A piece of gaming history was dug up this weekend, and Nintendo fans should get a particular kick out of it. Readers, say hello to one of the earliest Wii Remote prototypes:
これがやりたかった！Revolution用のリモコン、ヌンチャクを入手しました。ゲームキューブコントローラーの端子を使っているのでゲームキューブに取り付けることが出来る！(使えないけど…。)#レトロコンシューマー愛好会 pic.twitter.com/6FTaXrET1EOctober 27, 2018
The controller was listed for auction on Yahoo! Japan, eventually selling for a respectable 74,000 yen (about $660 / £515). But of course, the real fun comes from spotting all the little ways the controller changed as it morphed from this prototype to the final product.
There's the gray color scheme and the fact it connects to a GameCube, of course, but there are plenty of other, more subtle details as well. For example, WayForward designer and director James Montagna pointed out on Twitter that the buttons are actually molded from the GameBoy Advance SP. Montagna also noted that later prototypes had pause and back buttons instead of the + and - buttons the Wii would eventually adopt (the prototype which was sold via auction features Start and Select, so this design went through a few revisions).
Here's a more advanced Wii Remote prototype. Overall, they're wider than the final Wii Remote + not as long. The B button is flat, and not hooked like a trigger. It uses Century Gothic font for the button labels. How many other differences can you spot? There's quite a few! pic.twitter.com/WlhIvCZoUQOctober 28, 2018
These prototypes come from a time when Nintendo's next console was known to go by the codename "Revolution". At the time, many thought it would simply be another graphical leap forward, just like pretty much every console manufacturer had done before. No one suspected just how different the console would be, nor how it would come to dominate the market for years as Nintendo leveraged the Wii's simple design and low cost to grab the attention of a wider audience. But from these prototypes, it would seem that Nintendo knew for awhile it needed to take a different path. Pretty cool!