Working WorkBoy for Nintendo Game Boy Discovered
The WorkBoy is a curiosity of accessories. This device was intended to fill a gap between gaming devices and computers. Like how, in Japan at least, Nintendo had a keyboard, modem, etc available for their NES console. Unfortunately, this add-on was not going to feature online connectivity of any kind. That would limit what you could do with the WorkBoy quite a bit. At least one working unit has survived all these years.
The WorkBoy was in development around 1992, at least that is when the public learned of its existence. Some saw an article in Nintendo Power about it. Others saw it on UK television where it was on display, at least once.
What we have here is an accessory that would turn the Nintendo Game Boy into a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) of sorts. Sure, today that is not exactly a great idea but back in 1992, it was revolutionary.
According to Nintendo Enthusiast, the company behind the WorkBoy – Source – was involved in gaming as well. They developed Pyramids of Ra and Noah’s Ark.
The only known prototype is owned by FabTek founder, Frank Ballouz. FabTek was the company that was going to market the WorkBoy. This came to an end when news came that Nintendo was lowering the price of the base Game Boy. According to TechRaptor, FabTek dropped the peripheral when realizing it would cost more than the required portable.
The WorkBoy is not even listed on the Game Boy Accessories Wikipedia page.
What you could have expected
Check out the above video for more detailed information on the functionality of the WorkBoy. For those that prefer print, and the TL:DR synopsis, here you go.
The WorkBoy would allow users to do basic PDA functions. You can use a calculator, take notes, convert weights and measurements, and even create a savings plan. There were over 10 apps built into the special software that powered the WorkBoy. These apps were accessible immediately by pressing a button on the keyboard accessory.
There was even a planned WorkBoy 2 which would have used the Game Boy Advance given the mockup treatment. Sadly, that was never taken beyond artistic designs.
What else is out there?
This makes me wonder, what else is out there that only one person has in their possession? Prototypes are interesting anomalies in history and the WorkBoy is at the top of the heap for me. What about you? What prototype is the most interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below.
This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine.