Evolution of the Console Controller – Power Glove (1989)

Nintendo’s Power Glove was a bold step toward motion gaming that ultimately failed due to being inaccurate, tiring to use, and having little game support. It was featured as a central element in the movie The Wizard (1989), though the movie is often seen as thinly veiled marketing for the controller akin to using Saturday morning cartoons to sell action figures. The line, “I love the Power Glove. It’s so bad,” became an ironic commentary on the Glove’s useability.

The Power Glove requires the player to set up three microphones around the television screen. While in use, the Power Glove emits a high frequency sound that these microphones, but not human ears, can detect. Using triangulation, the system can calculate the glove’s yaw and roll in real time. Furthermore, the player can perform in game actions by clenching his or her fingers. By moving the glove up, down, left, and right the player can input standard D-Pad controls for games that are not specially written for the Power Glove.

Two games, Super Glove Ball (1990) and Bad Street Brawler (original release 1987, NES 1989) were given Power Glove specific features, though the controller was usable with any NES game that used the standard controller.

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Gift of Ben Wilhelm, 2012.025.014