Over the years there have been all sorts of strange retro game accessories pushed on us gamers. Everything from weirdly shaped controllers to barely functional peripherals claiming to be cutting edge. And no matter how ridiculous it was, you can be sure we wanted it. This compulsion of gamers has to lead to the industry releasing all sorts of truly weird products onto the market. Some of which were clearly nothing more than money grabs, but others were actually intended for our enjoyment. Either way, gamers from all over the world were more than happy to spend their parent’s money on them.
10 Strange Retro Game Accessories
#10 – ASG Video Jukebox
The Video Jukebox, lovingly nicknamed VJ by collectors, is an unreleased accessory for the Sega Mega Drive. This cool device would have allowed the user to plugin up to six Mega Drive games and instantly switch between them. While this may seem normal nowadays it was extremely innovative. Another amazing feature of the Video Jukebox was its ability to be connected to up to 6 additional Video Jukeboxes. Allowing for a total of 36 games to be played without the need to switch cases. Sadly the Video Jukebox was never released and kids had to continue to get up and walk over to the system to switch games. Bummer.
#9 – Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller
The Chainsaw Controller is something that works great on the shelf, but horribly as a gaming controller. It was released in 2005 as a special item to accompany the release of Resident Evil 4. The cumbersome gaming accessory comes in two colors, yellow for the Gamecube and red for the Playstation. Aside from its large size, what makes this controller ridiculous is the horrible button placement. The L and R buttons are stupidly placed on the handles and the Z button is even harder to press being hidden underneath the controller’s face groove. While the Chainsaw Controller is something to look at, you wouldn’t want to use it during serious gaming sessions.
#8 – Gameboy Printer
The Game Boy Printer is a weird Gameboy accessory released by Nintendo in 1998. Made to be used in conjunction with the Gameboy Camera, the device was innovative but overall useless. The cheap thermal printer looks bad even for its time and was never worth the time it took to get it working. Limited by the technology of the time, the prints always looked pixelated to the point of being unrecognizable. To make things worse, because of its late release it only worked with a handful of late-generation Gameboy games. So if you did not have the Gameboy Camera it was nothing for than a paperweight.
#7 – R.O.B.
The idea of having a robot to play games with when your friends weren’t allowed over is incredible. Not to mention that R.O.B was released all the way back in 1985. The problem with Nintendo’s Robotic Operating Buddy that it only worked with two games. Two games that no one was really interested in either. Because of this R.O.B was discontinued only a couple of years after being in production.
#6 – Sega Activator
The Sega Activator is another piece of hardware that was years before its time. Unfortunately, this forward-thinking was held back by the technology of the time creating one of the stupidest accessory available. The octagon-shaped ring was to placed on the floor in front of the TV. It allowed you to press various buttons by waving your arms or legs over specific sides of the octagon. Marketed mainly for fighting games, the Sega Activator was faulty at best leaving you with crushed expectations. Despite this, the Sega Activator was the first full-body motion controller and will go down in history.
#5 – The Atari Mindlink
The Atari Mindlink is another one of the strange retro game accessories listed to be unreleased. Intended to be a controller for the Atari 2600, this ESP mimicking device had countless problems. The primary of which being that it caused frequent headaches amongst its users. Before pulling the plug, Atari developed three games for use with the controller that have also never been released. Years later, several other companies including the popular Mindflex ending up using the technology with great success.
#4 – Game Boy Camera
The Game Boy Camera is a strange retro game accessory created for the Game Boy game console in 1998. The GBC could shoot grayscale photographs which would then be edited on the GBC. Gamers could also transfer the photo to the Nintendo 64 via the 64DD to be edited within the game suite Mario Artist. You could also print the photos using the Game Boy Printer if you were lucky enough to own both. The camera also had a 180-degree swivel camera, making it the first device many people to selfies on. While the pictures the camera took weren’t good quality, it was a fun accessory for the time.
#3 – Kinect Game Boat
The Kinect Game Boat is another pointless accessory developed for a single game that no one really wanted to play. To push the new Xbox Kinect Microsoft thought it was a good idea to release this monstrosity. The Game Boat was quickly recognized by the public as a cheap money-grabbing gimmick. There have been tons of stupid retro gaming accessories over the years, but this one really missed the mark. Something that’s hard to do when you are literally the size of a boat.
#2 – Aura Interactor
The Aura Interactor was a wearable haptic suit developed by Aura Systems for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Sega CD. The problem with the Aura Interactor is that the technology did not really exist for the idea. The force-feedback addon would convert bass sound waves into vibrations meant to represent the in-game actions. If a game wasn’t programmed and designed to be used with the suit it wouldn’t work properly. A bigger problem is that in the end, only three games ended up being designed to be used with it. It should also be pointed out that many children, myself included, thought the force feed-back was too forceful.
#1 – Nintendo Speedboard
I wish there was anything positive I could say about the Nintendo Speedboard. Unfortunately, this hunk of plastic had almost no function aside from holding your controller. It was supposedly designed to allow you to play games with the tips of your fingers instead of your thumbs. Nintendo claimed this device would allow for fasting pressing of the buttons and more control in the game. The problem is that in all my years of gaming, I have never seen someone play a game this way. In theory, this setup would be appealing to arcade gamers but the lack of joystick made gameplay extremely cumbersome. The release of the Tubro controller made the Nintendo Speedboard even more pointless with its ability to auto press buttons.
Did you own any of the strange retro game accessories discussed? Do you know about something that should be on the list, but isn’t? If so, let us know in the comment section. We are looking forward to hearing about it.