A cancelled Sport Boy Colour add-on known as the Web page Boy has been uncovered and, had it been launched, it could have introduced with it messaging, net looking, and even an early type of Nintendo Directs to Nintendo’s beloved handheld.

Online game historian Liam Robertson shared the small print of this misplaced Sport Boy Colour add-on in a brand new Sport Historical past Secrets and techniques video on DidYouKnowGaming? and revealed the story of the way it got here to be and, finally, the way it ended up being shelved in 2002.

Picture Credit score: Liam Robertson – DidYouKnowGaming? – Sport Historical past Secrets and techniques

Following his work on one other misplaced, unreleased Sport Boy add-on often known as the WorkBoy – which might have introduced PDA-like features like an tackle guide, calculator, appointment guide, and extra to Nintendo’s handheld – Supply Analysis and Growth’s Eddie Gill started wanting in direction of a brand new thought.

Gill nonetheless believed in most of the options that may have been current within the WorkBoy, and he started to work in direction of constructing a “religious continuation of the WorkBoy, with new concepts of its personal” for the Sport Boy Colour.

Work started in earnest in 1997 and Gill would usher in his brother, Christopher Gill, to assist with the technical aspect of issues.

Gill’s dream for the Web page Boy was that it could enable for Sport Boy Colour house owners to view the web, get information updates, and talk with one another over lengthy distances by sending messages, pictures, and e-mails.

Picture Credit score: Liam Robertson – DidYouKnowGaming? – Sport Historical past Secrets and techniques

The communication would work utilizing radio waves that may use the identical frequency utilized by most two-way pagers on the time. This technical side would result in the title Web page Boy after which the formation of an organization known as Wizard.

Early on, Gill knew he wanted Nintendo’s full help to make this dream turn out to be a actuality, and he turned his focus to that mission. Whereas Gill had no “formal in-roads” with Nintendo on the time, he was nonetheless involved with ex-Nintendo govt Frank Ballouz as they’d labored on the WorkBoy collectively.

Ballouz got here via and was in a position to get Wizard a gathering with the “higher-ups” at Nintendo of America in 1999, together with NOA president Minoru Arakawa, chairman Howard Lincoln, and engineering head Wayne Alan Shirk.

Gill then offered his pitch for the Web page Boy, which included a technical breakdown of how it could work and idea artwork photographs of each {hardware} and software program. Wizard had additionally commissioned bodily fashions of the machine to indicate off what it could appear to be when linked to the Sport Boy Colour.

Robertson was in a position to come up with this visible presentation and it reveals that the software program was closely themed round Mario and even had “Wizard’s personal tackle the music from the Mario video games and even some voice performing.”

Picture Credit score: Liam Robertson – DidYouKnowGaming? – Sport Historical past Secrets and techniques

One among Mario’s appearances can be within the “Ask Mario” perform that may have labored like a search engine customers might use to search for “varied queries, akin to objects on the market.” Mario would have spoken to the customers all through the expertise, and he would even whistle the enduring theme track of Tremendous Mario Bros. as pages had been loading.

Picture Credit score: Liam Robertson – DidYouKnowGaming? – Sport Historical past Secrets and techniques

One other urged use of the Web page Boy can be letting Sport Boy Colour house owners learn the most recent problems with Nintendo Energy on their machine. Much more ambitiously, it had desires of constructing a “Sport Boy ‘Dwell TV'” perform that may enable the Web page Boy to obtain a “dwell broadcast from Nintendo that may show unique info on upcoming merchandise in actual time.”

Sure, Gill and Wizard had been trying to deliver Nintendo Directs to the world over a decade earlier than they had been formally launched, and they might doubtlessly have a phase the place player-submitted excessive scores had been displayed.

Alongside recreation previews and opinions, the Web page Boy would additionally give customers entry to world information, sports activities scores, and climate. The climate function, specifically, was in related trend to what was discovered on Wii’s Climate Channel.

As for the messaging, customers would have been in a position to sort out a message on their Sport Boy Colour and select “pre-installed animations, music, and themes to deliver them to life.” Moreover, the machine would have linked with present Sport Boy equipment just like the Sport Boy Digicam to let customers ship pictures to at least one one other or enable for the Sport Boy Printer to print out person’s messages.

Picture Credit score: Liam Robertson – DidYouKnowGaming? – Sport Historical past Secrets and techniques

There was even a plan to implement a telephone system that may let customers ship e-mails. This might have been the one paid additional for Web page Boy house owners, and it could have required customers to name a quantity and draft an e-mail with the assistance of an operator.

They might be capable to select a method, dictate a message, after which give the operator the recipient’s Web page Boy tackle to ship it.

Picture Credit score: Liam Robertson – DidYouKnowGaming? – Sport Historical past Secrets and techniques

Nintendo’s response to this presentation was “one among speedy fascination.” Arakawa believed it had the possibility to turn out to be a industrial success and greenlit an inside investigation at Nintendo that may take a look at how they may get it to market.

Nintendo then agreed to work with Wizard to work on this mission – which might be codenamed Cheetah – and, after Gill signed on as a design advisor for Nintendo in 1999, the “Web page Boy was being checked out as an internally made first-party add-on for the Sport Boy line of techniques.”

As improvement continued, Nintendo was exploring the concept of getting the Web page Boy unlock unique objects in video games, not in contrast to what Nintendo’s amiibo do now. It additionally introduced in a number of the options from the WorkBoy just like the Clock show and there would have been a Belt Clip and vibration perform for those who needed to put on it like a cellphone/pager.

Whereas Nintendo liked the concept of the Web page Boy, it actually needed it to have a worldwide enchantment. This might find yourself being its undoing, as that “potential wasn’t as robust as had been initially believed.”

The Historical past of (Nearly) Each Nintendo Accent Ever

As a result of lack of cost-effective duplex wi-fi knowledge networks overlaying Japan and Europe, the Web page Boy must be restricted to the North American market. This led to it being “deemed by Nintendo’s administration, again at its Japanese headquarters, that this might have gone in opposition to the core enchantment of the machine.”

“Nintendo needed it to be universally obtainable and useful around the globe. This, they believed, was key to its success,” Robertson mentioned.

After Nintendo got here to this conclusion, it made the choice to shelve the Web page Boy for good in 2002.

Whereas the Web page Boy by no means made it to the end line, most of the concepts explored for it had been utilized in future Nintendo merchandise and advertising campaigns.

No precise Web page Boy prototypes had been ever made and, in addition to Nintendo probably retaining a few of these bodily fashions that had been shared through the preliminary pitch, the one document of this machine that was forward of its time are these tales and shows which are fortunately being preserved by these like Liam Robertson.

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Adam Bankhurst is a information author for IGN. You may comply with him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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