I have a decent collection of Nintendo Virtual Boy games that I've acquired here and there from eBay, and while I have titles such as Virtual Boy Wario Land, Jack Bros, and Panic Bomber in my collection, I've never been able to find intestine-based puzzle game Virtual Lab for sale at a price I was willing to pay. Now that I've read Hardcore Gaming 101's look back at this obscure title from developer J-Wing, I think perhaps that I've dodged a bullet. There doesn't seem to be anything worthwhile here in this title that involves manipulating pieces of bowel, and the game's rarity tends to drive up the price regardless of the actual quality of the experience. Here's how much Virtual Lab just doesn't care:
Starting the game you're presented with speeds for Low, Med and Hi, except they're all pretty much the same slow speed and - thanks to a coding error - the medium speed is faster than the high speed option.
Bizarrely, after completing a level, you're given a 7-digit number, which appears totally unrelated to the 6-digit score in the upper right corner. Websites such as PlanetVB say it's a password, but also explain there's no password screen to input it, thereby making them totally useless. This seems like a mistake on the part of various websites, since there's almost no differentiation between levels. Why would the developer have considered a password function? The more likely answer is that it's some kind of strange secondary scoring system... Maybe. Whatever your preferred explanation, neither makes any sense!
By far our favourite blunder though is the misspelling on the box of "Nintenndo", and on the cartridge as "Ninntenndo", showing that not only did they not care, but they couldn't even be consistent. Released at the end of the VB's life, and only in Japan, Nintendo Life claims it was rushed out by developer J-Wing after they discovered Nintendo was abandoning the hardware. It doesn't sound far fetched!
Yes, I think I'll stick to Galactic Pinball and Teleroboxer, thank you very much. It just goes to show that even out of a library of games just under two dozen in size, there will be great titles and there will be rushed, unfinished trash. Despite it's poor quality, Virtual Lab still fetches a high price when it turns up on eBay just for the rarity factor and not for any measure of enjoyment. Not that it's on eBay much anymore. People who own it tend to hang on to it. Aside from the collector mentality being in play, I can't imagine why. While it misses the mark as an enjoyable game released for a Nintendo system, I'd imagine that as a Ninntenndo game, it's done quite well for itself.