Rumble packs, VR helmets, Power Gloves, Duck Hunt gun – the list of video game extras is long, but the list of good ones is pretty short.
The history of videogame peripherals is often seen as a tale of caution for future developers. Very few company have long-term success with their gadgets or experience enhancers. The most successful exception in recent history would be the Guitar Hero franchise – they milked that toy guitar for untold millions.
You could spend hours reading about the failures of things like 3rd party controllers or major additions like the numerous gaming chairs that made it seem like they were selling virtual reality simulators. Let’s take a look back at a couple of the most high-profiled peripheral failures in gaming history.
The DK Bongo Set
Here was one example of many peripherals that tried to capture the success of the Guitar Hero craze, providing unique music experiences in the form of videogames. The Donkey Konga game promised music and old-school throwbacks to the original Donkey Kong Country series that stole the hearts of many on the SNES. Unfortunately, the Bongos were a bust and the two games that were made with the Bongos in-mind were virtually unplayable.
This thing screamed ‘hardcore’ and so did the price tag. At a whopping $200, you were basically investing a console’s worth into one game. The packaging certainly looked expensive, boasting almost as many buttons as some keyboards, it seemed pretty official for mech-heads. Unfortunately, the game had major problems and glitches that wiped out save data, caused freezes, and other problems associated with weak gameplay. It wasn’t a game that deserved the time and money that it demanded, even from the hardcore fans of the genre. This peripheral managed to trump the Virtual Boy in-terms of wasted investment and false advertising.
The Power Glove
This is the iconic symbol of the 90’s movie The Wizard, it’s also the only reason why it even sold any units at all, because the thing is virtually useless for any game you tried it on. What the Power Glove was a useless fashion statement for nerds and kids with wild imaginations. In a way, it probably didn’t matter much for those who could afford the Power Glove, it turned kids into a Tron superhero with videogame powers. If only it actually could be calibrated to work with your TV screen, it probably would have been the equivalent of having a Wiimote in the 90’s.