The Power Glove

The Power Glove

Welcome to another edition of Retro Rewind. This week we’re talking about the Power Glove. The NES accessory is arguably more infamous than famous given its reputation for  lackluster play control. But at the same time it was easily featured quite prominently in the 1989 cult-classic The Wizard. So what’s the real story? Was it really that bad? Or was it actually a good product? Well like most things in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

If you’ve never used the Power Glove (it was officially licensed, but Nintendo didn’t make it. It was made by Abrams/Gentile Entertainment (AGE) & Mattel), basically the concept was to utilize a somewhat more primitive form of motion controls to play your NES games. Unfortunately it generally was viewed as more of a cool gadget than a functional controller. Only two games were ever released that had special Power Glove only features, Super Glove Ball & Bad Street Brawler. Though you could use the device with other games through its built-in keypad. The codes you entered basically remapped the existing controls for a game to functions of the Power Glove. It also featured a full NES controller in addition to the keypad.

The Power Glove was a good idea, just executed poorly. According to the Wikipedia page, it was “based on the patented technology of the VPL Dataglove…The Dataglove can detect yaw, pitch and roll, uses fiberoptic sensors to detect finger flexure, and has a resolution of 256 positions (8 bits) per finger for four fingers, the Power Glove can only detect roll, and uses sensors coated with conductive ink yielding a resolution of four positions (2 bits) per finger for four fingers.”

Basically this meant that the Power Glove had far less functionality than the technology was capable of. This was likely done as a cost-saving measure. The Power Glove originally retailed for $75 which would be nearly $150 in today’s money. Had they used the full features of the Dataglove, the price may have been double what it was, or perhaps even more. This obviously would’ve put it out of reach for most families.

As for actual gameplay, you were far more likely to crash your car or fall into a pit than have any success at playing games with the Power Glove. This is far different from what is seen in The Wizard for eample, where Lucas is able to easily win a race in Rad Racer without crashing once.

It’s kind of sad to look back on and think about what could’ve been. In retrospect the Power Glove was ahead of its time in a lot of ways. The Wii Remote itself wasn’t even true one-to-one motion when first released, and that was over 20 years later. But hey at least we have videos like the ones below to enjoy for all of their cheesiness and so bad it’s good quality.

If for some reason you’d like to purchase the Power Glove for yourself, you can find them on Amazon or eBay at these links.

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Source: Wikipediamacjoshy, ingpanda101

Image: Player Attack

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