Crunchwear Classics – Nintendo almost released a knitting add-on for the NES

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Welcome to another installment of Crunchwear Classics! In this new recurring feature we take a look at the wearable tech of the past. It takes a single wing flutter to begin flying, you know. On today’s edition we are going to focus on everyone’s favorite childhood memory manufacturer, Nintendo. You may know them from such hits as, oh, every video game ever.

Remember the Wii? It was known for two things, bringing grandparents into the living room for some virtual bowling and selling us a veritable onslaught of add-on peripheral devices. Everywhere you look there are plastic wheel controllers, shotguns, boomerangs or just about anything else companies can make a quick plasticky buck on. The Wii may have finally embraced peripherals whole hog, but way back as far as the NES the big N was already thinking of some interesting add-ons for their home video game consoles.

Way back when Nintendo pitched the Nintendo Knitting Machine. This device would, in theory, hook up to your NES and, with the help of some packed-in software, knit you clothes to wear. One would also imagine Mario would be involved. The sweaters alone would have been amazing.

Toys ‘R Us were on board and the product was demo’d and then, sadly, nothing. It never went to market. According to former Nintendo employee Howard Philips who posted the 1987 brochure onFacebook, the machine would have been able to create all kinds of unique designs. So what happened? Why didn’t it come out? The world may never know. Although the going theory is that it was a fairly stupid idea and the world wasn’t ready for something that bizarre in the 1980s. If only the Makerbot existed back then.

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