Video games are great for how simple theyare. It's just you, a controller, and an infinite number of new worlds to explore. Sometimes, companies think they have the next great thing to enhance how you play these games. Some end up being successful, but most just sit in the back of our closets after using them a few times.
1) R.O.B. The Robot (NES)
Released alongside the original Nintendo Entertainment System, R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) was meant to make the system appeal more to families. While very inventive in his design (he scans infrared signals with his eyes and uses a disc to press buttons on a controller), he ultimately only worked with 2 games.
2) Aura Interactor
This accessory was supposed to plug into your Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis and vibrate along with the impact of getting hit in games. Ultimately it just made a lot of noise and broke very easily, and for $180, that's kind of terrible.
3) Sega Activator (Genesis)
Before Microsoft was trying (and failing) to make everyone part of their games with the Kinect, Sega had the Activator, which generated an infrared field that you could break to simulate button presses. It was advertised for fighting games, but ultimately didn't really work for anything.
4) Roll & Rocker (NES)
Supposedly letting your body replace the D-pad for moving in NES games, the Rock & Roller was ultimately pointless for two reasons. 1) You still had to hold the controller, and 2) It didn't work properly at all. Notice something of a pattern here?
5) Donkey Konga Drums (Gamecube)
While ultimately only used for two music games and an action game, the Donkey Konga drums were actually a lot of fun. You hit the drums in time to music beats, or clapped, which would be picked up by the controller's built-in microphone. Definitely silly, but still lots of fun.
6) Steel Battalion Controller (Xbox)
This massive, 40-button controller was included with the mech-simulator game Steel Battalion and cost as much as the system it was played on. Between the buttons, two sticks, and foot pedals, the game really went the extra distance to make you feel like you were actually driving a giant walking tank. Impractical, but totally awesome
7) Fragmaster (PC)
A gaming steering wheel company decided to get in on making controllers for first-person shooters, and the result was this toilet seat-looking monstrosity. Can you imagine playing Counter-Strike with this? I sure can't.
Click to the next page for even more weird gaming accessories.
8) Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller (Gamecube/PS2)
Released as a promotional item for Resident Evil 4, this controller was expensive and completely impractical for playing the game (or any game) with. Looked REALLY cool on our shelves though.
9) Namco NeGcon (PS1)
This was an interesting one. Designed with Namco's Ridge Racer series in mind, you actually twisted the controller forwards and backwards to steer your car. Unfortunately, the controller was made of super flimsy material and was prone to breaking, and the fact that it had fewer buttons than a regular PS1 controller meant it was useless for most other games.
10) Powerglove (NES)
Made infamous thanks to its advertising (especially in the movie The Wizard), the Powerglove was supposed to be the beginning of motion controls that Nintendo would later perfect with the Wii. Unfortunately, moving your hand to make Mario jump rarely worked properly, and let's face it, you looked stupid wearing the thing.
11) Power Pad (NES)
Another device supposedly to make you use your body as a controller, the Power Pad was ultimately only useful for a few games. Even then, you were really better off just using the controller.
12) REZ Trance Vibrator (PS2)
Made exclusively for trippy wireframe shooter REZ, this was a device you plugged into the PS2 while playing the game. It... vibrated to the music... and had a waterproof cover... ew...
13) Sega Fishing Controller (Dreamcast)
Back when Sega was really determined to bring the arcade experience to your home, they released this along with a few arcade fishing games on the Dreamcast. Surprisingly, this actually worked quite well, and made Sega Bass Fishing a hell of a lot of fun to play!
14) Game Boy Camera and Printer
This-one two punch of a weird device really showed how much Nintendo liked to experiment. The Game Boy Camera let you take pictures and edit them with all sorts of weird effects (you could even make super creepy animations), while the printer let you make stickers out of them!
15) Konami LaserScope (NES)
This monstrosity let you attack things in games with your voice by yelling "FIRE!" (or anything at all really, it wasn't sophisticated enough to tell what you were saying). It even advertised that you could use it as headphones for your Walkman. Because that wouldn't look ridiculous at all.