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Peripheral Visions

Rejoice! For many years the zany Nintendo peripheral was a diminishing phenomenon. But no longer. Thanks to the Wii, all manner of weird and wonderful accessories are being released again, while the Virtual Console continues to churn up deep feelings of nostalgia for the games and peripherals of ages past. In honour of this new golden age, we thought we’d root around our collective memories for some of the more bizarre, wonderful and downright useless peripherals we’ve encountered over the many ages of gaming. From trash to triumph, join us as we excavate through the layers of Nintendo’s peripheral past.

Power Glove (NES)
Everyone wanted a Power Glove when they were a kid. Controlling games via a motion-sensing glove? That was the dream. Sadly, it didn’t quite work like that, and the control it offered could only be described as appalling - little more than having a NES pad glued to your wrist. But thanks to its appearance in Nintendo marketing coup-cum-film The Wizard, it shifted a respectable number of units. In all other regards, it’s the least respectable NES accessory of all time.

R.O.B. the Robot (NES)
He might look unassuming, but our Robotic Operating Buddy here may very well be what saved Nintendo’s fortunes after the great video game crash of ’83 - convincing retailers to stock the young NES console so long as it was bundled with this cutie.

Famicom Light Gun (NES)
Everyone loves the original gray (and then pumpkin-orange) NES Zapper. But did you know it had an older, meaner brother? Meet the Famicom Light Gun, Nintendo’s first photodiode blaster. If you tried to hold up a liquor store with the original NES Zapper, you’d be laughed out of the building. But approach the till with the Famicom Light Gun? You’ll be getting a bit of respect.

Roll & Rocker (NES)
You might not know it, but there have been many attempts prior to Wii Fit to combine the divergent activities of gaming and exercise. The Roll & Rocker was the first to appear on a Nintendo console. Problem is, it had a 100 lb weight limit, meaning you either had to be a rather athletic child or be operating in a low-gravity environment to use it in the first place.

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