July 30th 2015
One of my favorite Virtual Boy games is the Japanese game Space Squash. Space Squash is essentially a more exciting version of Mario Tennis.
You are the player (Peatron) nearest to you and you move on a 2D plane. Your opponent is at the opposite end of the court and moves in a 2D plane at the far end. A spiked ball called a physco ball bounces back and forth as you and the opponent you’re battling smacks the ball with your left, right, or double overhead hands. If you miss the ball you lose the round. If the ball runs into you before you hit it then you become stunned for a period. If the ball makes it past your opponent then you win the round. You do that for 3 rounds. There are multiple levels you can go through with multiple opponents which get harder as you go.
Depending on how you play you can get supercharged and can trigger a high powered swat at the ball using the left gray trigger button. This causes the ball to go towards your opponent at a much faster rate than normal. There are power ups available that float around depending what you hit. They generate when you hit obstacles that are placed in the scene. You also have a health bar as well as a power gauge (PG). You move around with the left d-pad and can move right, left, up, and down. The right d-pad moves your arms. Left and right trigger your left and right hands and up triggers a double hand overhead swat. Holding down on the right d-pad charges your power gauge. It seems like you can steer the ball somewhat my moving while hitting the ball but I haven’t quite figured it out.
I love the use of stereo depth in this game. Space Squash is really stretching it to the limits as it looks really deep. If there was anymore stereo depth I think it would start to become uncomfortable to view. The walls of the squash court extend the entire depth of the scene and the ball travels the length of the court. You can change the court wall graphics through the configuration menu at startup but I prefer the default checkerboard the most. The scene seems to have the right mix of busy but not too busy.
Space Squash really shows off the stereo capabilities of the Virtual Boy. It’s a fun game to play and worthy of any Virtual Boy Collection. Right now they’re going for about $80.00 on eBay.