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Leaked Nintendo emails reveal unused Wii Remote Designs

A Nintendo Wii Remote.

Photo: Evan Amos

It has been quite a long time since we have heard anything about the so-called “Gigaleak”, a treasure chest of internal Nintendo data which spread online in 2020, but that changed today with the release of a new series of leaked files. Anyone interested in Nintendo Wii Remote prototypes?

Preservation players for video games like Forest of Illusion and lombTV say that the latest Gigaleak drop revealed a packet of Nintendo emails from around 2006, the year the Wii was launched worldwide. Among these internal messages, there were reportedly several image attachments of early Wiimote designs, although I am told that context is difficult to determine, as the files are not linked to specific emails in the computer board’s folder structure.

First, some lime-green men with different button placements from an email dated July 28, 2005, making them some of the earliest Wiimote prototypes available to the public. These are probably the most unique of the bunch, with several additional buttons not present in the final design.

I especially like the way the L and R buttons are placed around the main surface in the second and third designs. It’s also interesting to see Nintendo experimenting with making the Wiimote more like a TV remote control with the circular buttons in the fourth and fifth designs. This probably would not have been so comfortable, but hey, that’s probably why they did not cut.

Subsequent images have Wiimotes that are more closely adapted to what was launched with the console, with a few important differences. The buttons that would eventually become Plus and Minus were at one time or another tested as both rewind / pause buttons and indescribable arrows.

According to translations from lombTV, is that the arrows may have been difficult for both adults and children to understand immediately since the notation had not been used for any of the company’s previous controllers. Nintendo eventually settled on Plus and Minus since they were “easy for everyone to read.”

As with previous Gigaleak drops – which included everything from a cigarette smoking toad to a Luigi texture in an early construction of Super Mario 64—These Wiimote prototypes are a fantastic piece of gaming history that Nintendo has unfortunately chosen to stay locked away. Good thing we have leaks to fill the gaps.

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