I don't think it's fair to compare the Virtual Boy and the Wii U.
The Virtual Boy was a prototype- Gunpei Yokoi intended for the final version to be much lighter and use color LEDs instead of the pure red ones. But Nintendo got impatient and shoved the thing out the door before it was ready- then blamed Yokoi when the thing failed miserably.
I honestly believe that if the Nintendo had displayed the slightest amount of patience and allowed Gunpei to perfect the device he had been working on, history would be much much different, and he might even perhaps not be dead right now.
The Wii U, on the other hand, I will assert is a failure on a conceptual level, not just on a practical level. Everything about it was a misstep, from virtually every angle. Gameplay-wise the tablet alienates the older market who were initially drawn to the Wii Remote's simplicity. From a gamer standpoint, the system has far too few games and is far too weak to compete on a fair level with the PS4 and the X1 (and that goes from a developer standpoint as well). From the general consumer standpoint, as a system that wants to be a media centerpiece it fails because Nintendo has purposefully removed BC and the ability to play bluray movies.
Add to that a price point that is wholly inappropriate for a system of that caliber in 2014 and you have as a result a system that has no chance of achieving a high level of success in the marketplace, no matter what Nintendo does with it.