Earliest Nintendo Switch console revealed – and you won't believe what it looked like

Nintendo Switch old
(Image credit: Forest of Illusion on Twitter)

Nintendo's Switch console has been a smash hit, with sales eclipsing the lifetime sales of its older sibling, the 3DS, in just four years. But what did it look like in its infancy? Well, this is your chance to find out as the oldest Switch on record has been found, and images of the console are delighting Nintendo fans on Twitter.

The retro unit in question is a development model (above), which has been procured by a group of Nintendo fans, but it isn't clear where it was dug up from. Made in 2016, a whole year before the first Switch was available to consumers, this is how the console would have looked when it was given to developers to create the games fans know and love. 

Wanting a Switch for yourself? Here are our top Nintendo Switch deals, and be sure to check out these free Nintendo Switch games.

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Pretty different, right? Some major design tweaks were made in the short year before release. The volume keys and the screws are totally unlike the ones on the final Switch, the gap between the screen and edging seems wider, and obviously the development menu screen is totally at odds with the one consumers would interact with. We always enjoy a foray into the design process of a product, and seeing that development screen is a real backstage look into the world of Nintendo.

Fans were equally fascinated on Twitter, but one had a delicious nugget of trivia to share that grabbed our attention. Apparently, thanks to an accidental advertising error, this isn't the first time this model has been seen. Yup, the eagle-eyed (or Nintendo super-fans) among you may remember that this model actually accidentally appeared in a Portuguese advert for an early Switch. See below for details.

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Apparently, the ad creators forgot to replace the development model and screen with the actual Switch in the post-editing process. Oops. It seems the original trailer has been officially deleted, but there's a lot of chat on the original thread about where it could be found. Explore the thread for yourself here.

The tweaks made to this model in the short year between its use and release likely solved any issues with the design and performance. But one video game UI issue that hasn't been solved applies across the world of gaming consoles, and it's driving gamers wild. Find out more here.

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Georgia Coggan

Georgia is lucky enough to be Creative Bloq's Editor. She has been working for Creative Bloq since 2018, starting out as a freelancer writing about all things branding, design, art, tech and creativity – as well as sniffing out genuinely good deals on creative technology. Since becoming Editor, she has been managing the site on a day-to-day basis, helping to shape the diverse content streams CB is known for and leading the team in their own creativity.