Ninterview: The Power Of Glove Filmmakers Adam Ward, Andrew Austin And Paula Kosowski
Posted by Damien McFerran
"At the time it looked like the coolest thing humankind had ever produced"
We recently reported on The Power of Glove, a documentary about one of the most notable Nintendo accessories of all time: The Power Glove.
We got a chance to sit down and chat with the team behind the film — Adam Ward, Andrew Austin And Paula Kosowski — about their reasons for making it and why they feel the Power Glove is worthy of our attention two decades after it launched.
Nintendo Life: The Power Glove is an iconic piece of gaming hardware, but it was seen as a failure in purely technical terms. Why do you think it has become so legendary with today's gamers?
The main reason the Power Glove is so iconic is because of how its image and hype stood in such stark contrast with the actual outcome of the controller. Every kid growing up in the '80s remembers wanting a Power Glove because of how badass it looked on TV and in magazines. To realize that it didn't work as we imagined was such a bitter disappointment. It’s a great example of a childhood dream encountering a dose of reality, and that sort of thing really sticks with you. On the other hand, people never truly let go of their childhood dreams, so the Power Glove has become a nostalgic symbol for that sense of childhood optimism.
NL: When did you first encounter the Power Glove, and why did it have such an impact on you personally?
Like many kids, we all first saw the Power Glove when Lucas dramatically unveiled it in The Wizard. At the time, it looked like the coolest thing humankind had ever produced. All across America, it became a neighbourhood arms race to see who could be the first kid on the block to own one. Like many gamers, we later developed something of a nostalgic reverence for the Power Glove, but when we first toyed with the idea of doing this project, it was interesting to reflect on how little was actually known about the roots of the Power Glove — where it came from, the faces behind it, why it was disappointing, etc. We knew that we couldn’t be alone in our curiosity, so we felt like the Power Glove’s story really needed to be told.
NL: Was it hard tracking down the original designers of the Power Glove?
When we first started this project, it was definitely a challenge to track down the Power Glove’s creators, as we were constantly struck by the Internet’s lack of reliable information concerning the in-depth history of the Power Glove. For over 20 years, a lot of seemingly reputable sources have either been mistakenly attributing credit to the wrong departments, or they were omitting key players from the Power Glove’s history. However, once we were able to get a hold of a few of the creators, they were extremely helpful in getting us in contact with other creators. It’s been unfolding more and more from there, and as such the scope of our project keeps expanding.
NL: How much footage did you shoot for this project?
Right now, we’re sitting on hours and hours of footage, but there’s still a lot more that we’re planning to shoot. There are still some key developers and some really interesting modifiers whom we haven’t yet had time to interview, so we’re really looking forward to filling up many more hard-drives.
NL: What was the biggest challenge in creating this documentary?
As with any film, challenges can surface and change on a day-by-day basis. One of the biggest challenges we’re facing at the moment is having to decide which interview subjects best illuminate the complex story of the Power Glove. Because the Power Glove was a complicated technology-based toy, there were dozens of people who were instrumental in bringing the Power Glove from concept to reality. And on the other side of the fence, there are dozens of really talented Power Glove hackers, modifiers, and artists all across the world. While it’d be great to include each and every one of their stories in the film, it simply isn’t possible from a logistical standpoint. At the same time, we’re trying our hardest to be fair in telling the Power Glove’s story, and we still need some interviews with a few crucial players in order to do that.
NL: What was your proudest moment during production?
Our proudest moment was coming to the realization that the originators of the Power Glove were starting to trust us. We had always harboured the fear that the Power Glove’s creators were going to assume we only wanted to make another YouTube review aimed at the Power Glove’s shortcomings, when really we want to make a film that honestly and thoughtfully examines the Power Glove as a technological and cultural icon. We’re always trying to remain mindful of not becoming mired in the negative cultural bias that surrounds the Power Glove.
NL: Do you have any other video game-related projects you intend to work on after this is all finished?
We have a few ideas, but right now, all of our energy is dedicated to seeing The Power of Glove through to completion. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, so we’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign this September to ensure we have the resources to make this the best documentary it can be. The Power Glove deserves it, and so do its many dedicated fans.
Ninterviews are a series of interviews where we get to know interesting people with a passion for Nintendo. Please contact us if you have any suggestions for future Ninterviews. Click here to see the full series.