Weird Nintendo Accessories We'll Never Forget
The Nintendo Switch is an amazing console. Every time I pick it up, I have an instant grin on my face, and the new games coming along are just gonna continue my bad smiling habit, at least until the 3 hour battery life ends.
Luckily enough the Switch also has planned accessories to help any physical shortcomings it may have. The one I’m most interested in is from a successful Indiegogo campaign called the SwitchCharge.
The SwitchCharge promises 12+ hours of battery life, an improved kickstand, and 2 extra game slots to keep your games and console together. This third party accessory is amazing and would go to improve most of the gripes people have with the console.
One wonders why Nintendo, who have such a reputation for weird peripherals, hadn’t thought about this before?
Nintendo’s first accessories that come to mind were peripherals that came with a prototype console that never came to see the light of day. Dubbed the “Advanced Video System”, the console is now on display at the Nintendo World Store in New York City for the public and preceded the “Nintendo Entertainment System” by a few years. The console included a tape deck, light gun, and a joystick controller.
But these accessories were nothing compared to the oddities we’d get later on. Lets take a look back and some of the more... stranger accessories:
Robotic Operating Buddy (R.O.B.)
Credit: NES Wiki
Okay we’re starting off strong here. As a last ditch effort to try and sell the NES during the video game crash of the early 80's, the Robotic Operating Buddy, known popularly as R.O.B., was meant to sell the console as a toy rather than a video game system. As a “toy”, R.O.B. came packaged with the first wave of NES systems; the idea being that R.O.B. would plug into the second player’s port and act as a second player for kids. R.O.B. was slow, clunky to use, and all in all not fun to us. Luckily for players of the future, the NES was just a fun console by itself and didn’t need the sorry excuse for a friend that R.O.B. pretended to be (sorry).
The Power Glove
Credit: The Verge
Remember the Wii? Remember how excited we all were for the promise of being able to control our video games with our hand motions? To really feel like the heroes we dreamed of. Well, Nintendo executives also had those dreams, almost 20 years before the Wii actually. The Power Glove promised to give us ultimate control of our favorite video games. By plugging in a game specific code, the power glove would relay finger motions to three receivers on your television screen and relay them to the console as button inputs. Too bad the sensors never stayed on the screen, because then you’d realize how unresponsive the glove was and how you had spent 75 dollars on what is essentially an oven mitt with an NES controller glued onto it.
The Nintendo E-Reader
Credit: Gamer Noize
I never understood the fascination with trading cards, but hey, I had an entire binder full of first wave Pokémon cards. Trading cards were everywhere in 2000, and Nintendo decided to capitalize on this fact by releasing the e-reader for the Game Boy Advanced. By plugging into the Game Boy Advanced’s game cartridge slot, the e-reader added a card scanner that could be used with special e-reader cards. By swiping a card with a compatible video game, the e-reader would unlock special items, levels or mini games into the game not unlike “Amiibo” does now with the Wii U, 3DS, and Switch consoles, just a whole lot better. The e-reader looked like a tumor poking out of your Game Boy Advanced and the game list was limited, and the cards were made of cardboard, so if they got wet, bent, or drawn on, you were out of luck, saying goodbye to your investment.
Guitar Hero Grip for DS Lite
Okay this thing was badass. The promise of this add-on was to take the almost sad feeling of playing Guitar Hero alone in your parent’s basement to a virtual audience of imaginary people, [thus inflating your sense of importance to unbelievable levels], and take that whole experience with you everywhere. Kids were seen on every street corner of 2008 jamming away on these things. The grip controller worked for all 3 Guitar Hero DS games and even came with a special guitar pick stylus that everyone I knew eventually lost.
Wii Vitality Sensor
Okay this one might be cheating on my part admittedly. The Nintendo Wii Vitality Sensor was cancelled late into its development. Announced at E3 2009, the Vitality Sensor was an accessory that would pinch onto your finger, plug into your Wii Remote and relay your heartbeat to the Wii console. The idea in concept was to have your body’s heartbeat affect the game you were playing; maybe in a horror game you’d have to calm yourself down to calm some ghosts. In 2013 it was announced by Satoru Iwata to investors that the Vitality Sensor had issues working for every single play tester, and so the technology was scrapped until future technology would make the device more reliable.
I have only scratched the surface of weird Nintendo accessories. There are thousands of different controller variations for each console Nintendo has announced, such as the DK Bongo Controller for the gamecube, or how about the GameBoy camera/printer?
Did I leave out any weird accessories that should be on this list? How about a planned Nintendo Switch accessory that rivals anything that has ever come out? If you’ve got something to share, let me know in the comments.