Final yr, 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 common-or-garden Recreation Boy into a robust productiveness instrument. Now, a yr later, Robertson is again with one other investigation – this time into a tool that would have given us the web on our Recreation Boy Colours means again in 1999.
Dubbed the ‘Web page Boy’, the gadget would have used radio transmission to attach Recreation Boy Coloration house owners to a wealth of data, corresponding to climate experiences, sports activities headlines and even reside tv – in addition to to one another. It was additionally mooted that the gadget could possibly be used along with the Recreation Boy Digital camera in order that customers may ship one another picture 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 may see the plain potential in an add-on that not solely inspired customers to spend extra time with their Recreation Boy Coloration consoles however may additionally probably be an avenue by way of which the corporate may promote its merchandise extra straight; the ‘reside TV’ component 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 reside database.
Robertson has spoken to the individuals 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 flexibility 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 know-how was crude in comparison with fashionable requirements, it is easy to see the place Wizard had been going with this product; it is not 1,000,000 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 know-how concerned would solely operate in North America and couldn’t be rolled out in different key areas, corresponding to Japan and Europe. Finally, the venture was shelved earlier than any working bodily prototypes had been produced, or any software program was coded. All that is still is a number of pitch paperwork and screenshots – it is not identified what occurred to the non-functioning models that had been made to point out 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 surprise if the Web page Boy was an affect.