MI6 investigates the ill-fated GoldenEye videogame
for Nintendo's rare Virtual Boy console featuring
3D graphics and headset...
The Lost GoldenEye Videogame
11th January 2007
Bond fans and gamers alike will all recognise
the immense success of GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 console
which debuted in 1997, but MI6 goes on
the trail of an unreleased version of the game for the rare Virtual
Above: The Virtual Boy system by
Nintendo, first released in 1995
The Virtual Boy was developed by Nintendo and
was the first portable game console capable of displaying "true
In a manner similar to using a Head Mounted Display, the user
placed their face inside a pair of rubber goggles on the front
of the machine, and then an eyeglass-style projector allowed
viewing of the monochromatic (in this case black and red) image.
It was released on July 21st 1995 in Japan and August 14th 1995
in the USA at a price of around $180. It met with a lukewarm
reception that was unaffected by continued price drops. Nintendo
eventually discontinued it the following year. There were 14
games made with 8 more never released, plus 8 Japanese only games.
Virtual Boy items are now hot collectibles in the retro gaming
Above: A view of the headset that players had to look down
Upon the launch of the Virtual
Boy, a version of "GoldenEye" was
announced for the platform whilst it was under development for
Super Nintendo (SNES) in November 1995. These plans for a SNES
would soon change and development switched to the forthcoming
N64 platform early in the development cycle.
Rare Ware - who crafted the N64 version - officially
denied being the developers of the Virtual Boy version, although
were working on an edition of "Donkey Kong" for the
system. It is assumed that it was being produced by Nintendo
internally, who then owned the Bond videogame licence and were
producing most of the Virtual Boy games. What is clear though,
is that from the few screenshots that ever surfaced from the
project, the game would have been very different to the N64 incarnation.
Instead of a first person shooter, the Virtual Boy version is
an action racing game, in which players would have
taken the wheel of Bond's new BMW
Z3 and (possibly) Aston
Above: The only known screenshot of the GoldenEye incarnation
for Virtual Boy
In one of the few pieces of publicity for the game, Nintendo
advertised: "If you thought rush-hour traffic was a nightmare,
wait 'til you get behind the wheel of 007's car. Avoid obstacles
and blow the other cars away. Buckle up for safety because, in
this game, you never know what's gonna happen."
Nintendo decided to cancel
the Fall 1996 line-up of games because not enough people
owned a Virtual Boy system.
Nintendo's sales target for the handheld was 1,500,000
units, but only 300,000 systems were sold in its lifetime.
Except for one rumoured five year anniversary
exhibition of the console and games in Tokyo, there are
no confirmed sightings of "GoldenEye" for
Virtual Boy outside of Nintendo HQ circa 1995.
concerted efforts, MI6 has been unable to track down
any developers of the ill-fated game.
History would be made on August 25th 1997 when the award-winning "GoldenEye
007" by Rare was released for the new Nintendo 64
console, becoming the best selling James Bond videogame
of all time.
Virtual Boy Tech Specs
Processor: NEC V810 (Part# uPD70732), 32bit RISC 20mHz
Clock speed / 18MIPS 1Kbyte instruction cache Vdd = 2.2
- 5.5V DC 1Mbyte DRAM 512Kbyte P-SRAM
Display: RTI (Reflection Technology Inc) SLA (P4) 384x224 resolution (4 color
with 32 levels of Intensity)50.2Hz h-scan
Sound: 16bit Stereo (with built in stereo speakers)
Power: 6AA Batteries (9V) or AC adapter (10V)Power
Controller: 6 Buttons + double control pads
Cartridges: 256k x 16 -1024k x 16 rom (512k - 2048k), 0 - 8KByte Battery Backed
Ram. Cartridge rom uses Toshiba 'TC538200AFT' and 'TC5316200AFT' rom chips in
16 bit mode.