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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