Wii Sports might have been Nintendo's most successful attempt at getting us to play golf in our living rooms by swinging an imagined club, but it certainly wasn't the company's first try. Tinkering with the idea back in 1995, Nintendo worked with Japanese electronics giant Ricoh to release Lasabirdie, a personal golf simulator for the Super Famicom.
The Lasabirdie bundle included a Get in the Hole game cart and several control accessories. Though the Lasabirdie lacked any motion sensing technology, its implementation was remarkably similar to the Wii's. Players used a light-sensor-equipped golf club in conjunction with a sensor pad to measure their strokes. This setup detected the speed of a player's swing and translated it into the simulator. The game offered a training mode that showed players how their slices hit the ball and gave advice on how to improve their swings.
Lasabirdie's production was limited to 3,500 Japanese units, selling for about $450 each! One would think the rarity and extravagant retail price would make purchasing the bundle near impossible today, but Gamesniped spotted a Lasabirdie sold for only $270 at a recent eBay auction. The seller was even generous enough to provide a video demonstrating the game for bidders. Check it out after the post break.