Whenever a major games company teases a new hardware release, it's common to see fan-made mock-ups appear which, despite the lack of any real inside knowledge, give us a glimpse of what could be possible.
This is a practice that goes all the way back to the early '90s when crude pencil sketches hinted at the unseen wonders of systems like the N64 and SNES PlayStation, but it was still in full swing in the middle of the last decade, right around the point that Nintendo officially unveiled the Revolution (which would, of course, become the Wii).
Whilst flicking through our dusty library of old video game magazines we stumbled across the December 2005 issue of EDGE, which had a massive feature on Revolution, including a look at what would become one of the most groundbreaking controllers the industry has ever seen: the Wii Remote.
In addition to this, the feature collected several fan-made mock-ups of what people thought the console's controller would look like prior to it being officially shown off; these had begun to appear online almost from the moment Nintendo confirmed Revolution at E3 2005, and most are rather hideous variations on existing pads (there are mutated NES and SNES controllers present, and even an altered Namco NeGcon thrown in for good measure) but what stuck out like a sore thumb was this example:
EDGE says all of the designs were taken from a wide range of internet forums so tracing the artist who came up with this controller is difficult, but it's striking how – out of all of the mock-ups shown – this was the only one which incorporated a screen. As such, it predicts the arrival of both the Switch and the Wii U; if you look really closely, you'll notice that it even correctly guesses that Nintendo would mine its back catalogue of retro hits in the form of the Virtual Console – the screen shows NES, SNES and N64 options on the UI. There's also the hint that the controller is capable of 'downloading' games from the main console, making it a kind of halfway house between the Wii U and Switch.
Equally interesting is a second design which looks like a combination of the Wii Nunchuk and the Switch Joy-Con, as well as a totally featureless, touch-based pad which reminds us of the fake Switch leak from a while back:
All of the designs shown in EDGE's feature were lovingly compiled over at the site 4 Color Rebellion but sadly the URL given in the piece is no longer active, suggesting that the page was culled during a redesign. It's a shame because, despite the fact that these are totally unofficial designs created by fans, they're still incredibly interesting to look at – and it would appear they can predict the future, to boot.