Where there are video games, there are video game accessories. That’s been something of an unwritten rule since the days of… well, the days of the accessories on this list. You see, while most third-party companies focus on delivering controllers, colorful panels, keyboards and other such peripherals, others prefer taking the road less traveled. Historically, that road doesn’t really spell success. Let’s face it, most of the “innovative” accessories we’ve seen over the years weren’t all that groundbreaking, and those that managed to cross any sort of creative barrier came with some disastrous caveats.
While most people simply tossed their embarrassing glove-controllers and robot shaped chastity belts aside, we at Hardcore Gamer decided to take a Green Initiative and find some alternate uses for the worst accessories the gaming world has to offer. Well, kinda. With a combination of video game clairvoyance, the Taco Bell value menu, popular internet opinions and various eBay auction descriptions, we present to you our list of the six biggest, steamiest, piece of s*** gaming peripherals the video game industry has ever housed, and some nifty ways to use them today. In an effort to avoid bickering, they’re listed in no particular order.
6) Power Glove
In an attempt to make video games better, Nintendo played on every young boys dream: having a giant arm that controls stuff on the TV screen. I suspect that the market research money invested during the development of the Power Glove was used exclusively to fund the ad campaign — which was incredible. The Power Glove’s problems weren’t restricted to its awkwardly ginormous size, though. It was completely broken. True story: me and my friends would make outrageous bets about whether or not the Power Glove would work long enough to remind us that it sucked s*** as a controller.
The only redeeming quality of the Power Glove was its built-in friend-screening mechanism. If your friends didn’t abandon you immediately after finding out that you had — and played with — a Power Glove, they were probably true pals. Actually, there was one other thing that made the Power Glove worthy of existence, and it’s only the greatest film of all time. That’s right, I’m talking about The Wizard. Lucas Barton and all his glory shined like a diamond, and that 100 minute Nintendo commercial taught me more about life, love and friendship than my dad ever could. Although that could just be repressed depression seeping through my tough-guy exterior. Oh well, I’ll leave that problem for future Lee and his therapist.
What it can be used for today: You can pretend that it’s a Titan Arm, and try to lift weights that would normally crush you. Naturally, you’ll be crushed anyway, because if anything the Power Glove would make lifting those weights more difficult — and it would be well deserved for being an idiot, too. Another nifty thing you could do is walk around saying “come with me if you want to live” until someone gets the reference and tells you that you’re a dick because the Power Glove in no shape or form makes you look like the Terminator. Also, it can make for a nifty oven mitt, but that’s only if you can tolerate the smell of burning plastic.
5) Sega Activator
There’s this crazy notion floating around the industry that gamer’s want to exercise. I know, right? I’m not sure where it started, or who was first to spin such lies, but the only time you’ll see me performing calisthenics is when the empty Hot Pocket boxes are stacked too high for me to reach a bottle of Mountain Dew. The fact is, video games were never meant to be played standing up. Or with pants on, but that’s a different story altogether. Unfortunately, Sega disagreed. They didn’t believe that games should be restricted to the couch and, instead of being happy with their massive success at the time, decided to invest a bunch of money into the Activator; an octagon shaped, wondrous, faulty, awful, terrible piece of s***.
It was supposed to detect a player’s reactions so that they can better interact with games, but the only reaction mine ever detected was tearful anger. And a wasted allowance, but that’s more of retrospective observation. The Sega Activator wasn’t a good idea to begin with, but its poor execution and “never work with any game” formula didn’t make for a winning combo. Old rumors suggest that if you stand within its invisible infrared beams long enough you’ll become an even bigger moron.
What it can be used for today: Showcasing the wrong way to do motion controls. Although as far as I’m concerned, every motion control device can be used for that purpose, because motion controls are stupid. The Sega Activator is special in that it was actually an awful idea from the get-go. I mean, come on… what kid would rather trip over end tables and lamp posts with fidgety kicks and awkward punches than relax on a love seat with a pale of salsa and some old fashioned gaming? No kid, ever. Alternatively, it makes for an interesting centerpiece in which you can display your trophy for being stupid enough to buy a Sega Activator.
4) Wii Car Adapter
It’s not often that video games kill people. Sure, there are plenty of pompous evangelists spewing biblical balderdash and ridiculous statistics, but their facts are legitimate like the Gizmondo was successful (and legitimate): not at all. While it’s no Columbine high school massacre, the Wii Car Adapter is tragic nonetheless. Honestly, have you every tried navigating a vehicle with children’s arms swinging recklessly in the back seat? Probably not, because you’d be dead right now, and to my knowledge ghosts can’t use the internet.
I, for one, happen to be a survivor of such an incident. And it was a nightmare to say the least. Between the screaming and crying for help, the begging to be taken home, and the refusal to stop denting the trunk of my car with those ridiculous light-up sneakers… on second thought, there was no Wii Car Adapter there. Nonetheless, it’s clearly a dangerous device. Even in theory, enjoying a Wii in the car isn’t a smart idea. I mean, putting motion inside of motion can’t be a good thing, unless it involves Naturalamb’s and a case of Arbor Mist, that is.
What it can be used for today: Nothing, really. It’s entirely useless unless you’re planning a suicide-trip for the whole family and the kids are just dying to get a few minutes of Mario Galaxy in before saying goodnight. I suppose you could also use the cord for strangling someone to death, but why would you even consider that? You’re awful. I suppose it can also serve as a reminder of your deceased children after the inevitable collision — if you survive them, that is.
3) R.O.B The Robot
Robots are pretty cool. Robot butlers that can be controlled with a gamepad are even cooler. And as a kid, I didn’t believe that anything involving robots could be less interesting than a 12 hour lecture on the theory and history of Western European architecture. Well, R.O.B was. In fact, he was so boring that watching him sluggishly operate with one of the two terrible games produced for him drove 7 kids to suicide. I don’t know if that’s true, but if my parents weren’t too busy not buying me robots I could have tested it out for myself.
To R.O.B’s credit, he’s probably the reason many children took up reading as a hobby. Maybe that was Nintendo’s plan all along? I don’t know. What I do know is that he made for a terrible gaming peripheral and an even worse love companion. Don’t take my word for it, just look at his face. He knows that he’s the worst robot in the world. It also didn’t help that he was slower than an infant with congenital slothism.
What it can be used for today: A female repellent, girlfriend deterrent, an anti-getting laid mechanism, coitus obstruction, baby-making barrier. I got hundreds of these. The point is, with R.O.B on your shelf, the only dates you’ll have will be on a calender. Wait, that’s terrible. With R.O.B on your shelf, the only cookies you’ll be getting from the ladies are the ones you buy from a Girl Scout outside of your local supermarket where you go to buy a meal for one. I don’t even know what that means, but at least you helped fund a trip to Cheyenne natural springs or some other random naturey place.
2) Atari MindLink
Nothing is quite as badass as controlling stuff with your mind. Throughout history, every person with telekinetic abilities has been awesome. A few examples? Sure thing: Jean Grey, Doctor Strange, Professor X, and Uri Geller, just to name a few. Granted everyone on that list — with the exception of Professor X — isn’t real, but comic book characters are valid proof nonetheless. After all, the inspiration for these characters probably came from real people. It’s possible. Maybe. Honestly, the Atari MindLink is the only item on this list that could have been great assuming Atari actually had the technology to allow us to use our minds to play video games — you know, and not our eyebrows.
Thankfully, MindLink never entered production, because I don’t want to live in a world where that piece of s*** was used for anything other than Star Trek roleplaying. The problem with MindLink isn’t its awful performance, however. Atari wasn’t honest in their hype-campaign, and claimed that the device would read your moves via brain waves or some other jargon. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame them for bending the truth beyond recognition. Can you imagine having to advertise the Atari EyebrowLink?
What it can be used for today: Pretending to be Geordi La Forge with a lifted visor. Looking like a mental patient undergoing experimental brain therapy is another option, but Commander La Forge is cooler. Those are your only options, though. You could take things a step further and see if LeVar Burton would be willing to participate in your twisted roleplaying fantasies. He doesn’t really work much these days. How expensive can he be? Of course, you could always just use the MindLink as instructed — although that’s been known to be quite straining on both your eyebrows and the relationships with people that see you using it.
1) Game Boy Belt Buddy
Let’s play spot the nerd. Is it that tall, mysterious-looking guy with the gelled hair and the slick leather jacket that’s embroidered with a flame-spitting cobra, or that pasty kid with a Game Boy snapped to his belt? Here’s a hint: it’s not the first one. The only way to look like more of a loser is to wear a Pikachu costume — although in some circles that might actually get you laid… well, raped. I’m not sure what the market for this accessory was, because everyone I knew with a Game Boy was cool enough to know that the only thing you should clip to your belt is a beeper.
The real question is: what purpose did the Belt Buddy serve? I mean, the Game Boy was portable enough as it is. At school, you had your book-bag. At home, you had… well, various places to set a Game Boy. At work, you had your adulthood, and virtually everywhere else you probably didn’t need to be playing games. Seriously, where exactly were these kids traveling that they needed to have a Game Boy holstered like a pistol? It’s safe to say that this contraption was the fanny pack of video game accessories: unnecessary and a magnet for playground beatings.
What it can be used for today: Other than for getting your ass kicked? I can see it becoming sort of the modern Flavor Flav clock. Perhaps spark some wild west Game Boy duels, too. I figure, as long as you end every sentence with “pardner” you can probably get away with telling a kid that your Charizard will f*** his Blastoise up. If you really wanted to, you could actually use it to clip a Game Boy to your belt, but this is harmful for a few reasons: it’s more out of date than Apu’s milk, you’d essentially be regaining your virginity (although buying this leads me to believe you’ve had it all along), and who the hell wears belts?
Don’t stop now, there’s more reading to be done. Check out some of our other lists: Top Five Voice Actors in Gaming, The Midnight Society: Four Games That Will Make You Cry, Three Terrible Games to Play Instead of Celebrating Christmas, Five Pathetic Game Characters You Can’t Help But Like, and the Five Best Horror Games Released Before Resident Evil. Feel free to share your worst video game accessory stories in the comments below.