Big, black and red and looking something like the arcade-style virtual reality headsets of the early 90s, the Nintendo Virtual Boy is as unusual to look at as it is to play. It's unlike any other console out there, with features and effects that really need to be experienced first hand to be fully appreciated, if not understood. It launched way back in July of 1995 in Japan to moderate sales, but the US release in August 1995 was unnervingly quiet. The US $180 price-point made it inaccessible to the mainstream (although this seems almost reasonable by today's standards) and the gaming public seemed more entranced by the looming Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation consoles that were just around the bend.
The system bombed, with total sales not even nearing a million units worldwide. It cost its creator, Gunpei Yokoi, his reputation and brought the unassailable Nintendo juggernaut into public disrepute, before being quickly shelved a year or so after release. 32 bits of power, straight down the plughole. Here, the Virtual Boy gets a second chance.