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The history of Nintendo’s forgotten console, the Virtual Boy

Exploring the origins of the red-screened helmet console that was doomed from the start

Virtual Boy demo kiosk in Akihabara, Tokyo Jennifer Granick/Flickr
Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

This week on The History of Fun, we dig deep into one of Nintendo’s unfortunate missteps: the Virtual Boy. Its screen could only show shades of red (which you could only experience by peering into it as if it were a desk-mounted periscope). Shocking that it wasn’t a broad success, right? Its creation and eventual failure is a bizarre tale, so join us and learn all about it!

Special thanks to everyone who participated in our new segment, Reader Only Memories, wherein we share listener stories about the topic at hand. Here is the full thread of responses:

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New to The History of Fun? Every Monday, Russ Frushtick, Allegra Frank and Chris Plante explore the hidden backstories behind the things we love to do. Ever wonder where dodgeball came from? Or the origins of the creepy Chuck E. Cheese robots? Or how about why Beanie Babies exploded and then vanished into the sands of time? We’ll seek to answer those questions and have some fun along the way! Subscribe and join us — we’d love to have you.

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