10 Times Nintendo Got Even Weirder Than Labo
Wii Vitality Sensor
The Nintendo Wii had its fair share of gaming accessories back in the day, from tennis rackets to the Mario Kart steering wheels. Some were obviously better than others, to say the least. And then we have accessories like the Wii Vitality Sensor that never actually made it to the market. Announced back in E3 2009, this strange contraption looked better off in a hospital than beside your Wiimote. Supposedly, it would provide effects that could “relax the player” by telling them their heartbeat and about their body through methods only god (and Nintendo) knows.
Satoru Iwata promised that they would show the compatible software for the Vitality Sensor the following year, but the device wasn’t shown or even mentioned. And come 2013, Nintendo decided to pull the plug due to testing issues, stating that “was of narrower application than we had originally thought.” Even Iwata admitted that the concept was a bit of a stretch, though he would still have loved to make it a reality “if technology enhancements” had allowed for it. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the company ever pushed through with the idea. And while it might be a bit of a stretch, you never know, maybe the Vitality Sensor might have a second chance on the Labo. The robot sure did, after all.
Game Boy Camera and Printer
Before smartphone selfies were a thing, we had the Game Boy Camera. The tiny camera packed quite the punch for what it had to offer. It was shaped like a cartridge that you could easily slide onto the Game Boy, making it the world’s smallest digital camera back in the day.
If you actually liked any of the blurry photos you took, you could always keep your own copy if you had the Game Boy Printer. This nifty device used rolls of thermal paper to print out any images you had, but it also worked with a slew of other games. Depending on what you played, the Game Boy Printer could print things such as notes and e-mails from other players, created images, unlockables, passwords, Pokedex stickers, and so much more. While Nintendo didn’t bother making successors for these nifty devices, we can only hope that they’ll make similar peripherals in the near future.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Mario is no stranger to crossovers, having appeared in dozens of other Nintendo games. Heck, he’s even teamed up with Sonic for the Olympics. But sometimes things still wind up getting a little too weird, even for Mario. Case in point: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. The game was leaked before its initial reveal back in E3 2017, featuring the promo art, mechanics, and even some of the characters. Let’s just say that the early reactions to the game weren’t all too positive, with fans calling out both Nintendo and Ubisoft for this bizarre mashup.
That doesn’t mean to say that all weird things are bad, though. As Ubisoft and Nintendo continued to release more official information about the game, netizens slowly began warming to the idea. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle eventually became a pretty big success, sitting a solid 85 score on Metacritic. In fact, it even won the award for Best Strategy Game during last year’s Game Awards. Here’s to more ideas and crossovers like Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and the Nintendo Labo!
Wii Balance Board
Nintendo’s all about getting their consumers to interact with their products and get them off the couch. The Balance Board, for example, was all about having fun while trying to stay healthy. And unlike the Vitality Sensor, Nintendo actually sold this device. To be fair, the Wii Balance Board did do a decent job of keeping track of your BMI and other health-related details.
On top of that, you could even play the device with a slew of mini-games, making it stand out from being a glorified weighing scale. And while the whole fitness accessory seemed like a drastic move, it actually clicked with the casual audience. You’ll probably find one of these old bad boys tucked away in the corner of your aunt’s living room.
Nintendo’s proven to be the king of handheld consoles, starting with the ‘ol Game Boy up to the Nintendo Switch. The company’s always looking for new ways for gamers to bring the fun with them wherever they go. That being said, Nintendo has had their fair share of gaming hiccups. The Wii U was one of their biggest downfalls over the recent years, ending its lifetime with incredibly poor sales figures. And who could ever forget the gaming grill that was known as the Virtual Boy?
This huge machine was made to be strapped around your head, sort of like how VR headsets are used today. The thing was, though, the Virtual Boy was just way too big and clunky. Not only that, but it was also a rushed product and incredibly expensive at the time – a whopping $175.95. People also complained about eye strains when playing, which is never a good sign for any gaming device. The Virtual Boy was discontinued just a year after its release, making it an even bigger flop than the Wii U. Sometimes risks just don’t end well.
Nowadays, recent fans will probably recognize R.O.B. as that zoning Smash Bros. 4 fighter. Interestingly enough, he didn’t start out in a Nintendo game, but rather, was actually a toy accessory for the NES. He was the perfect companion for those who didn’t have any friends living nearby since you could use him as a second player for games such as Stack-Up. Nintendo eventually had to cancel production because the toy ended up being a flop. Still, his image lived on in other Nintendo games, appearing in Mario Kart DS, WarioWare, and Pikmin 2, among others. As weird as the R.O.B. toy was, at least we got a pretty cool mascot out of it. Now, all we have to do is wait for a R.O.B. variety kit for the Labo.
Wii Music Announcement
When the Wii launched back in 2009, Nintendo also released a slew of little games alongside the other launch titles. One of these games was Wii Music, which allowed players to create their own band and play music together. And by “play,” we mean as in Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution kind of play. Not really playing the instrument, but just enough to believe that you actually are. And there’s a really good reason why these games are best played at home. With your friends and family, not to the general public in front of a large audience. It’s just that when you have to sell your product, sometimes you don’t really have a choice. So when Shigeru Miyamoto and a few other Nintendo reps had to “perform” a musical piece during E3, things… got pretty weird. Let’s just say watching four grown adults pretending to groove out, with Miis playing in the background wasn’t exactly the best way to sell Wii Music.
Smash Bros. 64 Commercial
Super Smash Bros. has become one of Nintendo’s best selling IPs throughout the years, and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s basically every Nintendo fan’s dream, watching their favorite mascots and characters duke it out in some of the most iconic locations in video game history. However, you have to remember that the series is quite dated, especially since the first game launched on the Nintendo 64. Back then, we didn’t have the stunning graphics we have today for those thrilling trailers, such as the teaser for Smash Switch.
So what did Nintendo do to advertise? Simple. Have your favorite characters peacefully strolling through a park until Mario decides to up and kick Yoshi (as if the poor dinosaur hasn’t suffered enough). Then the group decides to have a free-for-all, with Donkey Kong swinging Pikachu by the legs and Yoshi beating Mario. It started out with a kick, how did it end up like this?
Bayonetta Playboy Photoshoot
Nintendo’s never been the one to deal with explicit content, especially in gaming. So when news broke out that the company was officially funding Bayonetta 2, it sure came as a shock to the gaming community. However, Nintendo didn’t stop there – they decided to go all the way by partnering with Playboy for a pretty raunchy Bayonetta photoshoot. Yes, the Playboy magazine. And they say Marvel: Infinity War is the most ambitious crossover event in history.
The partnership was in an effort to promote the game before release. They even booked model Pamela Horton to cosplay the Umbra witch who pulled off a handful of provocative poses for the publication. And while Nintendo is still catering to their younger audience (hence, the Labo), they’ve been much more open to having mature games on the Switch. From Skyrim to DOOM, there’s no telling what other titles we’ll see on the handheld console.
Nintendo Love Hotels
Rounding out our list, we have one of the weirdest Nintendo moments in history. The company is generally known for their collection of child-friendly games and merchandise. However, it seems like things were a completely different story before they invested in the world of video game entertainment. Back in the 60s and 70s, love hotels were all the rage in Japan. As the name implies, it’s a place where adults can book a room for about an hour or so and get as intimate as they wish. Needless to say, popularity also came with plenty of money if you knew how to play your cards right.
Aside from operating a taxi company called “Daiya,” Nintendo did also venture into the world of love hotels. You won’t have much luck trying to discover these establishments, however, since most of these Nintendo hotels have long since gone. On top of that, the establishments also flopped pretty badly for the company. From there, they tried to venture into playing cards before finally turning to creating video games. The rest is pretty much history. So the next time you think the Labo is the weirdest thing Nintendo has ever imagined, think again.