20 Years Ago, Nintendo Had Plans To Bring Email, Internet Searching, And Live Streams To The Game Boy Color
The Game Boy Color was released in 1998, a few years before the earliest and crudest smartphones had hit the market. Back then, the internet was still fairly new and the idea of carrying around a single device that could email people, search the web, send photos and stream live videos was years and years away. But if a canceled Game Boy Color accessory, the PageBoy, had seen the light of day, you might have been doing all that alongside Mario via a single add-on.
The Page Boy was uncovered by video game historian, researcher, and journalist Liam Robertson. In a video out today, Roberston revealed a whole bunch of details and images of the proposed device for the first time.
This odd device was planned to use radio transmission technology to let Game Boy Color owners search for information and read international news, game magazines, weather reports, sports scores, and even, most ambitiously, watch live television. This tech would also allow users to contact and message other PageBoy owners. This radio transmission technology at the time was heavily used by pagers, which is actually where the PageBoy name came from.
Roberston spoke to some folks who worked on the PageBoy project with Nintendo about the device and how it came to be and what ultimately killed it before it saw the light of day. According to those involved, after a meeting with Nintendo of America in 1999, the company was excited about the potential for the PageBoy, and for the next three years, Nintendo worked with Wizard—a group created to help manage the device—to see if this add-on could actually be created and if it would end up being profitable.