[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The $99 Virtual Boy

July 21st, 2014 by Benj Edwards

The Nintendo Virtual Boy for $99 Nintendo Power Advertisement - 1996…in which Nintendo begs, "Please, PLEASE, buy a Virtual Boy."

[ From Nintendo Power - August 1996, p.107]

Oh how times change. Back in January, I posted a scan of an early, cocky Nintendo Virtual Boy advertisement from 1995 (the year the Virtual Boy launched). Here's an ad for the Virtual Boy just one year later in which Nintendo advertises the console's new low price of $99 (its original MSRP was US $179.99, which is $275.26 today when adjusted for inflation).

As you probably know, things didn't go so well for the Virtual Boy. I bought one new for $30 from Toys 'R' Us in either late 1996 or early 1997.

Discussion Topic of the Week: Imagine a world in which the Virtual Boy had a full color display but cost twice as much (say, $399.99) new. Do you think the Virtual Boy would have fared better in the marketplace?


See Also: Virtual Boy Wasteland (RSOTW, 2014)
See Also: Virtual Boy Vortex (RSOTW, 2012)
See Also: The History of Stereoscopic 3D Gaming (PC World, 2011)

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Super Mario Kart Photo

May 26th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Benj's Super Mario Kart Photo Screenshot - circa 1992

I took this photo around 1992 or 1993 not long after Super Mario Kart came out. I had rented the game from Blockbuster (See "Secret Cartridge Messages"), and I was amazed to see that the cartridge would save high scores (in this case, track records) between sessions.

That blew my mind a little, because it meant that the scores I saw on the screen came from previous renters of the game — I was playing against previous renters' track times! So when I set a new record on a particular track, it carried a little extra weight.

(It struck me, even then, that this sharing of scores between players formed a sort of primitive pass-along gaming network, and coming from a BBS background, that excited me.)

In retrospect, I am positive that the track record you see in this photo is nothing record-breaking in the broader competitive Mario Kart universe. But just getting first place — as a 12 year-old, first-time Super Mario Kart player — filled me with enough pride to take a photo of the game screen as viewed from my family's 1983 TV set.

Remember that this was the era when people used to take photos (with film cameras) of high score screens and physically mail them to Nintendo Power so they could be listed in the magazine. I'm sure that's where I got the idea to snap the photo.

[ From a personal photo by Benj Edwards, circa 1992]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever take photos of your video game high score screens?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Nintendo World Championships 1990

March 11th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo Power Nintendo World Championships 1990 Advertisement 1990"Children everywhere will be crushed and digitized by the trophy of power."

There's a certain ultra-rare golden NES cartridge out there that originated at Nintendo World Championships 1990. Here's an advertisement for the event itself on the back of a vintage Nintendo Power magazine from 1990.

Kinda makes you want to go back in time and attend, doesn't it? Call 1-900-HOT-4NWC to find out more!

[ From Nintendo Power, May-June 1990, rear cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Video game competitions: interesting or boring? Debate.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Nintendo Triple Play

July 8th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo Triple Play Game Boy NES SNES Nintendo Power Ad - 1992Oh my god, it's full of stars

[ From Nintendo Power, February 1992, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Which system has the best game library: NES or SNES?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] A High-Powered Christmas

December 17th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

High-Powered Greetings Nintendo Power Christmas Ad - 1992Nintendo presents deliver themselves. No Santa required.

[ From Nintendo Power, November 1992, rear cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever received a Nintendo console for Christmas? Tell us about it.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Nintendo Power Pad

November 13th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo NES Power Pad Nintendo Power Ad - 1989Nothing says fun like a nice hot bowl of chunky butter cubes.

With the Wii U launching next weekend, it's worth taking a look back the Power Pad, one of Nintendo's first experiments in motion-based game control.

In this case, the controller (which decidedly lacked a second screen) took the form of a large vinyl mat with enormous soft buttons that one would lay upon the floor and beat with one's fists stomp with one's feet to simulate running in an on-screen video game.

It didn't work too well, but I personally had a blast playing World Class Track Meet tournaments with the Power Pad at the neighbor's house up the street. I recall playing in improvised teams of two, where one player from each team would stand and run on two of the forward facing buttons, and another player on each team would sit behind them on the floor and pound the rear buttons simultaneously in an attempt to make their character run faster.

This was apparently possible (I'm working from memory here — I haven't used a Power Pad in a long time) because each column of buttons is linked together electronically in the Power Pad, so that a push on any one button in any one column is like a push on any other button in that column. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I can't test it because the Power Pad I happen to have doesn't work.

By the way, I apologize for the uncharacteristically poor quality of the source material here. This came from a particular issue of Nintendo Power that I must have read hundreds of times, literally, so the creases are a natural byproduct of my youthful Nintendo-fueled enthusiasm.

[ From Nintendo Power, January-February 1989, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Tell us your Power Pad memories. Have you ever used one?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Mario Paint Player's Guide

September 3rd, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Mario Paint Player's Guide Ad Nintendo Power - 1993Quite frankly, Mario is stunned — just stunned — by that potted plant.

[ From Nintendo Power, July 1993, inside back cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Tell us about your most novel experience with Mario Paint. Did you make any music or animations?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] King Kong's Super Game Boy

August 6th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo Super Game Boy King Kong Gorilla Hand Ad - 1994Gaming fun in the palm of your gigantic hand.

For me personally, the Super Game Boy (1994) was one of the most exciting video game peripherals ever released. It liberated Game Boy games from that unit's blurry, dark screen, opening up a whole new world of gaming to those who preferred gaming on a TV set.

The fact that it also included a remake / extension of Donkey Kong, one of my favorite games of olde, made it a must-buy. I still remember the day I got it — my family drove to a local shopping mall, and I decided to stay in the car playing Donkey Kong on the Game Boy (even though not in color) instead of going inside. I haven't been that excited about a new game in a long time.

(By the way, I first talked about the Super Game Boy in an early Retro Scan way back in March 2006.)

[ From Nintendo Power, August 1994, back cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When did you first get a Super Game Boy? Did you have any Super Game Boy enhanced games for it?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Virtual Boy Vortex

July 16th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo Virtual Boy Promotional Ad from Nintendo Power - 1995Virtual Boy: Eating Mario's face since 1995.

[ From Nintendo Power, November 1995, back cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever felt sick while playing a video game in 3D?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Crystalis Tips

July 2nd, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Crystalis Power Playing Tips from JELLO Gelatin Pops Box NES -  1990Frozen whipped gelatin on a stick.

I recently found this cardboard tip sheet for Crystalis in a pile of my old stuff at my parents' house. As you can see, I cut it out of a JELLO Gelatin Pops box in or around 1990.

The tip sheet seems to serve a triple marketing purpose: 1) to promote NES games (specifically Crystalis, in this case), 2) to promote the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, and 3) to promote Nintendo Power magazine.

I love finding tie-in marketing artifacts like this — I'm glad I saved it all those years ago.

[ From JELLO Gelatin Pops box, circa 1990 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you remember cutting video game tips out of boxes, magazines, or other paper publications? Tell us about it.

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