball 2, this was a game intended to be a sequel to Virtual Pro Yakyū '95. It was to feature the same Japanese teams from the previous version of the game. This game was also intended to make more use of the Virtual Boy's 3D capabilities (a criticism of the Virtual Boy was that it did not make enough use of its 3D).

Another update to this version of Virtual Pro Yakyū was that a multiplayer option was added, utilizing the unreleased GameLink cable. While only one sole screenshot of the game has been released,[37] it can be assumed the game was finished or at least very far into development before its cancellation, as the game appears to have gotten a rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.[38]

Virtual Tank

Virtual Tank was largely influenced by the Atari arcade game Battlezone. It was developed by Boss Game Studios, a subsidiary of the film company Boss Film Studios. It was conceived after a meeting with Nintendo showing off the Virtual Boy's hardware gave Boss creative director Seth Mendelsohn the idea to make a game similar to Battlezone.[39]

While the original version of Battlezone was limited in its enemies and missiles, Virtual Tank added a new variety of missiles and enemies. Virtual Tank was to feature the system's standard red grid-line graphics, as opposed to the original, which had a mostly green color scheme.[39]

After a troubled but short production cycle, Boss Game Studios was able to create a playable build of the game and began looking for a publisher. However, due to the failure of the Virtual Boy, the game was cancelled. Prior to its cancellation, its development was required in order to develop Top Gear Rally, a Nintendo 64 game also developed by Boss Game Studios. No build has surfaced as of yet, with Mendelsohn claiming the farthest it got was "between a first playable and [an] alpha". The game's other developers claim that they do not own anything related to the game.[39]

Wangan Sensen Red City

Developed by Asmik Corporation, the objective of Wangan Sensen Red City is to protect a city that sends numerous missiles toward said city and occasionally sends a large battleship that the player has to fight as a boss. At the end of the game, the antagonists send an enormous battleship as the final boss.[6]

The game was intended to be released in the December of 1995.[6] However, thanks to the failure and discontinuation of the Virtual Boy, it was left unreleased, with only a few screenshots from Japanese gaming magazines publicly accessible.

Worms

A port of the strategy game Worms was reported to be in development by a Spanish gaming magazine;[40] however, in 2008, Team17 studio director Martyn Brown claimed that development never really started; after a small period of a "mess around" with the console, the developers decided that the console was doomed to fail and abandoned development only a few weeks into it. After its cancellation, Team17 kept the development kit for over 10 years until giving it to a museum at Nintendo of Germany.[41]

Zero Racers

Zero Racers was a racing game intended to be a sequel to the SNES game F-Zero. The changes made to this version include going through tunnels and being able to drive in four directions. Also added was a practice mode that allows you to practice courses in preparation for the Grand Prix races and get the fastest time possible.

Though the game was shown at E3 1996 and was set to be released in the fall of that year,[42] it ended up never being released, most likely due to the failure of the Virtual Boy.

References

  1. An excerpt of the GamePro magazine from September 1995 that mentions the Virtual Boy and its health risks. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  2. An interview with the creator of Bound High! on the fansite Planet Virtual Boy. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  3. An excerpt of the Total! gaming magazine that mentions Bound High!. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  4. 4.0 4.1 An excerpt of the Super Play magazine that mentions Bound High! and its intended release date. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  5. A Planet Virtual Boy forum post reporting the finding and release of Bound High!, with a download link at the end of the post. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 An American translation of an excerpt of the Famitsu magazine from December 1995. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  7. Rare's reply to a fan's question about the Virtual Boy port of Donkey Kong 2. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  8. A Nintendo Power excerpt that describes Dragon Hopper. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  9. A Planet Virtual Boy page on Faceball. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  10. The forum post announcing the discovery of Faceball. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  11. A Reddit post with a download link to Faceball in the comments. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  12. An article on "the lost Goldeneye video game". Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  13. A Coconuts Japan Entertainment kit, as documented on Planet Virtual Boy. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  14. A Twitter post containing an image of the game design plan document for Invincible Iron Man Gagaga-In. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  15. A Planet Virtual Boy article on Invincible Iron Man Gagaga-In. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  16. A Planet Virtual Boy page on J-League 3D Stadium. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  17. An excerpt of Nintendo Power with a brief mention of the Power Rangers Virtual Boy game. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  18. A Planet Virtual Boy page on Out of the Deathmount. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  19. A translated excerpt of Jugemu with a brief mention of Proteus Zone. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  20. A Planet Virtual Boy forum post about the possibility of the release of Shin Nihon Pro. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  21. An archived forum post listing many unreleased Virtual Boy games. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  22. A Planet Virtual Boy forum post on Signal Rat. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  23. A Planet Virtual Boy forum post translating numerous issues of Japanese gaming magazines. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  24. 24.0 24.1 An excerpt of The Official Nintendo Magazine about the games for the Virtual Boy "you'll never play". Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  25. An excerpt of MAN!AC about the Virtual Boy. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  26. A brief excerpt of GameFan that mentions the rumored Virtual Boy port of Street Fighter II. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  27. A tweet by a Japanese Hudson Soft developer about his work on Tobidase! PC Genjin. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  28. A tweet by the Hudson Soft developer as to why Tobidase! PC Genjin was never released. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  29. An excerpt of Nintendo Power that briefly mentions VB Mario Land, albeit without mentioning its title. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  30. An excerpt of The Big N where Virtual Boy Mario Kart is briefly mentioned. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  31. 31.0 31.1 A Japanese flyer for Virtual Block that mentions its release date and gameplay style. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  32. An archived Planet Virtual Boy page on Virtual Bomberman. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  33. An excerpt of Marusho featuring a few screenshots of Virtual Dodgeball. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  34. An excerpt of Nintendo Power that mentions Virtual Double Yakuman under the name of Virtual Mahjong. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  35. 35.0 35.1 Page 2 of Benjamin Stevens' translations of Japanese gaming magazines. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  36. An English translation of the full Jockey Zero guide book. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  37. A Planet Virtual Boy page on Virtual Pro Yakyū '96. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  38. The rating for Virtual League Baseball 2 on the Entertainment Software Rating Board's website. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 A Nintendo Life article on the story of the development of Virtual Tank. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  40. A page of the Micromanía magazine detailing Worms. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  41. A Planet Virtual Boy page on Worms, including a statement by Team17's studio director. Retrieved 07 Dec '20
  42. An excerpt of Nintendo Power including a brief mention of Zero Racers. Retrieved 07 Dec '20