WaveBird Prototypes

Here’s the WaveBird from start to finish. (Some will be repeats from previous sections)


Space World 2000 WaveBirds

  • Convention held on August 24th to 26th 2000 in Japan.
  • The earliest WaveBird known was shown, while a picture of its successor was released to the press.
  • Grey prototype receiver.
  • One functioning unit and one that was actually never shown physically.

Description

Grey wireless controller very similar to the Ver.B devkit controllers with the long slim handles, but with a more defined Start and Z-button shape. It has a silver and grey “Nintendo GameCube” logo with a light grey strip of text (?) underneath, and under the start button there’s a blue “WaveBird” logo. It also has a square extension in between the D-pad and C-stick to hold more hardware.

Grey wireless controller identical to the Space World 2000 wired controllers. It has a grey “Nintendo GameCube” logo, and underneath, the same unidentified strip of text (?), and on top, a blue “WaveBird” logo. It was sent to the press as a promotional picture, and wasn’t present at the convention.

Trivia

  • Both WaveBirds share the same grey prototype receiver.
  • The WaveBird prototype shown at the convention is very similar to the Ver.B devkit controllers, except for an extension on the back of the controller no cord. It seems to be a working unit, as it was used during the Mario 128 demo by a Nintendo employee.
  • The second prototype wasn’t actually present at the convention, and it is unknown why they showed an earlier version of the WaveBird instead.
  • It is also unknown if the WaveBird shown to the press was actually ever made, or if it exists in physical form.
The image that was sent to the press for promotion. The WaveBird seen here was never shown at the Space World 2000 convention.
The prototype WaveBird receiver as seen on display at Space World 2000.

WaveBird Development Prototypes

  • Prototypes (most likely) built between Space World 2000 and E3 2001.
  • Those pieces are very rare.
  • Pictures courtesy of Andrew from ObscureGamers.
  • Prototype receiver
  • Custom test printed circuit board (PCB) in a modified Indigo casing.

Description

Full body Indigo, modified to hold a test PCB. A battery compartment is held with Velcro on the front shell and the wireless components extrude from the top of the controller.

Trivia

  • This controller works and is compatible with retail receivers.
  • It uses the same internals as the Legacy T1 controllers, except for the custom board.
  • The top of the controller was shaved to fit the wireless components, and the battery compartment is held with Velcro to the top shell.
  • The test PCB was made by Mitsumi, the same manufacturer that made the retail controllers.
The backside of the controller. Very early pre-production shell, it bears no markings like early retail controllers.
Picture of the prototype PCB made by Mitsumi.
The backside of the PCB, with the controller chip outside of the shell.
An example of a prototype receiver.

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2001 WaveBird

  • Convention held on May 17th to 19th 2001 in the United States.
  • The WaveBird was shown with its near-final shape.
  • Grey receiver
  • Functioning, near-finalized prototype.

Description

WaveBird wireless controller prototype, full body silver painted shell and a white “Nintendo GameCube” logo. It also has a carved “Nintendo” logo on the top of the controller, and has extra markings around the on/off switch.

Trivia

  • The WaveBird has a carved “Nintendo” logo and some extra markings around the on/off switch that are not present on the final version of the controller.
  • While the photo shown above was a promotion released to the press, the WaveBird itself was presented at the event, and the differences from the retail version (like the carved Nintendo logo) are noticeable through footage of the presentation. So this prototype was present in this shape at the event.
  • The WaveBird prototype controller was used to play a demo of Pikmin during the presentation. You can see it here.
  • For some reason, the old promotional picture for the WaveBird from Space World 2000 was used in the Powerpoint presentation during the reveal and explanation of the GameCube controller. You can see it here.
The WaveBird prototype as seen on stage. You can barely see the carved “Nintendo” logo, which proves the prototype was present at the event. For a better look, see the video linked above.
Miyamoto presenting the wired Indigo GameCube controller and the WaveBird prototype. Can you notice the markings around the on/off switch? It’s literally two pixels.

FCC Test Unit WaveBirds

  • Tests records as early as February 26th 2002.
  • The final version of the WaveBird.
  • Grey receiver
  • Test unit sent to the FCC.

Description

The test WaveBird is a full body grey shell with matching receiver, and no logo on the front.

Trivia

  • Every wireless item needs the FCC’s approval to be sold in the US market. In this case, the WaveBird was approved on May 10th 2002.
  • This approval coincides with the announcement from Nintendo America to move the release date of the WaveBird controller two weeks early and reduce its retail price, which was made four days later.
  • This unit, as shown on the first picture, was sent to the FCC for pictures. The white “Nintendo GameCube” logo on the front shell of the controller is erased, and the “Mitsumi” logo on the PCB was scratched off. The shell looks shiny, rough and untextured.
  • Another unit, with the logo on the faceplate (but with a darker stick?) was used by the FCC for testing.
  • The full report, which contains a lot of information on how the WaveBird works, can be found publicly in the FCC database. https://fccid.io/EW4DOLAW
  • All the pictures shown here were sourced from the FCC document.
  • Every WaveBird produced for retail have the same FCC ID stamped on the bottom of the controller. “FCC ID: EW4DOLAW IC: 4250A-DOLAW”
Front of the test WaveBird, with no logo.
Backside of the test WaveBird.
A picture of the internals. The Mitsumi logo should be on the top left, but was scratched off. For more pictures of the internals, see the official document from the FCC linked above.
The WaveBird that was used for testing. It has a weirdly dark stick, but the picture is too low quality to be identifiable.

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2002

  • Convention held on May 21st to 24th 2002 in the United States.
  • The final version of the WaveBird was shown before release.
  • Grey receiver
  • Final pre-release version.

Description

The demo WaveBird is a full body grey shell with matching receiver and a white “Nintendo GameCube” logo.

Trivia

  • This WaveBird is basically the same as the retail versions.
  • The Grey WaveBird was released less than a month later, on June 10th 2002.
  • This is not necessarily a pre-production unit, but it is still notable. It most likely couldn’t be differentiated from retail units.
  • During the E3 presentation, Miyamoto appeared from the crowd, playing a Super Mario Sunshine demo far away from the console. You can see the demo here.

Extras