5 More Nintendo Controllers You've Never Heard Of
Last year I explored some of the more interesting and obscure controllers that various accessory makers had developed from the NES and SNES systems. That was a great time for peripherals because, well, everybody was completely insane and insane people do some wonderful things in addition to horrific ones.
I thought I had said all that needed to be said on the matter when I was able to work the phrase "Using the LaserScope meant that they were helpless as you drove them into the line of fire and ended their little pixilated lives with a cry of 'I am the God of Murder!'" into the article, but guess what? There are still lots and lots of strange Nintendo controllers just waiting to be showcased. So here we go!
Way ahead of its time was the Exertainment system that allowed you to pair your SNES with a Lifecycle 9XS to both exercise and participate in the onscreen action. The controls slipped onto the handlebars, and you could both interact with the game on screen as well as keep track of your distance, calories burned, etc. just like on a regular bike.
The accessory only worked with two specific games, Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally and Speed Racer, but it absolutely owned at how powerful it could make your gaming experience/exercise session. Want to have a picture in picture so you can watch both your fitness progress and the onscreen action at the same time? No problem. You even get encouragement on screen for your accomplishments as well as a headset and a special mode for those who are maybe very out of shape or just starting out. You know, like gamers.
These are still around, and usually sell for around $2,000 on eBay. Make sure all parts are included.
It's rightly well known that the Power Glove was for all intents and purposes one of the crappiest things ever foisted on us as far as controllers go, but Broderbund came up with a similar idea around the same time that makes the Power Glove look like NASA engineering. Introducing the U-Force, which is to gaming what Theremins are to Rachmaninoff.
Don't believe that admittedly awesome commercial up there. The U-Force did not by any means let you play the NES play in a way the Wii still hasn't entirely gotten right. Using it to go up against Mike Tyson in Punch-Out was about as effective as you going up against Mike Tyson in real life. The concept was there -- we're all using it now, in fact -- but the technology was nowhere near good enough to allow for great game play. Mostly there was just a lot of flailing around then crying. It was impossible to use effectively...
Or was it? Joe McKenna decided to prove the naysayers of the U-Force wrong after finding one for cheap at a Funcoland in the '90s. Since then, not only has he mastered playing with the U Force in a way that looks half like sorcery and half like a beautiful interpretative dance on some of the most difficult NES games of all time, but he's taken it to the next level by using it on emulated SNES and even N64 games. Maybe the U-Force didn't suck after all. Maybe everyone but Joe Mckenna sucked instead.