I have another retro game bargain to report, this one is probably the best yet (though I make that claim a lot).
As per my regular modus operandi, this piece was discovered in the junk section of Omocha Souko, which has seen an absolute avalanche of bargain gems as of late.
While wandering the aisles my eyes alighted upon a box for the Virtual Boy. At first I assumed it was either empty or maybe had some broken Virtual Boy parts in it at best. I say this because all the consoles in the junk section are sold at a flat fee of 300 yen (4$) each and it would be inconceivable for a CIB Virtual Boy to be going for that cheap. That is what I paid for my Sega 1000 II, which was covered in dirt and I had to buy the controllers seperately.
I have been interested in getting a Virtual Boy for a while though so seeing the box piqued my interest. Amiga4Ever over at Guru Meditation wrote a really good post about this console a couple months ago. He refers to it as an `absolute wonder of the retro gaming world`, an assessment with which I completely agree.
I won`t repeat the whole history of the console here, save to recap some of the highlights. It is a console that uses a headset to create the illusion of 3D graphics, which makes it a completely different creature from your standard console. It was released in 1995 and was the first Nintendo console to completely tank, selling only 800,000 units worldwide in its breif lifetime.
Its unique, unusual design and the fact that so few were produced has made it one of the most interesting and hard to find consoles for retro collectors like myself to find.
So I just peaked into the box to quickly make sure it had something worth buying in it. Through the crack I could see the distinctive red plastic of the Virtual Boy`s headset, which was good enough for me. I paid the 300 yen and took it home.
On opening it up at home I was shocked. The thing was in perfect condition and was complete! It had the headset and controller:
The manual and all the inserts, including the flyer for Virtual Boy accessories:
And of course the box itself, which was a bit worn but still looked good:
Wanting something to test it with I actually went back the same day (Omocha Souko is, I should point out, just a few minutes from my home by bicycle which is why I can visit so often) and bought the only two games I could find, Tobidase Bomberman and T & E Virtual Golf (which, ironically, each cost more than the Virtual Boy itself):
I had a bit of trouble hooking it up at first. On reading the manual I was a bit disappointed to discover that the thing runs off of batteries, which always annoys me. But when I tried to open the battery case on the back of the controller I became massively confused as it looked completely different from the picture in the manual.
After a few minutes of fiddling I made a brilliant discovery. The battery attachment on my Virtual Boy had been replaced with an AC adaptor tap!
This thing - which is awesome - allows you to use a Famicom or Super Famicom AC adaptor to power the Virtual Boy, which is a million times better than having to constantly put batteries into it! It was almost like they had tailor made this thing specifically for me!
Plugging it in I was delighted to find that it works perfectly! I gave it an inaugural run through on Tobidase Bomberman:
I have to say that this is an odd choice for a game to have ported to the Virtual Boy as it is basically a Dr. Mario/ Tetris type game that doesn`t make much use of the 3D feature that sets the Virtual Boy apart. Anyway, the cut scenes demonstrated the 3D graphics quite well and I love that game anyway, so I`m not complaining.
The dog took an interest in it too:
Lacking in opposable thumbs he wasn`t able to handle the controller, but he concurred that the 3D graphics were quite neat to look at.
Anyway, I am massively happy with this find. They had one at Mandarake a couple months ago for 8,000 yen, which was actually a pretty good deal for it. To find one for 300 yen has totally blown my fragile mind. Seriously. How did this happen? 300 yen for a complete, working Virtual Boy? That is less than what most items on the menu at Starbucks cost.
-Mega Bargain of the Day: Sega SG-1000 II
-Mega Bargain of the Day: KousenjuuSP Electro Safari
-Mega Bargain of the Day: Family Basic, Family Trainer and Climber Stick