For as much as we could remember, Nintendo has always been the sole manufacturer of their own gaming platforms. Very rarely do they allow other companies to make a hybrids of them. But it did happen occasionally. Back in the early 90’s, when you stayed at a hotel or flew on an airplane,Â you probably saw these rental units for both the NES and SNES and there were also N64 and Gamecube ones as well. Panasonic also released the “Q” for that could play regular DVD’s compared to a regular Gamecube.
Michigan based Visteon also partnered with Nintendo to released a one of a kind DVD player that could play Game Boy Advance games called the Visteon Dockable Entertainment. With an officially licensed hardware, it didn’t seem like anything could go wrong and with the huge popularity of Nintendo’s new handheld platform, it seemed like a match made in heaven for the two. The GBA hybrid player was announced at CES in 2006.
While a typical Game Boy Advance unit had it’s actual hands-on game play on the device itself, the VDE (Visteon Dockable Entertainment) uses a wireless controller to play games. If you bought one of these things then, which would have cost you a whopping $1,600, you would have gotten one of these controllers (I own one of these are they play great – maybe i’ll have to do a review later). $1,600 is a great deal of money. By 2006, you could buy more than 10 Game Boy Advance SP’s with that kind of money. I think one of the leading cause of the unit not being successful is the fact that it was only sold and available through a car dealership. It was definitely a specialty item for only those who could afford it. Apparently these were available on Ford vehicles as well as GM but I have yet to see one of these inside a vehicle other than the pictures posted on the internet.
Up until recently, these have become harder to come by. There was a seller on eBay that sold quite a few of them, dirt cheap for as low as $90 each unit. I bought it from the same seller for about $100. Just a few months ago, there was another seller which I believe was flipping the units he bought from the previous one for over $500. There’s one listed right now but unfortunately missing the actual controllers. Without it it’d be kind of pointless since you’ll have no way of playing the game. By the time you read this, it’s probably got less than a day to go.
Link to auction ($160 – BIN)
Visteon’s Product Page
Flickr Photo’s from the CES unveiling