LAN adapters, Game Boy Links, and bongo drums were among the bizarre peripherals and add-ons released for the Nintendo GameCube over the years. However, I was unaware of the company’s plans for an official LCD screen prior to today.
Adam Doree has uploaded an unedited video of a presentation Nintendo gave at E3 2002, featuring Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata, and Bill Trinen, on the Go Nintendo website. In this video, after the crew has spent a considerable amount of time discussing Wind Waker and Metroid Prime, Iwata reveals that they have one more surprise to discuss: a first-party LCD screen designed to attach to the top of the console to make it even more portable (the GameCube, famously, included a carrying handle on the back). I have set the video to autoplay at the beginning of the screen discussion.
I did not know this! Over the years, other companies have filled this void by releasing screens of varying quality, but it would have been cool to have an official Nintendo monitor.
It was only five inches wide, had a 4:3 aspect ratio, and a resolution of 320×240. Which sounds terrible by 2023 standards, but this was 2002, so they weren’t terrible for the time, as you can see in the footage above where Mario Sunshine looks great! It’s also interesting to hear Iwata say that it was peripherals like these that convinced Nintendo to include digital output for the GameCube, a forgotten but remarkable hardware feature.
Iwata reveals that, in happier times, he met with Sega’s Yuji Naka to discuss Phantasy Star Online, and the two discussed whether they could “make it a portable game” to take advantage of this screen. It’s fun to imagine a GameCube era in which you could have carried your console by its handle to a friend’s house and played Mario Kart Double Dash on your own personal Nintendo screen.
The fact that I’m only learning about this today doesn’t mean that there isn’t other information available about the screen; for instance, here’s a 2002 article on IGN about how nice it looked, while its listing on Console Variations speculates that the high cost of LCD screens at the time prevented its release. The video below, meanwhile, features lingering footage of the screen alongside some speakers, a 2002 gaming setup if ever there was one.