Nintendo’s Doomed Virtual Boy Gets Rebuilt As Handheld For First Time


Shank Mods built a working handheld Nintendo Virtual Boy. The original Virtual Boy was released in July 1995 and was discontinued the following year.

Youtuber Shank Mods built a workable handheld Nintendo Virtual Boy with custom electronics and hardware. Shank Mods features videos of Shank building or modding different types of portable consoles, usually Nintendo-based, including a portable Wii in an Altoid can and a WiiVision. Shank has even made Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers out of a Nintendo Game Cube controller.

The original Virtual Boy was released in July 1995 and was discontinued the following year. It was a 32-bit table-top console system developed by Nintendo where users would, put on the visor, look into the eyepiece to see the screen, and use the controller to navigate. The Virtual Boy was marketed as having a first-of-its-kind virtual reality experience due to its red and black display and stereoscopic visuals, which created a 3D effect. Although it was discontinued the following year due to bad sales and bad reviews, 22 games were released for the console.

Related: An Ode To The PlayStation Vita, One Of The Best Handhelds Ever

Now, one enterprising Youtuber named Shank has managed to take the worst-selling Nintendo console and make it portable and handheld, close to the size of a smartphone (via Nintendo Life). He was able to include a controller port for the original controller, an HDMI output, a USB-C charging port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The “Real Boy” also has a custom screen, custom housing, and the buttons light up to match the red of the original stereoscopic graphics.

Although this is not the first time a modder turned a console into a handheld, the work Shank did required a lot of time and collaboration. The system took Shank over a year to build, and he used custom hardware, electronics, and code to make it all come together. Shank had assistance to get the right components for the “Real Boy” just right.

The Virtual Boy in its original iteration was a disappointment. Now, one fan made it a more feasible system, the main difference being the handheld version no longer features the virtual reality experience because it is no longer a visor. Even though this system was originally a failure at Nintendo, one can’t help but marvel at the progress Nintendo has made with its consoles. The Switch combined a handheld system with a docked console, and other companies are considering handheld consoles for the future. The trial and error of the Virtual Boy was the stepping stone for what is now known as the Wii. Who knows what they will develop next.

Next: Nintendo Switch Games That Would Benefit Most From A Pro Upgrade

Source: Nintendo Life

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