Final 12 months, esteemed online game historian and occasional Nintendo Life contributor Liam Robertson uncovered the story of the Work Boy, an unreleased accent that had the potential to show the standard Recreation Boy into a strong productiveness software. Now, a 12 months later, Robertson is again with one other investigation – this time into a tool that might have given us the web on our Recreation Boy Colours means again in 1999.
Dubbed the ‘Web page Boy’, the machine would have used radio transmission to attach Recreation Boy Colour homeowners to a wealth of knowledge, equivalent to climate studies, sports activities headlines and even stay tv – in addition to to one another. It was additionally mooted that the machine might be used at the side of the Recreation Boy Digicam in order that customers may ship one another picture messages, years earlier than the idea of a ‘selfie’ turned commonplace. It will be powered by two AA batteries and featured its personal cartridge slot, thereby retaining compatibility with all Recreation Boy video games and equipment.
The corporate behind the machine, Wizard, was spun-off from Supply, the identical UK-based agency which got here up with the Work Boy prototype. Wizard pitched the concept to Nintendo of America – even going so far as to provide bodily mock-ups and UI samples – and received a constructive response; Nintendo may see the apparent potential in an add-on that not solely inspired customers to spend extra time with their Recreation Boy Colour consoles however may additionally doubtlessly be an avenue by means of which the corporate may promote its merchandise extra instantly; the ‘stay TV’ aspect may simply be seen as a precursor to the present Nintendo Direct broadcasts. There was additionally the potential so as to add additional content material to video games when used with the Web page Boy, or add excessive scores to a stay database.
Robertson has spoken to the folks near the challenge and has managed to uncover the mocked-up screens which present how the machine would have labored; the proposal was to make Mario the primary focus of the interface and even have him communicate and sing tunes as content material loaded up.
Different improvements – which appear fairly forward of their time for 1999 – included the power to have the machine vibrate when messages arrived, and a clip on the again which might permit the consumer to repair the Recreation Boy Colour and Web page Boy to their belt buckle. Whereas the expertise was crude in comparison with trendy requirements, it is simple to see the place Wizard had been going with this product; it is not one million miles away from the fashionable smartphone.
Sadly, the Web page Boy by no means noticed the sunshine of day, with Nintendo’s enthusiasm waning when it found that the expertise concerned would solely operate in North America and couldn’t be rolled out in different key areas, equivalent to Japan and Europe. In the end, the challenge was shelved earlier than any working bodily prototypes had been produced, or any software program was coded. All that is still is a collection of pitch paperwork and screenshots – it is not recognized what occurred to the non-functioning models that had been made to indicate to Nintendo.
In fact, simply over half a decade later, Nintendo would embrace many of those similar concepts with the Nintendo DS and Wii – which makes you marvel if the Web page Boy was an affect.