Nintendo made waves in the gaming community when it debuted its Wii console, one of its most interesting game systems to date. What made the console so unique was its motion-controlled Wii Remotes. Perhaps in a parallel universe, the Wii Remote would have debuted even earlier, as prototypes actually exist of versions built for the GameCube.
Wii Remotes for the GameCube are only slightly less rare than unicorns, though unlike those horned horses, the controllers actually exist. One of them showed up over the weekend at an auction in Japan on Yahoo Auctions, alongside an accompanying Nunchuck controller. The prototype controllers sold for 74,000 yen (around $663 in US currency).
Source: Yahoo Auctions via kuriaisu1122
The overall shape and design look almost exactly like the ones that ended up launching with the Wii console, except for the connectors. Instead of being wireless, the Wii Remote for the GameCube has a long cord attached with an appropriate connector for plugging into the GameCube's controller port.
Same goes for the Nunchuck, except that it has an Ethernet connector instead of the proprietary connector found on the Wii version.
The auction also included a sensor bar to track the controller's movements. There is a hunk of plastic at the end of a cord attached to the sensor bar, which plugs into the GameCube's memory card slot. It's all very interesting, and very real.
Lending credibility to the prototype controllers featured in the auction, WayForward director James Montagna posted to Twitter reminiscing about when he first saw them in person. "Wow, it's the prototype Wii Remote & Nunchuk! I remember seeing these back when it was still known as the Nintendo Revolution!"
Montagna went on to post more photos of the prototype, including a later revision that included pause/back buttons instead of plus and minus buttons. He also notes that the later revisions were wider than the final version, and not as long.
The Wii Remote was popular for its time. It's interesting to think if it would have enjoyed the same positive reception had it debuted first on the GameCube.