At work yesterday, I was helping a few guests move their luggage into their hotel room, when I noticed a Nintendo 64 controller sitting on the television. This sparked something in my dim memory from my childhood (more on that later), and I wondered why the hell there would be just a N64 controller in a hotel room, as I didn't see a control deck anywhere. I mentally filed this in the back of my mind and went about my work for the day. Later, I was afforded the opportunity to check one of these controllers out in more detail when I had to go move some fans around on a wet carpet that needed drying in a room. I did my work, and then opened up the TV cabinet, and sure enough there was another N64 controller sitting on the top of the TV. Well, sortof a N64 controller. There were several differences between a normal controller and this one - for one thing, it had about 6 extra buttons on the top of it, where the "Nintendo" logo usually is. The top of the controller was extended a little bit to accomodate these extra buttons, which had labels like "Mode" and "Menu". Three of the buttons were about the size of the Start button, and the others were about half that size, but they were all made of the same material that a TV remote's buttons are made of. The controller cord is also different - it's spiraled, much like a telephone cord, instead of straight like the normal cord. I wasn't able to see what the cord plugged into, as it disappeared into the cabinet and I had to get back to work. The only other info I have is that there was a logo on the controller called "LodgeNet."
I got home last night and googled "LodgeNet" and came up with this website: http://www.lodgenet.com/ Apparently they are the main provider of interactive television services for hotels in the US. This Nintendo 64 controller is part of a partnership between LodgeNet and Nintendo - the childhood memory I had upon first seeing the N64 controller was of a similar service in which Super Nintendo games could be ordered to one's hotel room at the cost of something like $5 an hour just using the added buttons on a provided controller. I searched around a bit and all I could really find detailing the old SNES service is this: http://www.gamersgraveyard.com/repos.../lodgenet.html Apparently the N64 system works similarly, and I've heard rumor of a similar Gamecube system appearing soon.
Does anyone have any additional info on the Nintendo LodgeNet systems? I'd like to know how it works, what sort of media the games are stored upon (normal carts plugged into the system unit, or stored on memory cards, or....?), whether this system would be usable if one were able to get one home - basically anything.
If I thought I wouldn't look suspicious, I'd use one of my break times to go into the basement and see if I couldn't find the server or something, but that's not worth my job. I might try to catch my supervisor on my break at some point or something and ask her if she knows anything about the system, or could point me to someone who does. And if I had a watch camera or something, I'd get a pic of the controller, but I'd look REALLY weird taking a normal camera with me into a room.