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oh my failed youth: virtual boy


i'm quite possibly showing my age but i owned a virtual boy when it was released.

that red and black hunk plastic fail with a tripod and a controller: i owned it.

i owned two games for it.

around the time of release i worked at picadilly's cafeteria for tips and 3 dollars an hour,
bussing tables and cleaning bathrooms. my moms helped me go get a work permit and i
was saving money. eventually i was known as the kid that had almost every video game
system out.

remember all of those stories about someone mentioning going to their friend's house to
play street fighter alpha on playstation or chrono trigger? i was that friends house.

this kid i went to high school with caught up with me at the mall. the conversation was
pretty normal for a pair of 15 year olds: video games, girls, video games, wutang, girls.

i don't remember much about the conversation but this stuck out: "virtual boy came out

wait wha?

"virtual boy"

have i been bussing tables for too long? did i oversleep half of the summer? what the hell
happened to me? i totally forgot the virtual boy was coming out. it's virtual. and it's a game
boy. it's a headset with a fucking controller attached to it. it's the future. so we run over to
babbages (which it used to be called before it was called gamestop or software etc or EB or
whatever the shit it's called now) and i'm leaning across the counter like a drunken maniac.
huffing and puffing. in between each puff i say each syllable.


the associate behind the counter, opened his mouth. but nothing came out. "you might want
to check toysrus".

time to run again.

if you live in chesterfield, virginia you might know the distance between cloverleaf mall
(well what used to be) and what used to be nationwide insurance. nationwide insurance
used to be a toysrus.

please don't ask how they managed to turn a toysrus into a nationwide insurance. long john
silvers is still around but for some reason toysrus just couldn't make it in this high paced
retail market.

they had one in stock.
the girl told me to pick it up in the front and i had my money all ready. i bought mario
tennis and teleroboxer, the "boxing simulator".

i rushed home with virtual boy in tow, took it out of the box and plugged it in.


first thought: this thing is fucking huge. when i heard about virtual reality i was thinking cool
classes with a couple of wires. this thing was like kanye wests sunglasses with terminators
sunglasses glued to them and there was a buncha shit that they decided to glue on them.
like a whole nother console.

second thought: the controller had two d pads. one on the left. one on the right. as a matter
of fact, that controller was pretty freaking symmetrical, looking back. and i'm not saying
this as a negative. it's about time the gaming industry stopped shitting on left handed
peoples hands.

third thought: this display shit is RED. like...blood red. the display was so red, snoop dogg
came by and shot at it. and it flickered. if you played it for more than 20 minutes, it'd feel
someone unhinged your skull and peed on your brain. it hurt that bad that
i'd compare
it to being peed on the brain.

fourth thought: i hope toysrus has a lax return policy.

eventually, i did sell the virtual boy. some time later, i come to my senses and put an ad in
the local penny saver: "selling virtual boy. pls buy. $60 incl 2 games"

i got a call a week later, some guy was like "do you have teleroboxer with it?" i replied.
then he goes "what about wario land?"

i didn't get wario land. i wasnt' going to wait to sell this thing because i wanted to play one

"i have wario land"

i was so happy to finally sell this waste of time and money. i met with the dude in front of
cinnabon at chesterfield town center. i had it with me. he goes "i just want to buy
teleroboxer. i already have a virtual boy."


he walks away and he pauses, turns around and looks at me, "good luck selling that virtual
boy. i tried to sell mine for a good price."

was this what my future held? buying virtual boy games from a 16 year old in a suburban
mall? if i wasn't to get rid of this thing soon, it would manifest itself into me becoming some
sort of virgin living in my mothers basement. playing virtual boy. buying wario land for 8
bucks at putt putt.

a little bit later i got a drivers license. i threw everything in the trunk of my chrysler laser
(you know...the car deedee mccall drove in "hunter"? that...with paint damage) and drove
to the furthest pawn shop i could find on a fourth of a tank of gas.

this old man wearing a newsie hat was sitting in a stool, chewing on an unlit cigar in a pawn
shop. he says "how ya doin? i'm a cliche. how can i help ya?"

i took the virtual boy out and he looks me up and down. look at the system. looks back at
me and says "...the fuck is this?"

"it's a virtual boy"

"whatsama boy?"

"it's a video game system you put on your eyes"


there was this long pause as i hand it to him so he could take a look at it. he fiddles with
the controllers and the cables. then he looks at me and goes "how much you wanna let it go

all i needed was gas money to get back home and maybe some money to go to hardees.

"all i needed was gas money to get back home and maybe some money to go to hardees."

i really didn't say that but it wouldn't have made any difference.

"sold!" his voice jolted me and he gives me 30 dollars.

30 dollars?

i paid almost 200 dollars on this system.

i got back 30 dollars for it almost a year later.


"what about 60? theres a game with it and it's in perfect condition."

he pauses again.

"SOLD!" and hands me 20 more dollars.

i say thank you.
he says not one word back to me and continues to examine his brand new alien technology
as i walk towards my car with my 50 dollars.

i bought the new ghostface album with some of that money (ironman).

#Community    #Retro   
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About etfpone of us since 5:01 PM on 07.22.2007

i'm a late 20s gamer for an affinity for the retro stuff. old school but still love the new school games. i currently own a ps3 and a wii. don't ask why i don't have a 360 yet. maybe because i'm a masochist.

favorite games of all time:

- all of the metroids including primes.
- final fantasy 6 and 7
- chrono trigger
- the zelda series
- einhander (the perfect game IMO)
- street fighter II (and the alpha series)
- bad dudes
- goldeneye
- super mario kart
- metal gear series

i curse too much. drink beer 3-4 nights out of the week. work for a computer store. and play emulated games all the damned time.