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volume 1, issue 41

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

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Game Boy for President: Nick F's love for the Game Boy.

Game Programming in the 21st Century: James Hague's look at the future of the industry, and how the GameBoy will affect it.

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Is Duke Sexist?: An exclusive look at this question that has dogged Duke Nukem's entire career (from our third issue).

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Put a Little Love in Your Pocket!

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

Check out these seven shots from Nintendo's Biggest mistake, the VirtualBoy.

Which brings us back to Nintendo. Yes, even Nintendo had another, failed portable system, although I'm sure they'd love to forget it. The Virtual Boy was Nintendo's first genuine flop, and rightly so. This horrible system (it may go down in history as the worst game console ever released) was a portable nightmare. It wasn't hand held by any means, and in fact, it took several minutes to set up before you could play it. To play the games, you placed your head right into the system's eyepiece, and controlled it with a game pad. The games were in 3D, but it was a cheezy 3D at that…and everything was in a ghastly red color. I tried to play it on a few occasions, and I must say…I have never gotten such a headache from playing a game before in my life (and I've played many a game, believe me). Needless to say, the system was an absolute bomb. Despite having Mario's face plastered all over it (it was all they could do to sell the thing) and even attempting to recreate the GameBoy's success with a horrid version of Tetris, the system was simply too weird to take off. Several games were canned, including a version of Bomberman that I was looking forward to trying…but in the end, it was probably for the best that this system was put out of its misery as quickly as it was. The world simply didn't want the Virtual Boy. We didn't ask for it, and lord knows nobody bought it. The Virtual Boy is still available in bargain bins if you hunt around…but be warned: $20 is far too much for this unless you're an obsessive collector.

One last interesting side note: one of the few games made for the system was actually a movie tie in. What movie you ask? Why nothing short of Kevin Costner's expensive failure Waterworld. Yes, Waterworld. Could there have been a bigger mistake?

So what does the future hold? That's a good question. Technology has advanced a great deal since the GameBoy's introduction. Chips are getting smaller and cheaper, and it's amazing that no truly advanced portable system has come along. The reason for this, most likely, is that with each passing year, the GameBoy grows even stronger…and not even Nintendo knows when it will end. But, there are some new portable systems on the horizon.

SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Color is the color follow-up to their unsuccessful (at least in the US, anyway) original system, and boasts compatibility with Sega's new Dreamcast. While it remains to be seen how successful it'll be here in the US, it does have the advantage of being a truly next-generation handheld system. While it's no Dreamcast, or even a PlayStation, it is certainly more advanced than the Color GameBoy. The system is currently available only via online ordering, but will be hitting stores "soon." Others, such as Bandai's WonderSwan, and Tiger's Game.com are out there too…Tiger seems to be directly attempting to go after the Color GameBoy's market by releasing their system in multiple colors, and lowering their already low price. Bandai hasn't announced a US release date for their WonderSwan yet, but the system is already picking up an audience in Japan.

But, so long as Pokemon remains the big money maker that it is, it looks like for the foreseeable future (and perhaps, another decade!) the GameBoy is king. It's strange, but after 10 years, the GameBoy isn't showing its age one bit…and it shows no signs of slowing down either.

 

- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here at loonygames. He loves his Pokemon.

Credits: Illustration © 1999 Michael Krahulik. This article is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it, or I'll sick my Pikachu on your ass.