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Japanese auction reveals Nintendo's first Wii remote … for the GameCube

Well, we've never seen this version of the Wii remote before! Keep: a GameCube port on a wired Wii-like controller.…

Over the weekend, a Japanese auction site revealed an incredibly rare version of Nintendo’s Wii remote: one that was designed not for a Wii console, but for the previous generation’s GameCube. And at least one game developer has already attested to its legitimacy.

The previously unrevealed remote controller, which sold at Yahoo Auctions for 74,000 yen (approximately $ 663 USD) on Thursday, looks incredibly similar to what eventually launched for the Wii. The button layout and shape of the remote looks pretty similar, and it includes a paired “nunchuk” controller and sensor bar. Maar in tegenstelling tot de draadloze Wii controller die uiteindelijk werd gelanceerd in 2006, is dit een hardcore-controller en bevat een GameCube controller connector aan het einde van zijn schijnbaar lange koord.

De bijgevoegde prototype nunchuk ziet er even meer uit als Wii sibling, met zijn grootste difference being an Ethernet cable as its connector.

This prototype also relies on a “sensor bar” that emits infrared lights for the remote to track. The auction listing included this bar, which has a pair of bulges at its edges, measures larger than the retail Wii sensor bar, and plugged into the GameCube via its memory card slot. Its connector looks like a GameCube memory card, and the auction’s buyer, Twitter user “smprp,” posted some very clear photos of that authentic-looking connector (embedded above).

But if the whole thing still looks like a fake to you, WayForward game development director James Montagna used his Twitter account on Saturday to confirm the controller’s legitimacy : “I remember seeing these back when it was still known as the Nintendo Revolution!” he wrote. Montagna’s memory was annotated by noticing something interesting about the older Wii remote’s d-pad and primary buttons: that they were lifted wholesale from the Game Boy Advance SP.

Montagna went on to post images he’d held on during his work on early Wii software, showing off other prototype versions of the Wii remote. His images were closer to the final product, only with a slightly different size and the “plus” and “minus” buttons are still labeled with “start” and “select” respectively. And in one shot, taken from E3 2006, those buttons had “pause” and “back” icons. These were later changed to pluses and minuses.

Nintendo has previously shown off prototype controllers made when the system was still called the Nintendo Revolution, and these ranged from Wii-like remotes to GameCube-like controllers to even a giant, single-button controller. This weekend’s revelation appears to be something offered to developers during the final stretch of pre-Wii development, maybe when game makers were combining the new controller type with existing GameCube development kits. The Auction’s winner has not yet been able to get the GameCube Wiimote working on any of the hardware he owns, nor has he unscrewed the controller to determine whether it has identical accelerometer hardware inside.

Listing image by Yahoo Auctions

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Faela