The Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s ill-fated attempt to create a 3D virtual reality gaming system back in the 1990s. The system required that gamers align their eyes with a tabletop viewer, much like those things they make you look into when you get a vision test at the DMV. It produced red-on-black images using LEDs and rapidly moving mirrors, and was controlled with an external joystick that you couldn’t look at while your eyes peered into the headset. Now, more than 25 years later, a talented modder has managed to build a completely working version of the Virtual Boy as a handheld.
Shank Mods says he spent almost a year on his “Real Boy” conversion, which incorporates an authentic Virtual Boy motherboard and is not an emulator. It takes real Virtual Boy cartridges, displays them on a modern LCD screen, and has a built-in controller with bright red LED backlighting. The build includes several custom circuit boards and custom-developed code for the controller circuit. The whole thing is wrapped up in a custom red and black 3D printed case.
Shank explains how the original Virtual Boy worked and the challenges in converting it to a handheld in the video below:
Awesome build, Shank!