Wiimote prototype for the Nintendo Gamecube surfaces in Japanese auction

A Wiimote prototype that was sold in a Japanese auction is turning heads — because Nintendo made the device not for the Wii but for its predecessor, the GameCube.

The device was sold at Yahoo Auctions for 74,000 yen, which is about $660. The prototype, which came with a nunchuck controller and sensor bar, looks very similar to the wireless controller that was launched alongside the Wii in 2006. But there are several subtle differences to it, apart from the obvious color difference. First and foremost is that it is hardwired with what looks like a connector to the GameCube controller at the end of its cord. The accompanying nunchuck controller, meanwhile, comes with an Ethernet cable as its connector, compared to the proprietary connector that came with it upon launch.

The Wiimote prototype’s sensor bar, which emits infrared lights for the device to track, is larger than the Wii sensor bar, and supposedly plugs into the GameCube through its memory card slot.

The auction winner, who goes by the username “smprp” on Twitter, uploaded more photos of the Wiimote prototype. The buyer noted that the device is not working with the GameCube.

The prototype may have been made to allow developers to test the Wii’s new controls on GameCube hardware. It is also possible that the prototype came with GameCube connectors because early versions of the Wii were using controller ports similar to its predecessor.

The authenticity of the Wiimote prototype was confirmed by WayForward game development director James Montagna, through his Twitter account.

Montagna went on to reveal several interesting tidbits about the Wiimote prototype, including that the molds of the device’s directional pad, A button, and B button came from the Game Boy Advance SP. Montagna also uploaded an image of a more advanced Wiimote prototype that was wider and shorter than the controller’s final version, with a flat B button and a different font for labels.

Lastly, Montagna showed pictures of prototype Wiimotes from E3 2006 that featured Pause and Back buttons instead of the Plus and Minus buttons.

The Wiimote prototype for the Nintendo GameCube will be remembered as one of the most important pieces of the history of the Wii, which took the video game industry by storm when it was launched 12 years ago.

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