1995 can serve as a perfect example of of how picky the consumer public is about their video games. As reviewed in the article listed at the bottom, the Virtual Boy is one of the most epic flops in video game history. Touted as the first portable virtual gaming system, the Virtual Boy sported a rather large headset that inserted you into the action of your favorite video games. The 1995 release of the gaming system was met with underwhelming sales as the bulky design and head ache generating graphics combined to form a perfect storm of inadequacy.
My problem with this system, and the virtual reality movement in general, goes far beyond this poor excuse for a gaming system.
I am not an avid gamer, and therefore feel left out when my roommates discuss Assassians Creed and have no idea what generation of the PlayStation we’re currently on. This noted, when I come into my apartment, I hear my roommates discussing the action of the game, the plot line, and character development. The show each other how to beat parts of the game that were previously blocking their campaign to dominate the world. The experiences that I see having to do with video games are inherently social experiences.
The Virtual Boy, on the other hand, is described so eloquently when described in the online review, “might as well put a sign that says “Kiss off!” on your back when your face is stuffed within this shroud.” Instead of the social experience people get from connecting over video games, the virtual gaming experience is one for an individual. It is the chance to fully immerse yourself in the game and erase reality for hours at a time. The ability to say, “Hey, look at what I just did.” is lost completely when you insert your head into the Virtual Boy. the social aspect of entertainment is gone as soon as you make the game your reality.