When Nintendo finally launched the gleaming white Wii onto the world, its sleek Apple-esque design took the world by storm, its shiny modern controller helping the motion-controlled console to become one of the highest selling products it’s ever released, only trailing its incredible popular handheld offerings in terms of ridiculous sales figures.

As a child of the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 era, though, it’s hard not to look at this early prototype of what would become the ‘Wiimote’ and wish that we’d seen its old-school grey tones and plain, boxy design instead.

As reported by Polygon, the scrapped versions of a Wii Remote, ‘nunchuk’ accessory and sensor bar went to auction in Japan over the weekend, and while it’s not the first glimpse of this rare item we’ve seen, it’s a reminder of just how big a departure the Wii’s design was from Nintendo’s early design language.

The buyer posted images of their new toy on Twitter, and it’s a beauty.

From the grey brick of the original GameBoy, to the ‘dog bone’ controller of the SNES, and on to the N64’s chunky game cartridges, Nintendo was once all about this sort of design. In fact, as users noted in the comments, these buttons were actually lifted from its earlier handheld the GameBoy SP.

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An earlier forum post on Assembler Games also shows the difference in size between the prototype and final design, with the prototype actually ending up a little sleeker than the end result – albeit without the benefits of being wireless, which went a long way to making the Wiimote as popular as it eventually became.

nintendo wii remote controller prototype

While these are just a ‘what if’, considering the popularity of various throwback-themed console mods and skins that riff on the old console designs, we have to imagine this version might have been a hit with long-serving Nintendo fans if they’d have ever seen the light of day.

The prototype sold for $660 USD, or around $930 AUD, so it was definitely an investment. But damn, it’d look good on a shelf next to the old Amiibo collection.

For an extra dose of nostalgia, check out the reveal for the Nintendo Wii below.

Nintendo Wii revealed at E3 2005

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