Nintendo Power Glove

The Year was 1989. Back To The Future was Back (Part II) and some Japanese kid got his hands on the first commercially released Game Boy. But two Mattel guys wanted to make things better. Boy did they go wrong.

Please Note: Power Glove not guarenteed to make you look cool. Often times you'll just look silly.

Just The Facts

  1. The Power Glove was released in 1989.
  2. Even though it was made by Mattel, Nintendo endorsed it. They had no say in the production.
  3. Because of Nintendo having no say in a product, it flopped, fell into a hole, burst into flames and died. The sales weren't much better off.

What It Was Supposed To Be

"The Power Glove. You plug it in like any joystick. But the similarity stops there. Because now you don't Just guide the action. You're IN the action!"

Basically, in 1989, this is a big deal. Now, instead of just sitting there with a controller in your hands, you can BE the controller! That's right, you control the moves, because YOUR the joystick AND buttons!

I am your God.

Wanna punch Mike Tyson in Mike Tyson's Punch Out? Now you can! Wanna drive a car at 250 mph without even having a driver's license? That can be achieved only through the Power Glove! (Or your imagination, but who uses that anymore, right?)

And wait! That's just the beginning! Now, for the first time in forever...you can enter a new dimension. That's right, my friends. Ahead of you, with Power Glove strapped on and ambition ready to fire, you can enter...THE THIRD DIMENSION! Because, starting in 1990, with games made specifically for the Power Glove (So buy one so you can play them. There's no other way), you can do more than just more up, down, left and right! Now, you can move...pause for effect...with DEPTH.

Now go! Strap on your Power Gloves and get ready for the agming experience of your life.

And remember: With the Power Glove...

EVERYTHING ELSE BECOMES CHILD'S PLAY.

The Reality Of The Power Glove...

For those of you who already know what this is, how it works, and have used one, I'll save you reading the next few paragraphs of detailed information: It SUCKED! For the rest of you, this is what the Power Glove REALLY was.

BACKGROUND

Back in the 1980's, Grant Goddard and Sam Davis of Abrams Gentile Entertainment (AGE) developed the 'revolutionary' Power Glove. They later released the rights of production to Mattel (Producer for the U.S.) and PAX (Japan Producers). It was released in the U.S. and Japan in 1989, going on to sell 100,000 units in the United States, estimating at a total of $88 Million in gross sales. You want the summed up version? It was a financial and commercial flop.

One of the many useful, and often used, features of the Power Glove: Flipping the Bird.

Thank you Angry Video Game Nerd, for showing us that.

The Nintendo Entertainment System, most known for bringing about such icons and Mario (Super Mario Bros., 1985), Link (The Legend of Zelda, 1986), and Megaman (Mega Man, 1987), has a library of nearly 800 games, to the best of my knowledge, and not including Third Party and Unlicensed Games. The Power Glove only had two, making it the console (if you might call it that, since that's kind of what was advertised) with the least number of games in history.

McDonalds had more...

THE GAMES

The Two games released for the Power Glove were part of a series known as the "Power Glove Gaming Series." It was supposed to have more games, but they sucked so bad that no one wanted to play them. In fact, here's some screens from both games!

The first game released was Super Glove Ball, which, when push comes to shove, was a multi-walled room version of Brick Attack. You grabbed a ball and tossed it into the room, hitting the color blacks that cover each of the walls. The objective is to avoid the little green bug things that attack you, use the occasional power up, and clear the screen of the colored blocks. Simple, right?

Well, the controls were a bit funky, and the ball wouldn't always go where you wanted it to. Sometimes, you'd spend hours trying to clear one level, because you have one little square left and five of the green bugs attacking you at the same time. It always made me want to throw something at the wall, but since I didn't have the controller in my hand, I settled for throwing a water balloon at a cat across the street.

The second and final game that was released for the 'Power Glove Series' was Bad Street Brawler, a simple, side scrolling beat-em-up that was very limited in the moves area. You basically kick, punch and, as demonstrated in the image above, shove your man boobs into the faces of gorillas, dwarf looking old ladies who throw purses, blind men and the occasional Dog, the least rediculous enemy you find in this game.

The controls were basically just a few button commands, as every other game. It had limited use of the Power Glove itself, and wasn't really that good a game to begin with. With only three real moves to use, the game got repetative after two minutes. It was boring to watch, but more boring to play. I don't even think a stoned guy would play this and think it was entertaining.

At least Charlie found something better to do than watch Mike play Bad Street Brawler.

The one thing that really gets me about these two games? They were supposed to be exclusive to the Power Glove, as in no NES controller capability. Guess what? You could use the NES controller in BOTH games. And, as seen in the commercial and in other aspects of the Power Glove itself, it was compatible with a large number of games already on the market, meaning it had one possibly useful feature!

That's right. You can still play these games (why you would want to is beyond me) without the Power Glove. And the kicker? In one of the original advertisements for the Power Glove that was placed in magazines, they clearly stated the following:

"...Starting in the summer of 1990, software designed for the Power Glove adds the Third dimension..."

So...what happened? Well, for everything, they needed a basis for the controller on the Power Glove itself. And what was the only thing they had to go off of?

Exactly. When you use the main controller for the basis of the new controller, odds are the old ones still gonna work. And if it didn't, they wouldn't have had the proper programming knowledge to figure out something that would take another 20+ years to develop.

Exactly...again.

POP CULTURE

"Oh shit," you've probably just thought. Yes, the Power Glove infultrated our minds through, sadly, the magic of Movies. But thankfully, only two are really worth mentioning, if there are even any more than that.

The Wizard

The Wizard is the tale of a young man who enters a Super Mario Bros 3 tournament. Simple enough to understand. It also about how he gets there. At one point during his 'quest' to get to the tournament, he meets this guy:

I smell a rivalry...

...Who has his own Power Glove...He shows off his skills to them with the game Rad Racer, an actually fairly decent racing game for the system. He makes the entire Power Glove thing look like it gives you fucking telekenesis.

Overall ,the reviews were everywhere for this movie. Some liked it, others didn't. The one thing that many of the reviews have in common, however, is the statement that "This movie just seems like an advertisement for so many games and products that Nintendo is releaseing." Which, really, is all this damn movie was.

You got a problem with that?

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

No, you're not hallucinating, so stop looking around for a stoner. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare is pretty much the same as every other damned Freddy movie: He kills you in your dreams and you die. But what's so special about this one? Is it the fact that this finally the end of Freddy? No. Do people actually think of something smart to do in order to avoid him? No. Are there lot's of topless scenes?...maybe, but that's not what this is about. It's about this:

Yes. Freddy made his killer, kick-ass claws into a fucking Power Glove. He uses this and a joystick to kill a kid who falls asleep from drinking too much. But if you want laugh your ass off at how rediculous it looks, just check out the video under Updates.

All in all, we were promised a lot of things with the Power Glove, things that we never really got to see. Sure, it gave us a reason to think we were cool, but did it really make us feel like that?

Yeah...didn't think so.

But, for those of you who stuck around until the end, I have a special treat. Here it is:

OH MY GOD! IT'S A GIRL?!?!?

What we have today

The Power Glove was promised to a new age of stay at home gamers as 'a way to break away from controls.' It succeed in the fact that it allowed for a new way of gamepla,y but the overall application and marketing of it made it flop in the end. It DID however, bring about a few good things.

1. Nintendo Releases the Wii Console in 2006

If you haven't heard of Nintendo's powerhouse console by now, you're either a hermit, were just or recently born, or are blind and deaf. Nintendo's master system was their first actual success with motion control, because not only did they watch the production this time, but they hyped the shit out of it.

Back when the Power Glove was released, they were mostly limited to a few TV ads, magazine articles and ads, and one or two other ways of communication. In this century, they had Internet, TV, Radio, Magazine Ads, Newspaper Ads, and a plethera of other ways to advertise. This not only helped to bring about a new wave of gaming the Sony and Microsoft have just been able to compete with (Move and Kinect, respectively) but it got people off their couches and interacting with one another, as opposed to sitting down at a computer or on the couch with as controller, pile of pizza boxes, and enough Mountain Dew to choke a horse.

Biggest Competition? Blizzard and Funions.

2. Culture Icon

You could scower the Internet for days and find very little praise for this accessory. It has been bashed so much, the car image that follows this paragraph would look like a Ferrari fresh out of production in comparison. It has given us all something to look back on, 'learn from our mistakes,' if you will.

Told You.

The bottom line is that this was a good idea, it's just that the technology wasn't ready back them for their dreams to be realized. If they had been born about 5 or 10 years later, and had the same idea in the same part of their life, maybe. But not in 1989.

3. Wide future for gaming

A recent statistic I looked at states that something, somewhere is advancing every ten seconds. It could be as small as a light socket, or as big as a Blackhole Generator...which by all accounts would be awesome!

Gaming is no different. In twenty years, we go from this:

To the modern marvels of gaming that we have today, such as this:

Halo: Reach

I could go on about how this has been a benefit, but odds are, any image I put up wil be trumped with in a few seconds.

Conclusion

The Nintendo Power Glove was a well thought out piece of hardware just ahead of it's time. It promised "New, exciting ways to play," but fell short due to the technology at hand. In today's world, this would be considered just another accessory. However you look at it, this piece of hardware, knocked for years, is one of the many defining factors in gaming history, no matter how badly things went for it.

Brothers, through and through.