Accessories! I love them. You love them. Your parents and grandparents especially love them. I'm serious with that last bit. Even though you painstakingly make out a birthday, or Christmas list with varying options for prices big and large, there always seem to be an extra thrown in for good measure. It's as if your family gets great joy in trolling you. Let's look at my family. It never happened on my birthday, but it always does for Christmas. For example, last year my sister in law bought me a PS4 controller charger. While I thought it and accessories like it are a waste of money, I will admit I've gotten a lot of use out of it. I just wouldn't buy it on my own.
Another Christmas my mom thought it would be cute to buy me a gamer chair. No, not like the one being advertised today, which are just computer chairs with ungodly colors. No, this was essentially a wedge that sat on the floor. It was incredibly uncomfortable, but I humored my mom because she looked so pleased with herself. Was she trolling me like I hypothesized earlier? Maybe yes and maybe no. The point is there's a reason why companies make so many bad accessories. They're not for gamers. No, they're for your loved ones who think these are the things you want. They are sort of like last minute shopping ideas. There are plenty of useful accessories too, don't get me wrong, but most of these are downright abominations.
30 Shouldn’t Exist: Sega Genesis 32X Adapter
Sega certainly bungled a lot of its consoles past the Sega Genesis. For example, to compete with upcoming 3D games, they designed this 32X add-on for the Sega Genesis. Here's the thing though. They already had a new dedicated system for 3D games, the Sega Saturn. Here's where it gets even weirder. They were released the same year together in 1994. Needless to say it wasn't supported for long and has a laughable amount of games released for it before getting hastily discontinued.
29 Shouldn’t Exist: SNES Super 8 Adapter
The Super 8 was an unlicensed peripheral designed to plug into your Super Nintendo. It also went by several different names depending on your region such as the Tri-Star. Now if you were able to get ahold of one of these rarities you could play NES, Famicom, and SNES games. The results varied. Sometimes the accessory worked and other times it didn't. You're telling me an unlicensed product snuck through Nintendo's watchful eye and didn't work? Get out of here.
28 Actually Useful: Dance Dance Revolution Pad
Sure, go ahead and laugh. Dance Dance Revolution may be a silly concept for some, but I was absolutely in love with it. I didn't buy into the series until the PS2 generation, but I did play with my friend's PS1.
Dance dance, we're falling apart to halftime.
It's a pretty simple concept. Arrows flash up on screen, you stomp your foot to the rhythm, and get points. It's fun for parties and just a good way to lose weight.
27 Shouldn’t Exist: Sega Genesis SG ProgramPad SV-437
I know the Sega Genesis SG ProgramPad SV-437 is a crazy long name for a controller and it's equally just as insane to set up. So the idea was to let players program set algorithms into the controller in order to cheat at games. These hyper controllers were a dime and dozen and barely worked, but this is the only one that I know that had a tiny screen built into it. That's a cool gimmick beyond the other ones on the market, but it was still crappy.
26 Shouldn’t Exist: N64 Madcatz Controller
Ha, and I thought the normal Nintendo 64 controller was a nightmare. Compared to this one designed by Madcatz, it was a lovely dream. Now during this time period, Madcatz made a name for itself in two regards. Controllers designed by the console creators like Nintendo were expensive so these were a cheap alternative. That said, they were also cheaply made and either didn't work at all, or broke easily. Looking at this one, well, I guarantee it couldn't work past a day.
25 Actually Useful: Game Genie
Video games were brutally difficult in the 8-bit and 16-bit generations. One of the reasons was because games were typically pretty short so in order to keep them from getting sold off, developers turned up the challenge. That's one reason at least.
You gotta git gud.
There were three solutions for troubled gamers at this time. Calling helplines would cost Ma and Pa an insane amount of money. Two, buying hyper controllers like that Sega piece of junk. Finally, the Game Genie, which was like a godsend. There was no better way to win.
24 Shouldn’t Exist: Sega Activator
I had absolutely no idea the Sega Activator existed. Can you tell what this thing does from the box art up above? I bet you can't. Would you believe this ring would plug into your Sega Genesis and allow you to play fighting games with your body? That's what it was designed for at least. If you thought the Wii was problematic then this thing would make you scream. Based on stuff I caught on YouTube, yeah, it looks ridiculous.
23 Shouldn’t Exist: Game Boy Pocket Sonar
Let's get away from consoles for a second and explore the wild and whacky world of portable peripherals. The Game Boy Pocket Sonar was a setup you could plug into your system and detect fish in real life. It even had a little mini-game to pass the time. Now sure, this was a cheap alternative to buying a real fishing sonar system, but who would want to buy it anyway? Do you think a kid would want to pass time with this, or something like Pokémon? The answer is obvious.
22 Actually Useful: Genesis Power Base Converter
The Super 8 was a disaster. I already said that. However, there were plugin accessories at this time that did work. Let's look at the Sega Genesis Power Base Converter.
Welcome to the Sega master race.
This little add-on allowed players to break out their Sega Master System games. If you had to sell that console in order to upgrade, this was a great solution for those still itching to keep their Sega Master System games around. What a neat idea!
21 Shouldn’t Exist: Super Nintendo Capcom Pad Soldier Controller
Here's a Nintendo controller guaranteed to make that hyper Sega one trivial in its name. Ahem, presenting the Super Nintendo Capcom Pad Soldier Controller. It may be hard to see through the wrapper, but the controller is essentially a control stick you hold with your left hand and your right can presumably be used to hit the buttons. It's an attempt at a more ergo dynamic controller for the home that wants to emulate arcade units. Unfortunately, this was not a good effort.
20 Shouldn’t Exist: N64 12-Game Drawer
Talk about an unnecessary piece of hardware. Hey, look kids. If you're hard up on finding a place to fit twelve tiny cartridges then you have bigger problems. A normal plastic tote, or tub would work just as well and those are only like $5-10 max. How much would this hunk of junk set you back in the day? No idea. Right now you can find used ones online between $30-50. I bet they were at least that much, if not more originally. Point is they are overpriced.
19 Actually Useful: PocketStation
The Dreamcast's VMU memory cards were a pretty cool idea. They slotted into your controller and acted like a second screen sometimes. You could even play mini-games on them for certain games like taking care of your Chao garden from Sonic Adventure.
Sony had an answer to that for the PS1 called the PocketStation. Who came up with this tech first? That's not important. What I will note is that this was exclusive to Japan. Too bad. It's a gimmick sure, but it looked fun.
18 Shouldn’t Exist: NES LaserScope
The NES was full of bad ideas like R.O.B. the Robot. That said, it and this are so bad that they are must-haves. I want them to show off to friends. I'm a collector of the absurd. I never knew the LaserScope even existed. Doesn't that model look thrilled to use it? According to non-biased reviews and reports on the contraption, it seemed to work half of the half of the time. That is to say, not at all.
17 Shouldn’t Exist: Reality Quest Glove
Did no one learn from the Power Glove? Was humankind so hungry to use a glove as a controller in this time period? I don't know why that was a fad, but it was. The Reality Quest Glove works not just for the N64, but the PS1 as well. I should put "work" in quotes I guess since, again, these bright ideas rarely operated like they were supposed to. And if they did work, well, it wouldn't be for long.
16 Actually Useful: SNES Dust Covers
It's been debunked now, but back in the day, it was common to blow both your game cartridges and your game consoles. I don't know how it got started, but whoever did it made it spread like wildfire.
Turns out your spit probably corroded the pins inside. There was a way to prevent dust however in the form of these little plastic covers that fit over SNES games. Those are mine up above. Aren't they beautiful?
15 Shouldn’t Exist: Game Boy Nyko Hip Clip
I sadly never owned an original Game Boy. I jumped on the Game Boy train with the Pocket edition when Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue came out. That fit snugly in your pants. The original did not as it was comically huge. What was the solution? These snazzy hip clips. Sure they worked, but it also looked ridiculous. Plus they weren't foolproof. A friend had one and it always caused the Game Boy to fall off at some point. Thankfully it never broke the system itself.
14 Shouldn’t Exist: Panther Light Gun
Whoa there gunslinger. Is that a toy, or is that a real gun? Obviously, there's a cord attached so no one can get confused, but smart kids could chop that off and retool the thing to make it look even more real. I could get into the gun issue in the U.S. to help my point, but I wouldn't want to touch that thing with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole! My point is it looks too real. It's dumb and there is no need for it on your Sega Saturn or PS1.
13 Actually Useful: N64 Expansion Pak
The N64 expansion pak was a great idea on Nintendo's part. PCs were releasing add-ons to this effect for certain games for years. It was a cheap way to beef up the system's power. Better yet it came with games that required it.
Now you're playing with power!
Donkey Kong 64 is a great example. Sure it made that game ridiculously expensive, but most games were back then. Oh, you thought $60 is bad today? Try upwards of $80 on the regular back then.
12 Shouldn’t Exist: NES Roll 'N Rocker
Move over Wii Fit pad because there's a new star in town. By new, I mean like two decades before the Wii sensation, but who's counting? The Roll 'n Rocker was a third-party peripheral for the NES. You stand in the middle and can move in any direction, but here's the catch. There are no buttons. How can you play games without A and B buttons? It seems like an obvious flaw, but I guess the titles designed around it didn't really need them. Fun...
11 Shouldn’t Exist: SNES Super Scope
Light gun games are great and all, but they shouldn't look so horrifying. What's the point in creating a giant plastic gun, when all you need is a small light inside the machine? It doesn't make any sense. That replica pistol I mentioned earlier shouldn't exist for obvious reasons, but neither should this. Can we not just have a simple, small, toy gun? I don't understand why it has to look like a bazooka. Who are we pretending to blow away?
10 Actually Useful: Super Game Boy
I was blown, and I mean blown away by the concept of the Super Game Boy. You're telling me I can play games like Pokémon Blue on my SNES? That's awesome! The graphics even looked good too, which you wouldn't think.
Conquering Kanto on the big screen.
That is to say, blowing up pixels can sometimes be distracting, but because the Super Game Boy used borders and didn't fill up the whole TV, most everything looked great. This trend continued with a GBA player for the GameCube. Where was the DS, or 3DS player on Wii?
9 Shouldn’t Exist: Sega Genesis Menacer Gun
In an attempt to make an even bigger gun than Nintendo's Super Scope, Sega made this Menacer Gun. I mean it's right there in the name. This thing is more menacing. At least the bazooka was more ergo dynamic. How do you even hold this thing? There's way more plastic on it than it needs. I wonder how much the light sensor and triggers cost compared to the whole unit. The 90s was all about making things look realistic as possible for boys. I get it. I was young once, but looking back now makes this and others seem silly.
8 Shouldn’t Exist: Aura Interactor
It wasn't enough that players felt like they were holding real weapons or playing games with graphics that looked lifelike. No, they needed to feel the impact. The Aura Interactor was a vest you could strap on that would rumble every time you got hit. Of course, it was aimed at kids so it wasn't going to truly rock you, but it worked nonetheless. Others have popped up since and I just don't know why. I like shooters, but I do not want to know how it feels to get shot. Who does?
7 Actually Useful: Super Famicom Satellaview
In Japan, their Super Nintendo, or Super Famicom, had a dock called the Satellaview. It was a way to play games online and you could download them as well. There were Japanese exclusives sequels to Excitebike, F-Zero, and even The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Playing SNES games via satellite.
Some of these games, like Zelda, were actually broadcasted live with a real band and announcers telling a story. It was innovative for its time. Can we ever do that again?
6 Shouldn’t Exist: Madcatz N64 Rumble Rod Fishing Controller
Madcatz is back for yet another whacky N64 peripheral. To their credit, all fishing rod accessories from this point on and before, were all garbage. There is simply no reason to make one when a controller will suffice. Imagine if companies made peripherals for other sports. What would it be like to play baseball with a bat controller, or tennis with a racket controller? Sounds silly and impossible right? Well did you know those actually exist on Wii? The Wii has so many terrible accessories...
5 Shouldn’t Exist: Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style Controller
What am I supposed to do with this controller? Whip it around and pretend I'm Batman. That's what it looks like, a Batarang, except instead of a bat it's a W to represent the Wu-Tang clan. I haven't found any videos yet, but I bet someone has used this for throwing practice. It's ridiculous, but pretty cool at the same time just like the game. Should you track either of these products down? Of course not. They're not good, but as I said earlier, I love collecting the absurd.
4 Actually Useful: Game Boy Camera
Yes, I agree with you already. The Game Boy Camera has not aged well. However, this came out when digital cameras and mini-printers were either not a thing, or were incredibly expensive. A normal camera with film was even pricey.
Wario, say cheese!
This was the closest a child could get to own a camera. While it looks blocky now, it was innovative and fun for its time. I fondly remember bus rides where my friends and I passed this thing around. What a time to be a kid.
3 Shouldn’t Exist: Sony Glasstron
First of all, can I just say wow? I knew Nintendo has experimented with 3D and VR on and off for years, but I never knew Sony did. The Sony Glasstron was a little-known product, made available to the public, which could be used on your PS1. We've come a long way since this early 3D and VR era. While it may look cool, reading up on it proved to be a hilarious journey. Again, I feel like I have to track one of these down.
2 Shouldn’t Exist: Super Nintendo Acclaim Dual Turbo Wireless Controllers
Acclaim: Now there's a name I haven't heard in a while. They were a publisher and developer on scale with Activision and EA today. I expected the company to be gone since I haven't seen the name pop up for ages, but I decided to Google it just to be sure. Yep, they started in 1987 and went under in 2004. It was a good run, but making peripherals like this controller is probably one of the reasons why it went down. That's just a theory.
1 Actually Useful: N64 Hori Pad Mini Controller
I'm all in favor of an N64 mini, but there's one thing that I wouldn't want with it. The controller. The Nintendo original is bad and so are the third-party ones like the Madcatz monstrosity. However, I didn't know Japan had a solution.
Great things come in small sizes.
Hori is a pretty awesome controller and accessory developer that specializes in making arcade sticks. When they do make normal controllers, they excel as well. Look how much better their N64 controller is on the right. Why didn't the West get these?