Atari's trip back to the future

A 1982 game controller board resembles the one used in Nintendo's Wii Fit today.

Boing Boing

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That, at least, can be said of Atari.

The company will be releasing a game that appears to compete with Nintendo's much-anticipated Wii Fit and its Balance Board, but it turns out that Atari had a board controller of its own back in 1982--we're talking the same year that Tron came out. According to Boing Boing, the "Joyboard" was a four-switch device that worked like a foot-controlled joystick but was eventually abandoned as "too finicky for nuanced control."

It seems doubtful that any of its original developers remain with the company, but Atari apparently still remembers that experience 26 years later and has gone with an interactive floor mat with its new Family Trainer title. It's natural to wonder whether Atari's fortunes might have been different if it had kept going down this path of development. But our guess is that it probably was just a case of being too far ahead of its time.

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