Gaming accessories come in all shapes and sizes. Many offer a new way to play games, others refine standard features and some just look great.
From cutting edge controllers through to huge leaps in motion technology. Over the years there have been some fantastic developments in controller technology which have really added to the gaming experience. Then there have been others which, well really didn’t.
Buggy technology, terrible design, and ideas that make you wonder how on earth they got approved. Terrible peripherals have been around just as long as the great ones. When we look back, some of these are simply a case of technology not quite catching up to expectations, while others are just plain bad. From horrible ideas, through bad designs and via things which just didn’t function, some gaming accessories would have been better left in the box.
Not all accessories are memorable for their features or failures, however, some set records for their expense. These shiny trinkets are often less about experience and more about appearance. Custom designs with intricate detail or priceless gems mean some accessories can leave you poorer than the Steam sales.
So get ready to whip up some nostalgia and save up those cents as we explore 20 of the worst video game accessories ever and 10 which are worth a fortune.
30 Worst: Novint Falcon For PC
The Novint Falcon is a USB haptic device designed to replace the mouse. It has removable handles and comes with a pistol grip or ball grip.
The idea is that you grip it and can move it in all directions, including up and down, while its sensors keep track of your movements. With the addition of haptic feedback, it’s supposed to help you feel more connected to the game.
Although it may make play more accessible for some gamers, most people have avoided this bizarre contraption. One reviewer from 10 years ago insists it’s the “next big thing” but for me it just looks like a desk lamp mated with something it wasn’t meant to.
29 Worst: Gametrak For PC And PlayStation 2
The Gametrak came out in 2000. It features a set of gloves attaches to elastic leads which connect them to a base unit on the floor. This unit is a USB compatible weighted device which has to be positioned in front of the TV or monitor. It also has a foot pedal. The leads help the device pinpoint the players' movements and translate them into the game.
It supports the titles Real World Golf and Black Wind.
Players found it confusing and limiting and sales were low. Over the following years, the device was refined and a version 2 was released. This didn't really fare any better. A wireless version saw an eventual limited released back in early 2007 and has since faded into obscurity.
28 Expensive: Shawish Mushroom USB Stick Worth $36,000
This 32GB USB stick was made by Shawish Geneve and is part of an exclusive range of insanely expensive flash drives.
The Magic Mushroom USB stick collection is said to be inspired by the classic novel Alice in Wonderland. The mushroom-shaped jewel encrusted drives start from $16,500 and each one is covered with a variety of precious gems.
Created from a blend of white gold, yellow gold, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and white diamonds those shiny USB sticks may be the most expensive in the world.
27 Worst: Solar Powered Game Cartridge For Game Boy Advance
Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand is an action-adventure role-playing game released in 2003. The game is unique in that its cartridge contains a photometric light sensor which measures light exposure.
As part of the game's storyline you must take your GBA outside and allow the cartridge to be exposed to the sun. This charges your characters weapons in the game.
Although the system works, the failings are obvious. What if you want to play at night? What if you can’t easily get outside all the time? Presumably, these flaws are why this technology is not widespread.
26 Worst: Thrustmaster Fragmaster For PC
This quirky Thrustmaster controller is peak 90’s in every way possible. It was designed to be used with first-person shooter games on the PC.
Players suggested the controllers looks were comparable to a space-age toilet seat.
It didn’t fare any better in terms of usability either. Reviews suggest it is incredibly uncomfortable to hold, made your hands go numb and is generally a terrible gaming experience. Ironically it has a mode called “MegaHurts mode.” Since it lived up this name it faded quickly out of favor.
25 Expensive: Datamancer Seafarer Keyboard Worth $1,650
The Seafarer keyboard is an ornate nautical themed mechanical keyboard with brass components. Behind the typewriter style keys is a gold foil map print, drawn by historical cartographer Peter Schenk the Elder.
The top and bottom edges reflect the design of a rolled up map, as if the entire keyboard is a gigantic scroll.
It’s a Cherry MX blue mechanical USB keyboard and works on Windows, Linux, and Mac. They are still available to buy on Datamancer’s website.
24 Worst: Car Adapter For Wii
In general, I’m a huge fan of car adapters. Especially if you are camping or staying in a hotel, then being able to game on the go is fantastic. However, when it comes to the Wii there is definitely a flaw in the plan. The console has built itself entirely around the concept of being an interactive experience.
Fantastic exercise, but how on earth are you supposed to manage it in a car?
I’m just imagining sibling rivalry being taken up a notch as kids try to compete on Wii Sports while you’re driving down the highway. Definitely not one to be recommended if you value your life and your sanity.
23 Worst: Sega Activator For Genesis
The Sega Activator was released in 1993 and is a full-body motion-sensing controller. It looks like a giant octagonal ring and plugged into a controller port on the Genesis.
Although adverts suggested all your movements would translate directly into game, in a similar manner to today’s Kinect controllers, the reality was different. You had to make specific movements that corresponded to buttons on a regular controller, making sure you broke the infrared beams around the unit's edges.
Lack of support for combination moves, the requirement of an extra power supply and restrictive gameplay meant this quirky controller quietly faded away.
22 Expensive: MWE Emperor Workstation Worth $50,000
MWE are manufacturers of bespoke workstations for a variety of uses. They include simulation and training, medical and aeronautics. You can also build custom solutions for a home office or even a gaming rig.
The Emperor 200 is an early solution that was touted as a fantastic option for gamers.
It features a temperature adjustable leather recliner chair in a self-contained unit. In front, you are 3 LCD monitors. A PC or console fits next to you and a laptop table for your keyboard, mouse, controllers or snacks is in front. You also get integrated lighting and sound, ensuring you can truly immerse yourself in your gaming experience. There's even a HEPA air purifier.
21 Worst: Powerglove For Nintendo Entertainment System
No list of terrible accessories would be complete without the Power Glove for the NES.
It features traditional NES controller buttons as well as program and numeric buttons. Users can press the program button and numbers to input commands and customize some features. You can also use hand motions to control actions on the screen.
Only two games were released for it; Super Glove Ball, a puzzle maze game, and Bad Street Brawler, a beat ‘em up. It was heavily criticized for being imprecise and difficult to use. After just 12 months it was discontinued.
20 Worst: Kinect Game Boat for Xbox 360
The Playon Game Boat is marketed as a perfect add-on for Kinect Adventures, which contains a game mode that involves controlling a raft. The boat's features include: being red, inflatable and having player 1 and player 2 printed on the base.
It does nothing but sit on the floor being a small inflatable boat.
One particularly scathing review suggests the plastic smell is horrific and the boat itself actually impedes your game as you cannot move properly while you are in it. I don’t even want to know how you are supposed to fit 2 players inside.
19 Expensive: Datamancer Telegraph Mouse Worth $1,000
The Datamancer website is a hive of ornate and unique PC peripherals and its most expensive mouse is no exception.
This unique mouse is based on the electrical telegraph key, a switching device used to send Morse Code over the telegraph system. It was designed by Richard Nagy and features brass and oak components. The style is very steampunk-esqe and has a leather palm rest and vintage brass arms for the buttons.
Although it is listed currently it displays as out of stock.
18 Worst: Alphagrip AG 5 For PC
The Alphagrip was designed to be a replacement for your traditional keyboard and mouse. Aiming to combine all the keys found on a keyboard with a trackball mouse, all in one controller.
Unlike some other quirky controllers, this was not designed specifically for playing certain games but it does claim to be great for gaming as well.
With a whopping 42 buttons scattered in seemingly random places on the device, you can see that this has a steep learning curve. Understandably most people couldn’t be bothered attempting to relearn how to type on a chunky controller and its mostly faded into obscurity, bar a few converts.
17 Worst: Steel Battalion Controller For Xbox
Steel Battalion was intended to bring realism to the mech-simulator genre. The game involved you taking control of a virtual tank through the use of a complicated 40 button tank controller and a foot pedal that shipped with it.
Your completion of the game depended entirely on mastering the complicated control mechanism.
The tank booted by through a series of switches and buttons, which needed to be pressed in a specific order. You were also required to monitor and control your tanks heat levels. If you failed to press enough buttons in precisely the correct order to keep on top of them the tank shut down. Worst still if you got hit too often and your tank was destroyed then your profile and game progress was deleted from the game’s roster. Harsh.
16 Expensive: VRX Racing Simulator Mach IV Worth $24,999
VRX are simulator manufacturers. They offer a huge range of simulators for a variety of different purposes. The VR Mach VI is a racing simulator that includes just about everything you could think of.
Features include 3 LCD screens, a Microsoft steering wheel, Bose surround sound and 4 X-Box 360’s. I’m not entirely sure why you need 4 consoles but who am I to argue? Since it even includes a mini fridge I think we can safely say they think of everything.
There are likely some more updated models available now but VRX don’t want to tell me the prices, probably because they know I can’t afford it. Still, we can all dream!
15 Worst: Camera And Printer For Game Boy
These days Nintendo has mastered the technology of integrating cameras into their handheld devices. Back in 1998, however, it was a different story when the Game Boy camera was released.
The camera was a clunky add-on by today’s standards, although at the time it was officially declared the world’s smallest camera by the Guinness Book of Records.
It featured a camera that captured black and white photos in a glorious 128 x 112 resolution and printed them off onto what looked like a cash register’s receipt roll. Faded, blurry and smudgy images were the name of the terrible game. Technology has come a long way.
14 Worst: Joyboard For Atari 2600
The Atari Joyboard was an early forerunner of the balance board technology seen utilized in the Wii. It was released in 1982 when the technology really wasn’t good enough to make it function properly.
It came with one official game, Mogul Maniac, a slalom skiing game.
You were supposed to lean in different directions to mimic movements which translated to screen. In reality, it was a buggy nightmare, shelved before additional titles could be officially released. A second title, Off Your Rocker, had a short run through a company called Pleasant Valley Video while the third, Surf’s Up was never released at all.
13 Expensive: Premium Resident Evil 6 Premium Edition Worth $1,299
This premium edition of Resident Evil 6 was released in 2012 as a limited run. It contains a copy of the game, 4 tablet cases, 3 DLC maps, some stickers and a replica of Leon’s leather jacket.
The jacket is described as an authentic recreation and has a DSO logo, 8 pockets and Leon’s name tag on the inside.
The print run is finished on this version of the game but you can find versions of the jacket online as well as other items from the set.
12 Worst: U-Force For Nintendo Entertainment System
The U-Force is a motion-controlled peripheral released back in the late 1980’s. It was designed to read hand and arm movements and translate them into controls.
It looks like a gigantic Battleship game or old school Nintendo DS.
It comprised 2 screens which used infrared technology to track players gestures and movements. Or at least it was supposed to. In reality, it very rarely worked and for something so expensive that was totally unacceptable. The U-Force was nothing more than a pricey paperweight.
11 Worst: TV Tuner for Game Gear
Back in 1990, the Sega Game Gear was a force to be reckoned with. Coming off the success of the Genesis, it featured a backlit full-color screen and was Sega’s first venture into the portable gaming market.
The TV Tuner accessory was designed to fit into the systems cartridge slot and allow users to tune into TV channels on the go using its portable antenna.
The problem was the accessory was expensive, clunky and quickly drained an already fragile 3-5 hour battery life, making it only really sustainable for those who plugged in the device.
10 Expensive MJ Luxury VIP Mouse Worth $34,480
MJ Art Studio specializes in luxury keyboards and computer accessories. They have a wide range of expensive, handmade and custom designed mice which feature leather, fur, wood, stone, ivory, and diamonds. Some of them also come with matching USB flash drives.
This particular mouse is covered with Swarovski crystals.
It’s an MJ mouse Diamond Luxury edition with inlaid Swarovski Strass or Real Diamonds. The possibilities for custom designed insanely expensive mice are endless and you can browse some of the possibilities here.
9 Worst: Power Pad For Nintendo Entertainment System
The Power Pad was also known as the Family Trainer and Family Fun Fitness. It was a floor mat based controller originally released in 1986 – 1988. It was bundled with a game called Athletic World.
The game was later revamped and relaunched under various names in different territories. A game titled Dance Aerobics was also released. Japanese players got a couple of extra titles but overall very little was released that supported the controller.
It looked like a Twister mat and apparently made it very easy for players to cheat in games. The technology would later be better utilized in the Dance Mat controllers of the 90’s.
8 Worst: Video Jukebox VJ For Sega Genesis
Marketed as a Video Jukebox, or VJ for short, this clunky system allowed you to plug 6 game cartridges into it and then press a button to select the one you wanted. The mammoth device appears to be almost 4 times bigger than the console.
Retailing at $49.99 this idea was deemed useless as well as far too huge and expensive.
So much so that Sega never did officially release it. Images and marketing pictures still exist however as the original idea was to produce solutions for multiple consoles. This one was a lucky escape.
7 Expensive: Optimus Popularis Gaming Keyboard Worth $2,068
The Optimus Popularis keyboard by Russian design studio Art Lebedev is a work of design genius. Every single button is fully customizable and its tiny 48x48 pixel display on every key can show a tiny static or animated image.
Think of it as a gigantic Streamdeck.
This unique design feature means that it can be programmed in any way you can imagine. You could program it to type in multiple languages using different symbols or characters.
Few units were produced and the price reflects both this and the technology used. It is now discontinued.
6 Worst: Guitar Hero Microphone For PlayStation 2
The Guitar Hero series has been around since 2005. Initially, the rhythm game focused entirely on guitar controller-based gameplay. In time they expanded into other instruments which included drums and a microphone.
The microphone is definitely the low point of the line-up. It was so confusing to set up that there are online tutorials telling you how to connect both microphone and controller in exactly the right way. Once this mystical combination was executed you were rewarded with a mic that did nothing but recognize you were making noise. There are zero reports of this adding anything worthwhile to your gameplay experience.
5 Worst: Wii Sports Pack For Wii
The Wii sports packs were marketed as an add-on for your controller to make your sports gaming experience more realistic. They have everything. A tennis racket, baseball bat, golf club, ping pong bats and a host of things I can’t even identify.
There are a huge number of these sports kits around and each one is as bad as the next.
At best they add on a clunky piece of plastic to your controller to unbalance it slightly and annoy you as you play the game. At worst they block the sensor making the controller entirely unable to function. No redeeming features have been found.
4 Expensive: F1 Simulator With 160-inch Curved Monitor Worth $114,000
Norman Design are specialists in big screens. Most of their products are huge advertising monitors or portable LCD screens. Then there’s this beast.
The monitor itself comprises a series of rear mounted projectors seamlessly blended together and powered by a gaming PC running special software.
This 160-inch wraparound display is usually sold as part of an F1 racing simulator package but can also be purchased separately. The package includes a motion capable seat, sound system and steering wheel set up and commands a hefty price.
3 Worst: Microsoft Side Winder Dual Strike For PC
The Side Winder Dual Strike was conceived as an alternative to the keyboard and mouse for playing first-person shooters. It had preset button combinations for some popular games and a weird twisty ball joint in the middle.
It was touted as an amazing solution to gaming problems you didn’t know you had and the future of playing FPS games on the PC. The reality was it was none of those things. Its size was deemed too clunky for many and the buttons were difficult to master. Although the controller was customizable, it just didn’t do its job and faded into obscurity.
2 Worst: Guitar Hero Grip For Nintendo DS
Probably my most controversial choice, this handheld tiny guitar accessory came with the Guitar Hero: On Tour series of games for the Nintendo DS and many gamers loved it. The accessory had a strap to hold your DS in place and 4 buttons, reminiscent of the guitar controller from other titles in the series.
The problem I have with it is that it is just impractical and frankly lame to play.
You’re balancing your expensive DS via a tiny velcro strap, while also trying to read the small screen and press all the buttons. That’s multitasking at a level I just can’t deal with. I’m not alone either as many other players also passed on this spin-off of the Guitar Hero series.
1 Expensive: Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Worth $4,240
The Happy Hacking Keyboard is a small minimalist keyboard made by PFU Limited. It includes a minimalistic 60 key design and no numeric keypad. It features an old and simple layout and strips everything down to basics.
There are a range of different versions of the keyboard, including the professional edition which features entirely blank keys.
This insanely expensive limited edition version was produced to celebrate the keyboards 10th anniversary. It was coated in Wajima lacquer and sprinkled with gold leaf dust and was declared the most expensive computer keyboard ever produced by Guinness World Records.