When the Wii U was first announced, a lot of people around the Internet questioned why Nintendo seems to focus on the unconventional. The Wii received a lot of flak for its motion controls and lack of alternative input without peripherals to plug into the Wii-remotes as well. The common denominator that people seem to be missing here is that Nintendo has always been about thinking outside the box when it comes to hardware. Sure you grew up with the NES and the SNES controllers that spawned the modern day D-Pad four button layout we all enjoy on controllers today, but Nintendo did some wild and crazy stuff in its years as a burgeoning video game company. Let’s have a look.
5. Virtual Boy
With today’s focus on virtual reality with the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus, it’s hard not to mention the Virtual Boy. Nintendo launched the device in 1995 with marketing that promised the stars, but what you really got was a really tiny screen where everything is red and a neck ache from trying to use the device. The high cost of the device and relatively low interest forced Nintendo to discontinue the device only 6 months after it came out, but collectors love these things. Nintendo truly tried to implement virtual reality before it was cool to do so.
Here’s what the inside of the Virtual Boy looked like:
4. Gameboy Micro
The Gameboy Advance family of devices proved to be very popular for Nintendo, so much so that it spawned several different versions of machines designed to play the games. While the first iteration of machines was terrible without a backlight, the widely lauded Gameboy Advance SP is considered the superior model. But what about the black sheep the Gameboy Micro? Debuted in 2005, the Gameboy Micro was small enough to slip inside your pocket and not be noticed and came in two flavors, black or silver. It had interchangeable faceplates and later on a Super Famicon anniversary edition. The Micro was released late enough in the GBA life cycle that many never had one. I am one of the lucky few!
3. The Power Glove
“I love the Power Glove! It’s so bad!” No line of marketing has ever been so carelessly flung into a movie like 1989’s The Wizard. It helps that Nintendo financed the movie, too. Kids everywhere collectively gasped and coveted the new peripheral designed to give you better control of your gaming. Why hold something in your hands when you can control the game itself with your hand? When the Power Glove debuted in 1989 it only sold 100,000 units and the games developed specifically for it were a commercial flop. Oops.
2. Game Boy Camera & Game Boy Printer
There’s nothing like being able to print out documents on the go, which is why mobile printing is so great in 2014. Nintendo agreed with the idea way back in 1998, which is when the Game Boy Camera debuted. If you thought the stunning green-tinted dot matrix display of the original Gameboy is the perfect display for pictures, then you’d be right along with Nintendo there. The camera was only capable of taking 256×224 black and white images. You couldn’t save them unless you had the Game Boy Printer, which printed these barely worth looking at images. Plus, when you throw in the huge camera and printer attachment, suddenly your Game Boy isn’t so portable.
1. The Nintendo 2DS
This is a newcomer to the list, but it still makes us scratch our heads and go ‘wtf?’ Nintendo wanted to make the Nintendo 3DS more affordable for children, so it took the best features away from the Nintendo 3DS, including the ability to see games in 3D and close the device for easy storage. What results is a slab of video game technology that kinda looks like a dual screen etch-a-sketch. The Nintendo 2DS certainly won’t be the most popular iteration of the Nintendo 3DS, but it is the most crazy.