Big Names, Big Flops - Nintendo's Virtual Boy & Star Wars' Holiday Special


Big companies may have many successes that led to their size and wealth, but even the most titanic of corporations have stumbles—proving that even big names can have flops.

Big companies may have many successes that led to their size and wealth, but even the most titanic of corporations have stumbles—proving that even big names can have flops.

Big companies may have many successes that led to their size and wealth, but even the most titanic of corporations have stumbles—proving that even big names can have flops.

Nintendo, especially in the 1990s, was known as one of the true leaders of video gaming. The Super Nintendo was keeping ground with the Sega Genesis and the Game Boy dominated the handheld market. In 1995, the company released the Virtual Boy console. This was not exactly a portable or a home console, it was a virtual reality unit that was mounted on a surface for players to look into. To cut costs, graphics were red. The system launched for $180 dollars, including a Mario-themed Tennis games. However, the system did not take off. Players complained of neck pains, vision issues and having to rest during frequent gameplay. It also came out during heavy competition such as the Playstation as well as Nintendo's own less-expensive Game Boy. In the end, only 14 games were released in the US and the Virtual Boy was discontinued the next year in the US. Nintendo would later find much more success with 3D imagery with the Nintendo 3DS handheld, which required no special hardware to view 3D, and could display in full color.

Star Wars is a titan of the film industry. The first film was a massive success, and since then, the series has seen massive hits with movies, TV shows, books, video games and more. However, one part of Star Wars that featured the original cast has never been officially released and is considered one of the most notorious television specials of all time—the Star Wars Holiday Special. The special featured Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill alongside 70s comedy staples like Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman. It featured a variety of loosely-connected segments and skits along with stock footage. Some examples of content in the special include the Bea Arthur character running the Cantina on Tattooine, an entire musical segment featuring Jefferson Starship, and Harvey Korman as a four-armed alien that sounds like Julia Child. The special has never been officially released, but has gained a cult following as copies can be found online and in trading circuits.


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