Just about every one of you fine readers here at Gamnesia is familiar with Rare, the studio famous for games like Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007. But I bet most of you had no idea that Rare was actually a hardware manufacturer. As it turns out, back before they were a subsidiary of Nintendo, Rare developed its very own handheld gaming device. Unfortunately for them, Nintendo debuted the Game Boy and took the world by storm just before Rare was about to go forward with plans for mass-production.
"The RAZZ board was Chris Stampers’ project. It was entirely home grown, but he and Tim had an arcade hardware background so it wasn’t completely out of the blue. I don’t remember whose idea it was to try and turn it into a handheld device running on a few small batteries, but we did it anyway, undaunted by the short running time or bulky form-factor produced.
"It was a loose collection of chips suspended in thin air, squashed together carefully so that it fit inside the casing without shorting out anything. Tim was responsible for the exterior styling and I did the software demo. It ran on some AA batteries and used a color LCD screen ripped from a little portable TV that Tim had brought back from Japan. Then, just to ensure that we’d never be able to actually release it, we called it the Playboy.”
“It was taken to a trade show to pitch as a possible product, only to find out that at the same show Nintendo was pragmatically—and wildly successfully—launching the Game Boy." — Paul Machacek, Rare Employee since 1980s, Current Test & User Research Manager
This is the same company that would later come to work so closely and fondly with the Big N. Funny how the world works.
Source: Red Bull