Nintendo Virtual Boy development - Real Danger
Last updated on February 21, 2012, 8:30 by Sebastian Mihai
Even Nintendo's brilliant history has a few blotches they'd rather not mention. One of these is the Virtual Boy. It stood out from all other consoles of its time (and still does!) because it used a stereoscopic display to generate a virtual three dimensional video output. The concept sounded awesome; kids were enticed by the advertisements. Here are some of the outstanding issues with the system:

- Red, red, and more red - two arrays of red LEDs are used to generate images. Red LEDs had the lowest power consumption, were the cheapest colour, and gave a good sensation of 3D. All graphics were red.
- Eye strain and headaches - players have complained that they experienced these symptoms after playing the Virtual Boy. This is no exaggeration; I experienced splitting headache after playing mine.
- Neck and back strain - the height of the unit forced the player to slouch in order to look through the visor, when the unit was standing on a table.
- Heavy controller - the console has no power cord. It receives power from a thick battery pack inserted directly in the controller.

That's a lot of problems! However, in all fairness, the sensation of 3D is indeed accomplished. The system gives the player a sensation of depth.

Real Danger is a simple game in which you are controlling a rabbit, guiding him away from the diving eagles who are out to get him. The eagles get progressively faster. If the rabbit is caught, you can press A to try again. It is based on the gccvb dev kit.


- rom - the compiled rom. Play it in any Virtual Boy emulator. Note that I've noticed vast differences in emulation speeds between emulators. For this reason, I highly recommend using the Reality Boy emulator.
- gccvb devkit - Includes the source for Real Danger. Also includes an emulator. Real Danger source code can be found in the source directory. Project makefiles assume that this dev kit is installed to C:\
- source code - good starting point for your Virtual Boy homebrew development. Requires the gccvb dev kit.
- emulator - the Reality Boy emulator


Development notes

Use Virtual Environment (in \vide) to create tiles for your game. I only needed a charset for Real Danger, as can be seen in the screneshot. You can use Virtual Environment to open Real Danger's tiles, by opening tiles.vep, which can be found inside the Real Danger directory. To export the charset, use Advanced -> Plugins -> Export to .h
If you use the materials on this page, or any other page on this web site, you do so at your own risk. They are provided "as is". No warranty is provided or implied. I neither guarantee that the materials will work, nor that they will not be harmful in any way.

Electronic circuits - CMOS buffer

Electronic circuits - driving higher current loads through parallel port

Electronic circuits - interfacing a Nintendo NES from Snowdrop OS

Electronic circuits - 3-bit current buffered DAC

Electronic circuits - stepper motor driver controlled by Snowdrop OS

Electronic circuits - parallel port interface

Snowmine - a Minesweeper-like game for Snowdrop OS (in x86 assembly)

Storks - a matching game for Snowdrop OS (in x86 assembly)

Electronic circuits - interfacing with a 16x2 LCD via parallel port

Electronic circuits - square wave vs. sine wave (audio differences)

Electronic circuits - Catch That LED!

Electronic circuits - parallel port light show

Electronic circuits - the Annoizer (555 speaker circuit)

Intellivision development - Hotel Bunny

Coverage of my projects

Interviewed in the Retro Gamer magazine

My homebrew cartridges

ZX Spectrum development - Husband Chores (in Z80 assembly language)

No Snakes! - a multiplayer game over serial port

Sega Dreamcast development - Overbearing Burgers

Snowdrop OS - my operating system from scratch, in assembly language

libzx - ZX Spectrum game programming library (Z80 assembly language)

Compact Pong - game in C# for the Pocket PC (Windows Mobile 2003)

TOTP (time-based one-time password) authenticator in C# (.Net)

aSMtris - Tetris in assembly language (x86, 16-bit)

Balanced Diet (GBA) limited edition

Gameboy Advance development - Balanced Diet

Atari 7800 development - Poetiru

Arcade ROM hacking - Knights of the Round translation

PocketStation development - Pocket Worm

Sega Game Gear development - Burgers of Hanoi GG

Pokemon Mini development - Mini Cookie

Magnavox Odyssey2 development - Red Green

Sega Dreamcast VMU development - Raining Squares

Nintendo GameCube development - Mama Bear Puzzle

Nintendo Wii development - Groundhog Puzzle

Sega Saturn development - Saturnade

Atari Jaguar development - Jagmatch

Sega CD development - Blackjack CD

Nintendo 64 development - Don't Be Square

Commodore 64 development - Tube64

Sega 32x development - Eight Queens

WonderSwan (Mono) development - Swan Driving BW

WonderSwan Color development - Swan Driving

Animal Keeper - a JavaScript and HTML5 Canvas game

3DO development - Space Invaders Invaders

Sony PlayStation development - The 11th Power

Sony PSP development - Newton Voyage

Nintendo DS development - Geoincursion

Gold of the Kingdoms - an XNA/C# homebrew game

Blue Elf 2 309-in-1 JAMMA PCB - troubleshoot controls not working

Fractals in JavaScript and HTML5 Canvas

Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN) theme song on the Gameboy Advance

Novice calligraphy - Gothic hand, with letter guide

Video compilation of my classic console homebrew games

Seven segment display circuit with the 4511 decoder and the 4029 counter

A simple Atari 2600 joystick tester circuit

555 timer and 4017 decade counter - traffic lights circuit

Catch That LED! - an electronic game circuit

Capacitor study circuit

BlackBerry PlayBook development - Sheepish Bearings (Native SDK, OpenGL)

Neo Geo Pocket Color development - NGCollector

Neo Geo development - Neo Thunder

Atari 5200 development - Shooting Gallery

ZX Spectrum development - simple input/graphics example

Vectrex development - Scalar Ownage

Nintendo Virtual Boy development - Real Danger

Gameboy Color development - Burly Bear vs. The Mean Foxes (GBC version)

Sega Master System development - Burgers of Hanoi

Colecovision development - Mowleco

TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine development - Alddee

Atari Lynx development - Catkanoid

Nintendo NES development - Invaders must die!

Atari 2600 development - Snappy (batari basic)

Super Nintendo development - Bucket

Gameboy Advance development - smgbalib library

Airplane Vegas slot machine

Sega Genesis development - Gen Poker

(2004) Project One - first university game programming club project

Gameboy development - Burly Bear vs. The Mean Foxes

(2006) RGB Overdose - university programming contest entry