Nintendo has released a number of unique peripherals for its systems over the years, but there are some that were cancelled before seeing a full release, such as the WorkBoy. The peripheral was intended to release for the Game Boy back in the ’90s, and it would have turned the handheld into a functioning PDA. While the WorkBoy was cancelled before mass production began, DidYouKnowGaming’s Liam Robertson was able to track down a prototype, which was provided by Frank Ballouz. Ballouz oversaw production for the WorkBoy for Fabtek, and happened to have the prototype for the keyboard. There was just one problem: it required an accompanying cartridge to operate, which Ballouz did not have.
However, as luck would have it, a recent Nintendo leak provided the internet with code for unreleased software and assets. The code for the WorkBoy software was part of the leak, and Robertson was able to put that code on a cartridge, in order to get the WorkBoy up and running! Robertson was then able to test the device and share his findings on YouTube! Robertson’s video on the peripheral can be found embedded below.
The WorkBoy would have been produced in a collaboration between Source Research and Development and Fabtek, and would have been officially licensed by Nintendo. The peripheral would have released when personal computers were far costlier, and long before the prominence of cell phones. The WorkBoy would have retailed for $79-89 dollars, and would have featured a number of functions, such as a world clock, an address book, the ability to make currency conversions, and more. Given how most of these features can be found easily on most modern cell phones, it seems like the WorkBoy was ahead of its time! Unfortunately, the peripheralwas scrapped after Nintendo revealed plans to cut the price of the Game Boy. As such, the WorkBoy would have been more expensive than the system itself, which would have likely turned off potential buyers.
The video game industry has a number of stories just like the WorkBoy. From completely finished games that ended up scrapped without seeing release, to add-ons like the legendary “Nintendo Play Station,” the WorkBoy is in very good company. However, thanks to Robertson’s tireless efforts, Nintendo fans and video game history enthusiasts can now get a glimpse at what might have been!
What do you think of the WorkBoy? Do you think the peripheral would have been successful? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!