Virtual Boy

The Virtual Boy is a portable but not handheld console developed by Nintendo. It was released in 1995, retailing for $179.95 USD ($314.21 in 2020).

The Virtual Boy was renown for its gimmick: stereoscopic 3D achieved by parallax effect. A beam of light would be bounced against a constantly rotating mirror, and depending on where the light was aimed would project the illusion of an image due to persistence of vision.

Due to a lack of polish, little software support, high asking price (compared to a Game Boy), health concerns, lack of portability (requiring a table to use) and abandonment by Nintendo a year after its launch, the Virtual Boy was a commercial failure. However, the idea of 3D stereoscopic images would leave its impression on Nintendo for many years to come…

This system scrapes metadata for the “virtualboy” group and loads the virtualboy set from the currently selected theme, if available.

  • Emulator: RetroArch
  • Folder: /userdata/roms/virtualboy
  • Accepted ROM formats: .vb, .zip, .7z

No Virtual Boy emulator in Batocera needs a BIOS file to run.

Place your Virtual Boy ROMs in /userdata/roms/virtualboy.

RetroArch (formerly SSNES), is a ubiquitous frontend that can run multiple “cores”, which are essentially the emulators themselves. The most common cores use the libretro API, so that's why cores run in RetroArch in Batocera are referred to as “libretro: (core name)”. RetroArch aims to unify the feature set of all libretro cores and offer a universal, familiar interface independent of platform.

RetroArch configuration

RetroArch offers a Quick Menu accessed by pressing [HOTKEY] + South button (B SNES) which can be used to alter various things like RetroArch and core options, and controller mapping. Most RetroArch related settings can be altered from Batocera's EmulationStation.

Standardized features available to all libretro cores: virtualboy.videomode, virtualboy.ratio, virtualboy.smooth, virtualboy.shaders, virtualboy.pixel_perfect, virtualboy.decoration, virtualboy.game_translation

ES setting name batocera.conf_key Description ⇒ ES option key_value
Settings that apply to all cores of this emulator
GRAPHICS API virtualboy.gfxbackend Choose which graphics API library to use. Vulkan is better, when supported.
⇒ OpenGL opengl, Vulkan vulkan.
AUDIO LATENCY virtualboy.audio_latency In milliseconds. Can reduce crackling/cutting out.
⇒ 256 256, 192 192, 128 128, 64 64, 32 32, 16 16, 8 8.
THREADED VIDEO virtualboy.video_threaded Improves performance at the cost of latency and more video stuttering.
⇒ On true, Off false.

libretro: vb

libretro: vb configuration
ES setting name batocera.conf_key Description ⇒ ES option key_value
Settings that apply to all systems this core supports
COLOR PALETTE (2D) global.2d_color_mode
⇒ original black & red, black/white black & white, black/blue black & blue, black/cyan black & cyan, black/electric cyan black & electric cyan, black/green black & green, black/magenta black & magenta, black/yellow black & yellow.
ANAGLYPH PRESET (3D) global.3d_color_mode Use your physical anaglypth 3D glasses!
⇒ Off disabled, red/blue red & blue, red/cyan red & cyan, red/electric cyan red & electric cyan, green/magenta green & magenta, yellow/blue yellow & blue.

Looks familiar...

The Virtual Boy's controller is unique, even among Nintendo's other consoles around the same time frame. Because of that, its controls aren't faithfully replicatable on modern controllers.

Here are the default Virtual Boy's controls shown on a Batocera Retropad:

For further troubleshooting, refer to the generic support pages.

  • systems/virtualboy.txt
  • Last modified: 16 months ago
  • by atari