Homebrew Virtual Boy Games
Although the Virtual Boy may have lasted 8 months, dying in March of 1996, dedicated fans of the red beast have been making a variety of homebrew games and presenting their games to other Virtual Boy fans on Planet Virtual Boy, the site where you can either purchase or download the recently released and fully completed Virtual Boy version of Faceball. I’m not going to be looking at all of the homebrew games, since there are tons of them (24 of them are already finished or nearly finished), but rather I’ll look at select eight games.
This game was completed recently by ‘thunderstruck’ and ‘Virtual Ben,’ two members from Planet VB, and it uses a special game engine that thunderstruck created personally called the “Thunder Engine”.
In this game you play as a fish named Bubbles, who has a serious appetite for fish smaller than himself. You’ll swim through four levels dodging larger fish and other obstacles as you try to get the highscore which this game saves, unlike Red Alarm. Each stage is uniquely designed thanks to the games level editor and by enemies having new attack patterns. Speaking of enemies, a neat little addition thunderstruck and Virtual Ben did them was give each enemy type a name of a Planet Virtual Boy member.
2. Blox and Blox 2
These puzzle games were created by KR155E and are based off of the 1982 arcade game Sokobon, and the 1990 Game Boy game Boxxle. You move boxes around a board until they cover a tile that has a target on it. Once all the boxes are on a target you move on to the next level. Although it’s a simple concept, like many good games, it gets harder as you progress. The length of the game depends on what difficulty you have the game set on.
Starting off with the first game, Blox offers three difficulty modes, a password feature, and the ability to view the game controls and rules in the options menu. You can also adjust the depth and background in the options menu. Easy mode has 10 levels, normal has 20, and hard has 30 levels. Each difficulty has their own levels, so level 1 on easy mode is not the same as level 1 on normal mode. This means that Blox has a total of 60 levels to complete. KR155E put a lot of effort into this game even though it lacks music with a nicely done intro, ending, credits that scroll, and many animations for the hero Bob.
Blox 2 takes Blox and improves upon it by adding music and tons of levels that vary in size and difficulty. Also Blox 2 has a scrolling background.
3. Captain Sevilla 2
Although the game is still early in development, it will be a sidescroller like Virtual Boy Wario Land. The game offers nice graphics for the Virtual Boy and a demo is even available, but since the game is still in it’s early stages it’s not very playable, but it can still showoff the graphics.
4. Game Hero
Another game created by thunderstruck, Game Hero takes the Guitar Hero formula and tosses in music from various NES video games like Kid Icarus, Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, and Cheetahmen II. Depending on the situation, you press either a button or button combinations when they reach the line at the bottom of the screen. Although that sounds nice, their are two problems with the game, firstly, that the button inputs don’t match the music and that the music quality isn’t as good as they sounded on the NES. It seems that music capabilities have not yet been perfected by the homebrew community.
5. Mario Kart: Virtual Cup
Still in development, MK:VC uses graphics from Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Time trials are the only game mode available at the moment, but you can select between usual eight characters seen in Mario Kart 64 and Super Circuit: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Toad, Wario, DK, and Bowser. The game uses music from the Mario Kart games as well but like Game Hero, it’s not very pleasant to the ears.
A Virtual Boy version of the classic Simon game created by DogP. It plays like the real simon game with the D-pads used to repeat the game’s orders. Screw up once and it’s game over! Simon has three difficulty modes that differ by the length of the sequences. The game has no sound and has simple graphics, but DogP used some parallax scrolling in certain places.
7. Soviet Union 2010 and Soviet Union 2011
Both games are 2D shooters like Vertical Force and Ikaruga where you play as Communists as you fight against Capitalist Americans by shooting at other spaceships, planes, and Satellites. Solviet Union 2010 has two game modes: story and endless. Three difficulty modes are present, although selecting a difficulty mode is very different from most games. By pressing left on the D-pad you play easy mode, up is normal, and right is hard. Soviet Union 2011 increases the gameplay speed, improves graphics, and offers multiple weapons. Both game’s standard guns have limited ammo, a unique feature for a 2D shooter. SU 2011 is still in development but SU 2010 is finished.
This game’s gameplay is based off the Light Cycle scene of the Disney movie Tron. Tron is a special game in the Virtual Boy homebrew library since it uses a special graphical effect called “Affine Graphics” which is basically the Virtual Boy’s version of the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom’s Mode 7 and Super FX scaling and rotating. The game was started in 2000 and with no more information for years, it was thought to be cancelled until 2008 when the games creator, Alberto Covarrubia, released the finished game.
Although graphically and technologically impressive, Tron’s gameplay is very simplistic and can get boring quickly. Tron is also best played on an actual Virtual Boy through the Flash Boy cartridge since Virtual Boy emulators make the game’s graphics buggy.
That concludes this weeks entry in the Virtual View series. I’d like to thank Planet Virtual Boy and it’s community for providing information about these games. Next week is the final installment where I’ll be looking at the Virtual Boy games that never got to see the light of day. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.