When I force-fed Laddie the idea of writing the column this month, I was hard-pressed to find something to write about that didn't involve Catholic Priests or jokes about Catholic Priests. Then I glanced over to the Power Glove that I tell people is my robotic hand when I go to the grocery store, and the thing was done... useless crap for video game consoles. A few more sprung to mind: the NES Power Pad, ROB the robot, and the voice box for the ancient Intellivision. I poured over a million porn websites before I remembered I was looking for video games, and came up with the top 5 most useless video game accessories ever.
"But Phil," I hear you say as you expelling chew tobacco into a well-placed spittoon, "nearly 3 of these are for the 8-bit Nintendo." and if you weren't an idiot, I'd remind you that the NES was one of the most popular systems of all time, having the most games released for it of anything except the original PlayStation, and single-handedly ending the Great Depression of gaming in the mid 80s. The choices weren't easy, and the fact that I own some of these makes it ever harder to deal with. But after a few weeks of rehab and therapy, I was finally able to be released back into society, and so will you!
(5) Samba De Amigo Maracas (Dreamcast)
At least with Samba De Amigo you knew what you were paying for. $40 for the game, and about $60 for a pair of electronic maracas that you'd use 5 times and stash in the attic next to the thousands of E.T. carts you found while you worked in that land fill in New Mexico. The fact that this game was made just goes to prove that Sega are really masterminds bent on world domination. You think the Saturn and the Dreamcast failed on accident? This crap is like the Hong Kong danger duo. It's destroying your mind from the inside.
(4) R.O.B. (Nintendo Entertainment System)
Robotic Operating Buddy (or Robbie the Robot as he was called around here), was a concept that I'm not sure made sense from the get-go. While peripherals like the Powerglove and Intellivoice had a vision behind them, ROB was just a weird little guy with two moving parts that made mechanical noises. I think when it came out, it cost about a hundred bucks separately, or was bundled with a NES for more than that. But you have to give Nintendo credit for knowing their audience. Most kids who could afford ROB didn't have real friends, so the big N made them a little pal to play games with. And if they did have friends, ROB was one sure-fire way to end that. Little Tommy invites the gang over to play his new Stack 'Em game with his new robot-pal ROB. The kids look on in horror as the little thing moves on its own power and burns little Tommy and his entire family like witches.
Witch burnings aside, of the two games released for R.O.B., one of them (Gyromite) was known to cause horrible brain hemorrhages in a small percentage of people.
(3) E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (Atari 2600)
I know, I know, this isn't a peripheral. But hear me out. E.T. was the biggest movie of all-time at one point, and it only made sense to turn it into a video game. These were the days before the Great Gaming Depression--so game history hadn't produced as many horrible movie to game translations as it has now. So when Atari got the license to Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, they thought it was money in the bank. Nothing could've been further from the truth. According to Atari's books, five million E.T. carts were produced in 1981, and according to then Atari CEO "nearly all of them came back."
When gaming scholars look back on the life of the Atari systems, most will point E.T. out as the one game that killed it. Atari had other bad games--but this game killed it. A confirmed urban legend suggests that nearly all of the five million copies of E.T. are now decomposing in a New Mexico Landfill. And if they ever get out, may god save us all.
(2) Intellivoice (Intellivision)
You don't need me to tell you that mankind and video games are natural enemies in the wild. Millions of video game controllers, and voice boxes worldwide have been victims in this horrible war. One thing that wasn't needed to heat the battle was video games screaming back at us. With speech technology, games could now call us names after kicking our butt in Space Invaders--or laugh at us as we played Custer's Last Stand. Luckily for the planet and everyone on it, at the time storage space was so little that you couldn't understand what the magic box attached to your television was yelling about. To conserve space and put as much audio as possible on games that didn't need it, Mattel set the bitrate to the lowest possible setting "at which they could be understood", often changing bitrate in mid-word. "Aukkk yoooo!" may be some kind of computer code, or war cry, but where I'm from it means "I'm retarded, please laugh at me."
(1) Powerglove (Nintendo Entertainment System)
The most useless peripheral is probably the most famous. Everyone who grew up in the 80s remembers staring longingly at the screen during the Wizard as the weird kid stutters "I love the Powerglove. It's so bad."
Regardless of its fame and fortune, there isn't a whole heck of a lot you can do with it. Once you set up the sensor things on your TV, calibrated them, found out of retardedly hard it was to hold your entire arm still that long, took it off and punched yourself in the face due to your idiotic nature, you've all but exhausted its possibilities. The fact that it takes longer to set up than to play through an entire game of Glove Ball should tell you just what a waste of a hundred bucks it was. Sure, some people have claimed it can be made into a cheap VR device for your computer, but these people also live in their parent's basement and listen to Flock of Seagulls. Yeah, you heard me. Flock of Seagulls.