Video Works by Jeremy Parish

The first third-party Virtual Boy title (sort of) and the final launch-day release (in the U.S.) attempts to give players a (technically) portable free-roaming 3D space-shooting experience. Developer T&E Soft had big aspirations with this one, but in practice it didn't quite pan out the way they evidently hoped. The result is an interesting game with a lot of promise and a control interface years ahead of its time... but the Virtual Boy hardware simply wasn't up to the task set before it.

The third launch selection for Virtual Boy may remind you of another beloved Nintendo franchise, but that's just a coincidence. A coincidence, I say! This game is NOT Punch-Out!!, even though it does happen to be a comical boxing title with enormous, personality-packed sprites. For one thing, its control scheme and interface are VASTLY more complex than that other series.... (Thanks again to Chris Kohler for the software loan.)

Nintendo's biggest and most consequential release for 1987, and one of the most important games of the year across all platforms, brings a newfound depth and maturity to the NES. Other ’87 releases have been flirting with the idea of merging action and role-playing concepts, but Zelda goes all-in with a sprawling, challenging journey across the land of Hyrule to rescue the princess Zelda and retrieve the Triforce of Power. And in the process, an instant classic is born.

(Note: The Hyrule overworld map image appearing in this video original appeared on

While I'd love to wrap Super NES 1991 on a high note, the games actually seem to be getting worse as we approach the end of the year. D-Force is easily the lousiest Super NES game of 1991, and it's a strong contender for worst-of-all-time, too. A dull, clumsy shooter that would have been embarrassing on an 8-bit console, D-Force only throws its awfulness into sharp relief by including a Super NES-specific gimmick that somehow makes the game even less fun to play. Truly, we've punch through the barrel's bottom here.

Our second Virtual Boy Works entry takes us from the tennis courts to the far reaches of the cosmos for the sole contribution to the platform by Nintendo mainstay Intelligent Systems: Galactic Pinball. With four tables and tons of gimmicks, it's a fun and interesting take on a vintage amusement that works beautifully on Virtual Boy.

Special thanks to Chris Kohler for providing the packaged material for the photography here!