1 UP!: Playing with power!…well sometimes.

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I finally got the one thing I’ve always wanted for the NES…that’s right the POWER GLOVE!!! The greatest Nintendo accessory that never worked, but you know we all wanted one the moment we saw it in the movie the wizard.

So obviously today’s topic is about the accessories that came out for the NES, and there were a few…some awesome and some terrible. So without any further ado let’s check them out!

R.O.B: The Robotic Operating Buddy:

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How cool was this guy? When the NES launched in North America they wanted to be seen as a toy and not a gaming system due to that whole game crash that happened a few years earlier…so even though everyone saw through the guise we still got R.O.B!

The only thing that sucked was…we got R.O.B! Yeah as awesome and collectable he is (thats my boxed one in the pic) he was sadly a piece of junk. He played 2 games…count em 2 games! And he played them poorly. It was easier to use your younger sibling on the 2nd player controller than to wait for R.O.B to complete any tasks.

He was sluggish at best, took a lot of time to set up and would frequently knock over his gyros or stack up chips and need to have them set up again. Unfortunately R.O.B lives on more in our nostalgia than actual functionality and most people who had one as a kid probably had him sitting on a shelf or tucked away in the closet after a few attempts at playing gyromite with him.

The Power Glove:

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Like I said at the top of the article, I just got my power glove…and it sucks. It was supposed to be the ultimate controller, finally a way to interact with NES games just like Lucas the douche from the wizard.

As a controller it was hit and miss and just about every YouTuber has done a review video about how poor the glove works for controlling the games. The bottom line was it was a very trimmed down version of a prototype that completely worked but cost $5000 per unit, and the power glove had to be made on a budget in order to be in the regular consumers budget. 

The marketing behind the power glove was genius though, the ads in Nintendo power, and the ultimate big screen commercial…the wizard! Of course every ten year old wanted one of these after seeing how badass Lucas looked playing Rad Racer with his power glove! The glove is fairly incompatible with anything but the 2 power glove series games, but has held a strong place in the collective nostalgia of every kid who ever wanted one but never got one. Including me.

The Power Pad:

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Ok, I’ll stop harping about accessories that don’t work….so here’s one that did! Originally created by Bandai for their family fitness package that had a now somewhat well known game with it called stadium events (maybe you’ve heard of it…only 200 were known to exist). Nintendo bought up the rights and started advertising the power pad with its various games.

The power pad had sensors that registered the pressure of you stepping on them and transferred that into movement in the game. The pad was best known for world class track meet and track and field 1+2, but also had quirky games like dance aerobics and street cop. The upside was that the pad would actually work but most times you would get bored of having to run on it and would most likely lay on the floor and hit the pads with your hands to move.

The NES Advantage/Max controllers:

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Here’s another example of accessories that got it right. Each controller was designed to give an advantage on different types of games: the advantage was great for shooters, arcade games like Q*Bert, etc and the Max was great for sports games like tecmo bowl and blades of steel with its sliding 360 trackpad.

The four score:

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Another great accessory as it finally allowed for more than 2 players in many games such as: Blades of steel, Tecmo super bowl and the arcade classic Gauntlet. The adaptor plugged into both controller ports and then 4 controllers could be plugged into the device.

All of these were official Nintendo products but there were many 3rd party accessories as well. Many of these have found infamy as flops but have seen some collectability due to their infamy and rarity.

Some of the better known flops were:

The speedboard:

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Putting the speed into your hands….or on your table I guess…this device promised to free your hands for greater speed and freedom of movement. It really just kinda made you look like an idiot and quickly found its way to the back of the closet.

The lazer scope:

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This was a voice activated headset that was supposed to handle being your fire button for you. It did work but at the chagrin of anyone else in your vacinity having to listen to you yell “fire” repeatedly. This accessory has been famously spoofed as part of the Angry Video Game Nerd’ power outfit.

The QuickShot:

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This was a 3rd party that was at least, less of a flop. It’s a solid joystick for games like Top Gun, Airwolf, and Lazer Invasion as it’s designed to be like the flight sticks that were common for pc games at the time. The only downside for the quickshot was the popularity of Nintendo’s own arcade style stick, the advantage.

These are just a few of the better known accessories for the NES, there were many other items that came out for different purposes such as the official NES cleaning kits for the system and games, various 3rd party controllers, and add ons. A few other notable add ons/controller were the rock n roller, wireless controllers, and the aura interactor backpack.

With the NES being one of the longest running game systems, there were bound to be accessories and add ons. Many of these were great and as we’ve seen many were money grabs desigined to sucker parents and gamers out of their money. Whether good or bad though many of these items are now quite collectable, and the ones that do work well are nice additions to a collection especially if you play your games. Even the bad ones have a place in a collection because everyone likes to be able to say they have a rock n roller or a Uforce even if their not good for much else but a nostalgic look back.

There’s one last add on that I didn’t mention here, but I’ll be looking at more in depth in another post.

#8bitliving
#retroredneck

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Boss Battle: The pricing conundrum.

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Well we might as well touch on the issue of pricing as it seems to be a constant elephant in the room when it comes to collectors. I’ve talked before about rare game prices, having a budget and a limit but let’s look at the actual market and the prices past, present and future.

The past:
Once upon a time in a not so long ago past retro games were cheap, there wasn’t much interest in them outside a few collectors and so prices were reflected in that. $1-3 games were commonplace, you could go to a yard sale and pick up an NES and a boxes of games for maybe $20 max. Those were the days for sure, but since that time until the present there has been a growing interest in retro gaming that has changed the demand for these items despite the fact that the supply is finite.

The Present:
Thanks to the demand for retro games/systems and the dwindling stock of these items the prices have risen. Once the demand goes up the prices follow and as more and more games become less and less common as they go into collections or landfills (they are over 30 years old and over time many will be junked for various reasons like no longer working, damage, etc) the prices will be reflected.

Currently the prices in the retro market are at an all time high but seem to be hitting a plateau for the time being. More people are entering both the collector and reseller markets and that has a direct effect on pricing, the sellers are looking to maximize profitability and so over time things like ebay have become the standard for prices.

This is where the bitching begins…I hate ebay prices as much as the next person but it’s the standard whether I like it or not. I often find when I’m buying items I’m met with the usual arguments when negotiating:
1. “That’s the average completed sale price on ebay”
2.  “Yeah but these go for a lot more on ebay”
3.  “I’m saving you the shipping”
4.  “Price isn’t firm and will be checked against ebay before purchase as prices fluctuate frequently.”

So yeah that’s frustrating on the buyer end, but I’m also on the selling end as well so the problem becomes to ebay or not to ebay?. I like to give out deals when possible because of the varied prices I find things for but recently I was listening to a podcast where the question was posed:

“If I get things cheap should I sell it cheap?”

The person was referring to helping out friends but it can apply to anyone really. The answer surprised me as it was:

“You can do what you want but you can’t complain later because you sold something of value cheap only to find out the buyer listed it for full price and sold it.”

I know everyone has tossed someone a deal at one time or another only to find out you got burned by the buyer reselling it. So this got me thinking further on the subject as prices aren’t going to change anytime soon, do you price accordingly? or maximize what you can get out of the item as someone else is just going to anyway?
This will continue to be an issue as long as the popularity of these items continue which brings me to my last point..

Future:
As speculation continues, people who have an investment in the further rising price of retro games and systems will want to continue to drive prices up to further profit. But the question is how much will the market take before the market explodes or prices begin dropping?

If the interest in retro games starts to decline, which most trends tend to do (remember when sports cards were a booming industry?) what changes will this bring? Will we see games go back to 90s-00s prices? Not likely due to the continued future scarcity of these items but I think you will see a decrease in the pricing in general as well as some rarer titles may become less desired or may find their way back into the market if current collectors decide to sell off collections, etc.

As the market continues to expand however, more systems start to become as collectable as the current “vintage” systems. But will the newer generation systems have the following or nostalgic value to continue to drive the market forward? Only the future will tell as the cohort who’s first systems were the 64, playstation, and xbox start to look back with fondness on the games they grew up playing.

In the end, a few facts remain: the market has decided that ebay is a standard whether people like it or not and until a change comes into the current retro market the prices will continue to be determined by online auctions. Possibly in the future the market will level or correct itself, but until then the price conundrum will continue to be a division between sellers and buyers.

A collection has a value much greater than its determined monetary value, the value of the satisfaction it brings to the collector. Unless you only got into collecting for the profitability then your collection probably means more to you than what you’ve paid to add different pieces to it and the market doesn’t change your enjoyment of it.