The 10 Most Absurd Video Game Accessories Ever Made

laser

With all the wonderful creations the gaming industry has brought us in its 30 year history, there were bound to be some stinkers.

Whether conceived as quick cash-grabs, attempts to capitalize on the casual gamer, or overly ambitious attempts to revolutionize the gaming world, absolutely baffling video game accessories have been part of the industry since day one. Here are ten of the most insane peripherals that left us asking one question: …why?

Honorable Mention: The Power Glove

Compatible With: Nintendo Entertainment System

power glove

The Power Glove has been mocked online so extensively that while it may very well be worthy of the number one spot on this list, it’s probably best to let the poor sap off the hook just this once.

10. The Wii Bowling Ball

Compatible With: Nintendo Wii

wii bowling ball

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wii bowling is great and all, but I’d be far more immersed if I could hold a real bowling ball instead of this pesky Wiimote!” Apparently CTA did, which is why they invented the one-and-a-half pound Wii Bowling Ball accessory. Now when your kids inevitably forget to put on their controller’s safety strap, instead of throwing a small rectangular controller across the room, they’ll hurl a full sized bowling ball into your new TV!

And don’t worry – the Wii Bowling Ball is advertised as “Motion Plus compatible,” meaning you can plug in a nunchuk and experience classics like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword with this hulking orb resting on your lap.

9. Nintendo 64 Controller Glove

Compatible With: N64

dk

I’ve heard of tea cozies, but this is just ridiculous. The Controller Glove was a real product from the late ’90s advertised in an official Nintendo magazine that sought to increase the players’ grip and cut down on sweaty hands. “For serious gamers only,” reads the Nintendo Power advertisement; I can’t imagine any gamer that took themselves even remotely serious would touch those things with a ten-foot Link Cable.

Oh, and quick shoutout to the Blockbuster membership card resting in the wallet seen in the magazine ad!

8. Tony Hawk Ride Board

Compatible With: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii

ride

There was a time in the early 2000s when Tony Hawk and Activision seemed to rule the world. But by 2009, fans were losing interest in the punk-oriented skating games and – what in retrospect was the final nail in the Tony Hawk franchise’s coffin – Activision tried to save the series by releasing Tony Hawk: Ride. Complete with a skateboard peripheral that could detect players’ moves, Ride sold far fewer copies than the company had hoped and left critics and consumers with a sour taste in their mouths.

The board was ineffective and not to mention dangerous; just take a look at Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth absolutely face planting after an attempt to perform a trick.

7. R.O.B.

Compatible With: Nintendo Entertainment System

rob

In 1985, Nintendo was looking to bring the video game industry back to life, and they had what they believed to be the perfect trick up their sleeve: package each N.E.S with a real life robot to invoke a sense of wonder and truly differentiate the system from those that came before.

Unfortunately, the Robotic Operating Buddy only “worked” with two games before support for the little fella ceased entirely. Fortunately for R.O.B., his legacy lived on in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as the character little kids affectionately assumed was WALL-E.

6. The Guitar Hero Guitar Grip

Compatible With: Nintendo DS

grip

What farther experience is there from being a rockstar than what players felt when they slid their hand into this…thing? Now granted, the Guitar Grip did manage to evoke an experience similar to the console based Guitar Hero games, but couldn’t be any farther from the “real guitar playing experience” that the console games were trying to replicate.

The DS iteration of Guitar Hero represented a turning point in the music game genre where the market was becoming oversaturated with goofy, clunky, colour coated chunks of plastic. On that note…

5.Rock Band Drums

Compatible With: Any system around in 2007!
drums

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Rock Band just as much as anyone, but don’t you think enough time has passed that we can look ourselves in the mirror, splash some water on our faces, and realize how stupid we must have looked playing these things?

The gameplay was easy to learn but difficult to master and certainly could help gamers develop a better sense of rhythm, but the drum kit was massive and not to mention loud. I sympathize with any girlfriend, boyfriend, or parent who ever tried to sleep while their loved ones hammered away at this plastic monstrosity well into the night.
And that face we’d all make when playing any of these plastic instruments…

guitar

 

4. Wii Snooker Pool Stick

Compatible With: Nintendo Wii

pool stick

Seriously? Snooker’s pool stick is the king of the unnecessary sports-themed accessories that companies mass produced in the late 2000s to feed off of the fitness-driven sports game craze of the time. Hell, at least the Wii Bowling Ball had its own button configuration; the pool stick is quite literally a piece of plastic Wii owners pop their controller into.

Maybe it’s not so bad: I guess you could use it for Wii Sports Resort’s Swordplay as a hella cool rapier? I’m grasping at straws here.

3. Sega Activator

Compatible With: Sega Genesis

sega

Right around the time games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were blowing up in the gaming world, Sega released a motion gaming accessory (one step ahead of you, Nintendo!) for the Genesis. The Activator rested on the floor with the player standing inside octagon and would translate punches and kicks into game control inputs.

Not only did it succeed in letting the player feel like a knob, the Sega Activator just didn’t work, leading to its massive commercial failure. Still, credit should be given to Sega for inventing a motion gaming device nearly two decades before the Wii and Kinect ever showed up!

2. Konami LaserScope

Compatible With: Nintendo Entertainment System

LaserScope-Box-_Front_

The LaserScope is a beautiful nightmare. It’s a hilarious example of how people in the past naively envisioned future technology. You could at least try to defend the Power Glove by saying you sort of look like an ’80s version of homeless Iron Man, but no degree of rhetoric justify this peripheral.

Released in 1990, the LaserScope launched alongside the compatible game Laser Invasion, but could actually work on any game that used the Nintendo Zapper, meaning you could in fact play Duck Hunt by tilting your head around like a jackass and shouting, “FIRE!”

And the winner is….

1. The Atari Mindlink

Compatible With: Atari 2600, Atari 7800, and Atari Home Computers

mind

Video game pioneers Atari truly outdid themselves with what can only be described as the most hilarious video game peripheral of all time. The Mindlink was a infrared transmitter and receiver headband that allowed players to control their favourite Atari games with their mind.

According to the Atari Museum site, “The headband would detect read resistance the myoneural signal voltage to muscles in the user’s forehead and interpet them into commands on the screen, using the analog / digital game port interface.”

“Wow! A mind reading device existed and was sold in the ’80s? What’s the catch?” It didn’t work. It’s as simple as that, and yet it earns its spot as the absurd video game accessory of all time not only for its entirely unachievable ambition, but just as much so for the near-comatose state face the kid in the advertisement is making. Is he controlling the game, or is the game controlling him?!

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One thought on “The 10 Most Absurd Video Game Accessories Ever Made

  1. haha I have the Power Glove at home, and I never really used it except to test it once in a while to see if it works. It sure does look nice from a collector’s standpoint. (The same can be said for ROB, except I think he’s adorbs.)

    Like

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