In a surprise move, snack manufacturer Nabisco has announced that they will be entering the video game market later this year. During a press conference held earlier today at Nabisco's headquarters in East Hanover, NJ, CEO Daryl J. Brewster made the announcement to a stunned crowd.
"Video games and snack food go hand in hand." said Brewster. "Now, with our new dedicated gaming platform, you can hold both in the same hand."
Immediately following this statement, he pulled from his pocket a prototype for what he called "Project Saltine". To say that it was unlike anything the public has ever seen before would be an understatement. Words can't describe the nature of this bizarre, yet brilliant machine. For starters, Nabisco has foregone all current conventions and made the first handheld/home console hybrid. This isn't quite as intuitive as it sounds though, as the device has four built in screens. These four 1.5" x 1.5" LCD displays (each approximately the same size as a standard saltine) work in tandem with one another to create a free-form, malleable display. The screens can be rearranged in a number of positions to create different display shapes and sizes. This unique configuration can be recreated in the living room by simply connecting the device wirelessly to 4 seperate TV screens via a series of wireless receivers, each sold separately.
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the device is how it's tying into Nabisco's snack food heritage. The "SnackWorks Ports" as they're being called, function in a couple of ways. First, the left compartment has the capacity to hold up to 5 Nilla Wafers at a time. (That's 15 Honey Maid or Ritz crackers if you're not a Nilla fan). Next to this is the cartridge slot that holds over 25 cartridges at once. Why 25 carts? They're all edible. Yes, the way software is delivered to "Project Saltine" is on edible cartridges. Each game you buy will come in a sleeve of 50 edible carts, all containing the same game. Once you make your initial purchase, the game license becomes yours to reload on any number of other Nabisco products. Through the "Flavor Portal" (also sold separately) you will be able to write the game code of your purchased games directly onto your favorite Nabisco snacks, and reload the SnackWorks ports to your heart's content. But what of the games?
Naturally, Nabisco has reached out to major 3rd party developers, and the support is surprisingly strong. Activision came out swinging by announcing that the next iteration of Call of Duty will be revealed at this year's E3, and a "Saltine" port is in the works, as well as a new line of animal cracker style edible Skylanders. EA is also jumping in with this year's Madden NFL, complete with a fantasy football mini game utilizing their own unique brand of Wheat Thins. An even more surprising aspect of their games lineup was the announcement of Nabisco's own internal game studio: Nabiscotech. It seems that they have been hard at work for the last year and a half on the console's first major exclusive, which is an adventure platformer starring an anthropomorphic version of the company's logo. The Nabisco Thing, which hasn't been seen since their 90's ad campaign, is set to star in his own currently untitled platformer. Little is known about the title other than its scope is said to be unbelievable, and that it will make full use of the system's interchangeable screens. Also, the cartridges are said to be among the most delicious treats the company has ever produced. When asked if this would be the first project to incorporate their venerable Oreo brand, they simply replied with smiling "No comment".
If one aspect of this gives me pause, it's the inspiration behind entering this already overcrowded market. Brewster claims that he got the idea from playing his now defunct Gizmondo handheld. He is a proud owner of one, and he was blown away by the potential of the failed device. "I saw how this strange shaped thing wanted to integrate many of the features we now see in our smart devices, and I thought it was genius," Brewster said. "The ad structure also really made sense to me. We here at Nabisco are going to pick up where they left off, and create a unique platform that they would have been proud of." There were some vague comments made about incorporating Nabisco ads into the games themselves, and depending on how many ads you agree to see, the game prices will adjust accordingly, but Brewster promises the answers are coming soon.
"This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo is going to be a huge event for us. We will be blowing the lid off of this thing then, and our presence is absolutely huge. We're going to be as big as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, and you won't be disappointed." We're expecting to hear about a launch date, pricing structure, and official product title at that time, but it seems that until then, we are all left guessing what Nabisco has in store for us. This is the company that brought us Watermelon Oreos, after all. The sky's the limit.
E3 will be June 16-18, and it just might be the most delicious expo yet.