THE RANT: This thing came out around 95' or 96' and nobody knew what the hell to do with it. At the time there was this big buzz about "virtual reality," those 3D goggles for your computer made their debut around this time, as well as games like Doom, Decent, etc. Other companies experimented with 3D (most notably Sega with their unreleased Sega VR console.) So The guy who invented the Game Boy designed this thing. I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The machine runs on a 32 bit RISC processor and has pretty good graphics and sounds, but Nintendo made one drastic screw-up: they were too cheap to make a color display. They mistakenly thought that the 3D illusion would be enough to entice people. They thought wrong. I sternly believe that if this console had a color display that it would have caught on and lasted more than six months.
The system itself is pretty strange. It's mounted on a tripod and you have to stick your face into the viewfinder-like screen thingy. The 3D effect is pretty cool, there really is a sense of depth. Sadly only 14 games were made for this machine before Nintendo pulled the plug due to loser sales. These things retailed for about $169. I got mine at a Blockbuster for $30.
THE GOOD: Very cool system with a great "What the hell is that thing?" factor. Most of the games are good, with about SNES level graphics. Has become one of those rare collectables in recent years, with prototype carts popping up on Ebay now and then. Several Japanese-only games fetch prices in the $1000-$1200 range.
THE BAD: The screen has a tendency to cause headaches. The manual recommends taking a break every half hour or so. Still I bet someone out there went blind from playing this thing for too long. Since your face is stuck inside the viewfinder, you can't see the controller. More than once while playing Warioland I died because I didn't hit the right button, because I just guessed which one was the right one. I suppose you get used to it though. Also since this is a tabletop system I can't just stick it under the TV with all the rest, I have to actually have a space reserved to have it on display.
THE UGLY: Red screen? What the hell were those bozos thinking? Of course it failed, who the hell would spend $169 for a game system and have the stupid thing not even be in color? They must've been smoking crack.