Any tech that appears today, you can be sure to find a string of accessories to accompany it. The most obvious example being the smartphone with its never-ending plethora of accessories.
Some useful, others… Well, not so much. The gaming industry is one rife with accessories, but you’ll be surprised — those that seemed like a good idea back then, really aren’t. Who knows, you could even be guilty of owning a few of these. I know I am.
Nintendo Game Boy Accessories
At the start of the ’90s, Nintendo gave the world its first truly portable gaming device — the Game Boy. As the only one of its kind back then, it had the user base to support the crazy number of accessories that eventually came with it.
Some were functional, like the two-player (or four-player) link cable. At least with that, you were allowed to trade Pokémon or race against others in Mario Kart. Others, like the infamous low-resolution camera, magnifying glass, battery pack and printer were just bizarre. The printer only worked with a small list of games and the camera attachment. That, by the way, only has a 128×128 resolution. What’re you going to do? Print out pixelated selfies?
Still, at its time, Nintendo was pushing the envelope of its gaming tech and challenged the way we thought of the Game Boy. This philosophy lives on with the Nintendo Switch as well, what with products like Labo and its cardboard creations — are they innovation or just marketing gimmick?
Nintendo Wii Accessories
I think we’re onto something here with Nintendo, and this time it’s the Wii. Released in 2009, it was an insanely popular console but had no good third-party games, and worst of all, was the reason for a long list of absurd accessories. It’s such a long list that it probably deserves a blog post on its own, but here are my top three.
1. Wii Wings
If it didn’t benefit you game-play wise, what good is a decorative piece of accessory? One of the most useless accessories has got to be the Wii Wings. It was targeted at fans of the Wii Fit Plus’ Bird’s-Eye Bulls-Eye. A mini-game where you flap your arms to fly your chicken onto targets to score points. According to a website, the Wii Wings will “help you to truly experience what it’s like to be a bird” and “take your flying experience to another level.” Instructions include: slide your fingers into the finger slots, secure your wrist strap and flap your wings and fly. It had no gameplay function other than to make you look more of a fool than you did before buying it.
2. Wii Knockout Boxing Gloves
In the same category as the Wings was the Wii Knockout Boxing Gloves. Looks professional, not very functional. Once the Wiimotes were inserted into the glove’s pouches, there was no way you could pause or start a new game. You had to remove the controller to use it, just like any normal person would do.
3. Wii Sports Accessories
Wiimotes aren’t made to be thrown around, so why do all three accessories make me want to? Technically you could throw ’em, but say goodbye to both your expensive TV and your controllers. With how popular the Wii was with kids, I’m pretty sure some households learnt very expensive lessons.
PS2/GameCube Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller
I admit, even if it was totally useless, I’ll probably still buy one. It was released in 2005 as a promotional gaming peripheral for Resident Evil 4. Though not ergonomic at all, how cool does it look as a collector’s item on your shelf?
“No more cold hands while gaming!” says its website. It claims to “improve your reaction time by 8-10%” and even PCGamer says the future of gaming lies in warm hands. All these praises for a desktop heater that someone decided to conveniently throw the word “gaming” in front? Wow. But hold up, that’s just being entrepreneurial, isn’t it. At professional tournaments, you’ll see lots of e-sports players using hand warmers and it’s not just because of the cold, but to keep the blood flowing as well. So, Envavo may be onto something here.
Available online now at USD179. Click here for more info.
Nintendo Switch Hands-Free Stand
When you need to Nintendo Switch, harder. pic.twitter.com/IR5aEYDh9B
— Jake Kazdal (@Jkooza) January 2, 2018
Look Ma, no hands! On second thought, don’t look Ma, it’s embarrassing! It’s basically a sling that goes around your neck and lets you use your Nintendo Switch (or media devices) without a table. Maybe you could use it at home but I recommend closing the blinds first. I have to admit, it does seem quite useful if you needed to watch Netflix on your iPad while lying on your bed.
It’s basically a voice-activated light gun that required you to first lock your doors, draw your curtains before putting it on. Precautions are necessary to prevent getting your butt whooped the next day at recess. Marketed as a hands-free controller where you need only shout “fire!” to squeeze off a virtual round, it worked… all the time. Only because users complained that the sensitive microphone was unable to differentiate the command “fire” and every other ambient sound it picked up where it was used.
Released in 1984, the Mindlink seemed way ahead of its time but unfortunately, it wasn’t officially released. It was supposed to read your thoughts, which then translates into some form of action on-screen. In actual fact, it only read the movement of your eyebrows and forehead muscles using infrared sensors. Imagine rotating all the tetrominos (yes, that’s what they’re called!) in Tetris by contorting your facial muscles. Must be great for keeping your facial skin supple and young.