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Though slightly less expensive and significantly less powerful than a home console, this was considerably more costly than the Game Boy handheld.
With seemingly more advanced graphics than Game Boy, the Virtual Boy was not intended to replace the handheld in Nintendo's product line, as use of the Virtual Boy requires a steady surface and completely blocks the player's peripheral vision.
The Virtual Boy was panned by critics and a commercial failure.
Its failure has been cited as due to its high price, monochrome display, unimpressive 3D effect, lack of true portability, health concerns, and low quality games.
Its negative reception was unaffected by continued price drops.
3D technology in video game consoles re-emerged in later years to more success, including in Nintendo's own 3DS handheld console.
[W]e experimented with a color LCD screen, but the users did not see depth, they just saw double.
Color graphics give people the impression that a game is high tech.
One speaker per ear provides the player with audio.
Whereas most video games use monocular cues to achieve the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional screen, the Virtual Boy creates an illusion of depth through the effect known as parallax.
Design News described the Virtual Boy as the logical evolution of the View-Master 3D image viewer.
Advertising promoted the system as a paradigm shift from past consoles; some pieces used cavemen to indicate a historical evolution, while others utilized psychedelic imagery.
These mirrors vibrate back and forth at a very high speed, thus the mechanical humming noise from inside the unit.