Through the wanting glass: Galden stated he hoped to promote the system for round $20 or pack it in as a price merchandise alongside a sports activities title. Unfortunately, neither of these eventualities materialized as the Secret Screen by no means made it into manufacturing… or did it?
The Nintendo 64 is arguably the final nice cartridge-based dwelling console. For many, it got here throughout their childhood and for fanatics, has supplied a wealth of historic data over the years. But even a few of the most diehard followers might not be accustomed to the little-known gem that retro gamer and preservationist Shane Battye just lately shared.
The system in query, an adjunct for the N64’s controller that provides a second display, was featured as a prototype in a problem of Electronic Gaming Monthly (September 1997) below the headline, “N64 Secret Screen Exposed.” According to the article, it was conceived by Dane Galden as a method to stop his brother from dishonest at soccer video games by spying on his play choice.
The accent would have plugged into the 8-bit bus on the N64 controller, giving the participant a non-public, second display to make choices that couldn’t be seen by others.
Here’s the place the story will get notably fascinating. If you discover in the EGM screenshot, the story shares the web page with an excerpt about Sega’s upcoming console (the Dreamcast). That system, do you have to recall, featured the Visual Memory Unit (VMU), a reminiscence card with a build-in monochrome LCD that, amongst different issues, added second display performance.
It is Galden’s perception that Sega executives noticed the EGM write-up about the Dreamcast alongside the report about the Secret Screen, took that idea and used it to create the VMU. That’s only one person’s opinion, in fact, however as Battye notes, the patent data does appear to corroborate this principle.
It’s an interesting have a look at a chunk of historical past that by no means made it to market and even perhaps extra importantly, a cautionary story about retaining mental property below wraps. Ideally, Galden ought to have waited till the patents had been in place earlier than going public along with his idea and stored all showings of his creation behind NDAs till then. Going public with the idea was simply asking for it to be ripped off.