Stay on target
For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!
The time right before a new video game console is unveiled is arguably more exciting than the reality of the new console itself, especially when it comes to Nintendo. As the company has become more committed to introducing fresh ideas with its hardware, predicting what those innovations might be has become a hobby for gaming analysts. Before the Wii took the world by storm with motion controls, we were all wondering what Nintendo’s “Revolution” was going to look like. One of these predictions, the Nintendo On, was so compelling that it earns this week’s Game of the Year award.
Released before E3 2005 as a purported “leak” of Nintendo’s next console, the Nintendo On video begins with a rundown of Nintendo’s previous hardware. It even mentions the Virtual Boy, which was a pretty big clue the video was fake since Nintendo pretends that flop never existed. The video transitions a weird sequence featuring millions of castles from Super Mario 64, perhaps to demonstrate the power of the new machine. The console itself is then revealed: the Nintendo On.
Unlike the sleek boxes of most video game consoles, the Nintendo On is this big orb thing players would presumably have to place on their floor. At least it would come in cool, different color schemes. Also, considering what the machine can theoretically accomplish, a chunky chassis makes sense. Along with the “brains,” or the console itself, the Nintendo On also includes “eyes,” a pair of virtual reality glasses.
Yes, in 2005 this video was claiming Nintendo’s next console would be a virtual reality device. The video demonstrates the tech in action as the console senses the player walking forward to control Samus in a new Metroid Prime first-person shooter. GameCube backward compatibility, fast load times, and some kind of vague “game making” features also get mentioned. However, the video abruptly ends in the middle of footage for a new Mario game.
This is all, of course, totally bogus. But the video itself is still an impressive proof of concept. Pablo Belmonte, the Spanish artist responsible for the Nintendo On, has said he wanted to include even more footage for games like WarioWare and Metal Gear running on the dream console. Unfortunately, a hard drive crash destroyed much of his original work, and the video we have now is what Belmonte was quickly able to recreate. However, if you’re interested in more Nintendo game concepts from Belmonte, check out his videos for F-Zero, a Majora’s Mask remake, Super Mario Universe, and Super Mario Galaxy for the DS.
While the Nintendo On may have been fake, the ideas it proposed more or less came true. Virtual reality gaming is absolutely a thing now with Oculus and Vive on PC and PlayStation VR and whatever Xbox Scorpio’s headset will be on consoles. Even mobile phones offer VR. And if patents are true, Nintendo’s actual next console, the Nintendo Switch, could one day offer a VR headset accessory. So for being both an entertaining and prophetic hoax, the Nintendo On is the Game of the Year.
Check back next week to read about the next Game of the Year!