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December 2012 Retro Gaming Article


December 13, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Don't buy a crappy Christmas sweater- Make one with your Nintendo NES or GameBoy

The Nintendo Knitting Machine never made it to retail shelves, but did make an appearance at the 1987 Winter Consumer Electronics Show to gauge interest (or lack thereof). A recent Twitter post by @VideoGamesFacts about a post on Gamemaster Howard's Facebook page and me led to Kotaku and IGN articles about this odd NES peripheral.

The Nintendo Knitting Machine The Nintendo Knitting Machine was never a commercial item, but it was shown at trade shows and the software was released in Japan.
This product was geared toward girls prior to corporate managers being aware that girls liked video games (duh). I suppose the suits sat around a boardroom table discussing the likelihood of some guy's little sister using his NES to make a sweater. I can't see this as a promising entry into any market or demographic, but it got to the "presentation/demo" stage.

It looks as though an NES controller would be placed into a cradle to allow interaction with the Knitting Machine. This makes me wonder if Player-2 could jump in and try to sabotage the design with some crafty up-up-A-A-B action.

Or perhaps the crafty "little sister" could customize her design with some dual-controller madness. Obviously, I don't know a thing about sewing or knitting, but I'm fascinated to know more about how the knitting program ("game" cart) interacted with the Knitting Machine.
Singer's Izek Sewing Machine controlled by GameBoy Singer's Izek Sewing Machine controlled by a Nintendo GameBoy.
Singer actually launched this baby onto the market, but it didn't hold the "video game aesthetic" quite the way the Nintendo Knitting Machine did. As sewing machines modernized, many incorporated computer-like interfaces for stich patterns and such. It seems as though Singer harnessed the power of Game Boy to use it to bolster the Izek's abilities.

The interesting part is that the Game Boy Color obviously requires a game cart to interface with the sewing machine. I love these sort of odd relationships where that cart on the shelf next to Donkey Kong Country controls the stitching on your sewing machine. Technology is a wild beast... even if it only knits a sweater.

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