The WorkBoy is a curiosity of accessories. This device was designed to bridge the gap between gaming devices and computers. Just like Nintendo had a keyboard, modem, etc. available for its NES console, at least in Japan. Unfortunately, this add-on didn’t offer any online connectivity. That would considerably limit your possibilities with the WorkBoy. At least one work unit survived all these years.
The WorkBoy was in development around 1992, at least when the public found out about its existence. Some saw an article in Nintendo Power about it. Others saw it on British television, where it was shown at least once.
What we have here is an accessory that would turn the Nintendo Game Boy into something of a PDA (Personal Data Assistant). Sure, it’s not a great idea today, but in 1992 it was revolutionary.
According to Nintendo Enthusiast, the company behind the WorkBoy – Source – was also involved in the game. They developed pyramids of Ra and Noah’s Ark.
The only known prototype belongs to FabTek founder Frank Ballouz. FabTek was the company that wanted to market the WorkBoy. That ended when news came that Nintendo was cutting the price of the base Game Boy. According to TechRaptor, FabTek dropped the peripheral when it realized it would cost more than the portable device required.
The WorkBoy isn’t even listed on the Game Boy Accessories Wikipedia page.
What you might have expected
For more information on the functionality of the WorkBoy, see the video above. For those who prefer printing and the TL: DR summary, you’re good to go.
The WorkBoy enables users to perform basic PDA functions. You can use a calculator, take notes, convert weights and measures, and even create a savings plan. Over 10 apps were integrated into the special software for the WorkBoy. These apps could be accessed immediately at the push of a button on the keyboard accessory.
There was even a planned WorkBoy 2 that would have used the Game Boy Advance in model handling. Unfortunately, that never went beyond artistic drafts.
What else is there?
I wonder what else is there that only one person has in their possession. Prototypes are interesting anomalies in history and the WorkBoy is high on my list for me. What about you? Which prototype is the most interesting for you? Let me know in the comments below.
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