Over the weekend, a Japanese auction site featured an incredibly rare version of Nintendo's Wii Remote: one designed not for a Wii console but for the previous generation GameCube. And at least one game developer has already proven his legitimacy.
The previously unreleased remote, which was sold on Thursday at Yahoo Auctions for 74,000 yen ($ 663), looks incredibly similar to the Wii. The key layout and the shape of the remote control look pretty similar, and it includes a paired "Nunchuk" controller and a sensor bar. But unlike the Wii controller, which finally hit the market in 2006, it's hard-wired – and includes a GameCube controller connector at the end of its seemingly long string.
The attached prototype Nunchuk looks even more like its Wii sibling difference is an Ethernet cable as a connector. This was eventually replaced by a proprietary Wii controller connector (still used today for Nintendo's "classic" miniature consoles).
This prototype is also based on a "sensor bar" that emits infrared light for the remote control. The auction included this bar, which has a few bulges at its edges larger than the retail Wii sensor bar and connected to the GameCube through its memory card slot. The connector is very similar to a GameCube memory card, and the buyer of the auction, the Twitter user smprp, posted some very clear photos of the authentic-looking connector (embedded above).
But if the whole thing still looks like one WayForward game development director James Montagna used his Twitter account on Saturday to confirm the controller's legitimacy : "I remember having this back saw when it was still known as a Nintendo Revolution! " he wrote. The memory of Montagna was particularly shaken by the fact that you noticed something interesting about the D-Pad and the primary buttons of the older Wii Remote: that they were rescinded wholesale from the Game Boy Advance SP.
Montagna went on to publish pictures of early Wii software and show other prototype versions of the Wii Remote. His pictures were closer to the final product, but with a slightly different size and the "plus" and "minus" buttons were still labeled with text as "start" and "select". And in a shot taken from the E3 2006 these buttons had "pause" and "back" symbols. These were later changed to plus and minus.
Nintendo has already demonstrated prototype controllers, then called Nintendo Revolution. These ranged from Wii-like remote controls, GameCube-like controllers, to a huge one-button controller. The unveiling of this weekend seems to be something that was offered to developers during the last phase of development before the Wii console, perhaps when the game makers combined the new controller type with the existing GameCube development kits. The winner of the auction could not yet work with the GameCube Wiimote with the hardware he owns, nor did he unscrew the controller to see if he has identical accelerometer hardware.
List image from Yahoo auctions