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This “Lost” Game Boy Add-On Could Have Pre-Dated The Smartphone


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 device. 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 manner again in 1999.

Dubbed the ‘Web page Boy’, the gadget would have used radio transmission to attach Recreation Boy Coloration homeowners to a wealth of knowledge, resembling climate studies, sports activities headlines and even dwell tv – in addition to to one another. It was additionally mooted that the gadget might be used along side the Recreation Boy Digicam in order that customers might ship one another photograph messages, years earlier than the idea of a ‘selfie’ grew to become 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 gadget, 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 optimistic response; Nintendo might see the plain potential in an add-on that not solely inspired customers to spend extra time with their Recreation Boy Coloration consoles however might additionally probably be an avenue by way of which the corporate might promote its merchandise extra straight; the ‘dwell TV’ aspect might simply be seen as a precursor to the present Nintendo Direct broadcasts. There was additionally the potential so as to add further content material to video games when used with the Web page Boy, or add excessive scores to a dwell database.

Robertson has spoken to the folks near the venture and has managed to uncover the mocked-up screens which present how the gadget would have labored; the proposal was to make Mario the principle 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 gadget vibrate when messages arrived, and a clip on the again which might permit the person to repair the Recreation Boy Coloration and Web page Boy to their belt buckle. Whereas the expertise was crude in comparison with fashionable requirements, it is simple to see the place Wizard have been going with this product; it isn’t 1,000,000 miles away from the trendy 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 perform in North America and couldn’t be rolled out in different key areas, resembling Japan and Europe. In the end, the venture was shelved earlier than any working bodily prototypes have been produced, or any software program was coded. All that continues to be is a collection of pitch paperwork and screenshots – it isn’t identified what occurred to the non-functioning models that have been made to indicate to Nintendo.

In fact, simply over half a decade later, Nintendo would embrace many of those identical concepts with the Nintendo DS and Wii – which makes you marvel if the Web page Boy was an affect.

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