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28 years later, a lost game boy add-on is called WorkBoy



28 years later, people discovered a lost, unreleased Game Boy accessory, WorkBoy, which revealed an accessory that might bring PDA-like features to Nintendo’s most popular handheld device, such as an address book , Calculator, appointment book, etc. . Video game historian Liam Robertson shared his quest to find out what happened to this add-on in a new game history secret video about DidYouKnowGaming? Moreover, he not only tracked down the original creator behind WorkBoy to understand why the story was never released, but also made one of the only prototypes in the world work.

As shown in the figure below, WorkBoy is a keyboard connected to the Game Boy via Link Cable. It will enable you to take advantage of 1

2 applications, including address/phone book and appointment book.Image courtesy: Liam Robertson-DidYouKnowGaming? -Game history secrets

Image courtesy: Liam Robertson-DidYouKnowGaming? -Game history secrets

WorkBoy is set as the official licensed accessory of Game Boy, which was designed by Source Research and Development and produced by Fabtek Inc. in close cooperation with Nintendo.

In January 1992, WorkBoy was officially registered as a trademark by Nintendo of the United States, and even appeared at the 1992 International Consumer Electronics Show. It was introduced in various sales outlets, but after a short period of popularity, it almost disappeared.

Robertson was able to track down Eddie Gill, the architect of WorkBoy and the founder of Source Research and Development, and discussed that WorkBoy was originally planned to be released at the end of 1992 or early 1993 at a price of $79-$89. The problem prevented it from spreading to the public.

Gil said that there are only two WorkBoy prototypes left in the world he knows. He said that one may be “deep into the dome of Nintendo” and the other is owned by Fabtek founder Frank Ballouz.

The history of (almost) all Nintendo accessories

Robertson got in touch with Ballouz, and he does have a WorkBoy prototype. But Ballouz didn’t let Game Boy test it, so he sent it to Robertson, hoping he could make it work.

When Robertson first connected the WorkBoy keyboard to the GameBoy, nothing happened, just a short beep. It turns out that even though it couldn’t find anything, WorkBoy still needs a cassette to run properly.

Like fate, Robertson was able to find the software’s ROM in one of the most recent major leaks that Nintendo Gigaleak encountered earlier this year. After burning the ROM to a blank cassette, Robertson made it work.

See the actual operation of WorkBoy, you can see at a glance. Interestingly, putting it into practice in 2020, many features of WorkBoy are commonplace. Back in 1992, this was the trend at the time.Therefore, it needs to bear a fairly high price. The high price is one of the main reasons for the cancellation of the project, because the Game Boy priced at US$89.99 will be reduced in price, which means that WorkBoy is most likely to exceed the price of the system itself and is US$79 to US$89.

In addition, a big explosion in a factory that produces computer chips in Japan caused the price of D-RAM to soar. If it were released, it would be almost impossible to reduce the price of WorkBoy.

Even if WorkBoy has never seen the light, Gill’s original design helped inspire a new device he patented for a personal communicator. The device was equipped with a keyboard and touch screen. It was later used by Nokia for its Nokia 9000 series in 1996. Authorization. .

Then, Jill went back to work with Nintendo to try to develop an improved WorkBoy for the Game Boy Advance, which can do email, web browsing and word processing. However, like the original version, it never reached the end.

Nintendo hardware development history-1977 to present

For more information about Nintendo’s history, be sure to check out our look “The Lies That Helped Nintendo” and (almost) any Nintendo accessories.

Is there a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

Adam Bankhurst (Adam Bankhurst) is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and Twitch.




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