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Whereas most video games use monocular cues to achieve the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional screen, the Virtual Boy creates an illusion of depth through the effect known as parallax.
In a manner similar to using a head-mounted display, the user looks into an eyepiece made of neoprene on the front of the machine, and then an eyeglass-style projector allows viewing of the monochromatic (in this case, red) image.
Sales failed to meet targets, and by early 1996, Nintendo ceased distribution and game development, only ever releasing 22 games for the system.
Development of the Virtual Boy lasted four years, and began originally under the project name of VR32.
It was to be more than just another gaming console; Nintendo portrayed the system as a type of virtual reality, as its name indicates.
Nintendo also focused on the technological aspects of the new console in its press releases, neglecting to detail specific games.
With seemingly more advanced graphics than Game Boy, the Virtual Boy was not intended to replace the handheld in Nintendo's product line, as use of the Virtual Boy requires a steady surface and completely blocks the player's peripheral vision.
According to David Sheff's book Game Over, the increasingly reticent Yokoi never actually intended for the increasingly downscaled console to be released in its final form.
Advertising promoted the system as a paradigm shift from past consoles; some pieces used cavemen to indicate a historical evolution, while others utilized psychedelic imagery.
Nintendo targeted an older audience with advertisements for the Virtual Boy, shifting away from the traditional child-focused approach it had employed in the past.
Each Virtual Boy game cartridge has a yes/no option to automatically pause every 15–30 minutes so that the player may take a break before any injuries come to the eyes.
One speaker per ear provides the player with audio.