The Strangest Video Game Peripherals

Video gaming as a hobby can be a financial black hole. There’s always a new video game or a new console, waiting for you to dump your money and your hours in to. But games and consoles aren’t the only videogame gizmo vying for your disposable income. There’s also the strange and exciting world of gaming peripherals.

For those out of the know, a video game peripheral is another word for controller. You know, the thing with the buttons? Sometimes, video game companies will design an alternative controller that can either accomplish more tasks than the console’s standard controller or enhance the emersion of the player. There are also games that will only work with it’s corresponding controller (think the guitar in Guitar Hero).

Some peripherals do enhance the gaming experience — like the Wii-Fit board — while others not so much. Today, we focus on that later category. Let’s dive in and take a look at the wide (and strange) world of video game peripherals.

The Power Glove

In the kingdom of odd video gaming peripherals, there is only one king — the Power Glove. The concept was simple enough. Slap a bunch of buttons on the backhand of a sleek looking glove and BAM, you’ve got yourself a one-handed controller that can effortlessly control your original NES. But the Power Glove did more than just offer up a different button layout. It also utilized the players hand motions to make things easier.

Sadly, the Power Glove wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. Though it could technically be used to play any game from the NES library, it didn’t do a great job of it. The required TV sensors didn’t work very well and the glove wasn’t sensitive enough to adequately control the game. In short, it failed.

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The Sega Activator

The Sega Activator, to say the least, was a bold venture. The head honchos at Sega set out to build the very first, full-body motion gaming controller on the market. And they did! Sort of.

The Sega Activator was a plastic, sensor-rigged octagon that was designed to be placed on the floor and plugged in to the Sega Genesis controller port. To use it, the gamer would stand in the centre of the octagon and use a series of hand and arm gestures to direct the action on the screen. Though the peripheral was designed to work with all games, it was meant to work best with Eternal Champions, Mortal Kombat, and Comix Zone.

The problem was, the Activator wasn’t exactly marketed properly and, more importantly, didn’t work as well as the commercials said it did. At $80 a pop, it was also incredibly expensive. As expected, it flopped.

Tony Hawk Ride Skateboard

The pseudo-skateboard peripheral was built to mimic the real-life skateboard experience as a way for Tony Hawk: Ride to tap into the sales potential of peripheral-heavy games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The game was released in 2009 across multiple platforms (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii), and it failed spectacularly on each one.

Not only did the game besmirch the great name of skateboarding’s prodigal son, but it also, flat-out didn’t work properly. The board’s motion controls left much to be desired.

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