The creator of the Game Boy and Virtual Boy reveals why he left Nintendo

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The Recreation Boy was a large success for Nintendo. Each the hand-held and its Recreation Boy Coloration successor boast a mixed 118.69 million gross sales, placing them in third place on the checklist of best-selling recreation consoles. Against this, the Digital Boy was a catastrophe. Each units had been invented by the identical particular person, Gunpei Yokoi, but it surely wasn’t the Digital Boy’s horrible reception that induced him to depart the corporate.

As reported by Kotaku, Yokoi left Nintendo on August 15, 1996—lower than a month earlier than his 55th birthday and simply over a yr after the Digital Boy’s launch. Nintendo anticipated to maneuver three million items in the course of the first vacation season, however simply 770,000 Digital Boys had been offered throughout its quick lifetime (Nintendo discontinued it a yr after launch). The one ‘console’ to carry out worse for Nintendo was the 64DD, a magnetic disk drive peripheral for the Nintendo 64.

Livedoor not too long ago republished an article from the November 1996 concern of Japanese journal Bungeishunju, by which Yokoi defined why he left the gaming large.

“After over thirty years, I left Nintendo,” Yokoi wrote. “After graduating from college, I used to be at Nintendo your entire time engaged on playthings, however on the 55-year-old juncture, I thought of working at a job that may enable me much more freedom with my concepts.”

“The day earlier than I retired [from Nintendo], The Nikkei did an enormous function on me,” he added. The article stated Yokoi took accountability for the Digital Boy catastrophe. “In actuality, I didn’t resign to ‘take accountability for the Digital Boy’s failure.’”

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“To place it one other means. I got here up with a lifetime of concepts and continued making playthings. To proceed tweaking Nintendo’s company philosophy of ‘niche-type playthings’—that’s the one purpose I resigned.”

Yokoi arrange his personal firm referred to as Koto and labored on the WonderSwan handheld for Bandai after leaving Nintendo. Tragically, he was killed a yr later in a site visitors accident, aged simply 56.

You’ll be able to uncover extra concerning the infamous early VR headset in our function Virtual Reality Then: A Look Back At The Nintendo Virtual Boy.

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