Our cavalcade of consoles continues this week. One of the daily trivia tidbits last week was on the Bandai WonderSwan, a short lived handheld console from the popular game maker. Today we’ve got a home console that was produced by them, but developed by the folks at Apple. It was called the Apple Bandai Pippin, and was never intended to be released as a stand alone platform.
Early in the 90’s Bandai was attempting to get into the home console market and partnered with Apple. This system is for all intents and purposes a Macintosh computer. Most games developed for the system would run on Classic MacOS devices that were developed before OS9. There were even bootable discs that would run things like the Netscape web browser.
It was hampered by a number of things when it launched. The biggest issue being that it launched after Nintendo, Sega and Sony had settled into the market with the Playstation, Saturn and the Nintendo 64 respectively. There was also little software available for it at launch; Bandai was the only publisher with software ready to sell. The price was also prohibitively high at $599. In contrast the N64 launched at $199, the Playstation launched at $299 and the Saturn launched at $399.
The system’s controller called the AppleJack had four face buttons on the right, a traditional direction pad on the left and a small trackball in the middle. During the life of the system only 18 titles were ever produced for North America.
Bandai would produce fewer than 100,000 and it was widely reported that only 42,000 had been sold by the time it was announced that they were discontinuing the Pippin. Ironically there were more of the system’s peripherals such as the keyboard and modem that were made and sold than the actual system itself.