The Power Glove

Ah, the Power Glove. It may have sold a million units but it has become something of a joke among Nintendo gamers; a product which arguably looked much better than it played.

The device was supposed to immerse players like no other controller, but the reality was rather less appealing; the glove was a pain to set up, had only a handful of exclusive games and is perhaps best known for its appearance in the 1989 Hollywood movie The Wizard, where one character calls it 'so bad'.

Despite all of this, it's still one of the coolest looking video game accessories of all time, and that has no doubt contributed to its continued popularity. The story behind the glove is equally fascinating, and the guys over at Nerd News Today have managed to sit down with Marty Abrams, one of the co-founders of AGE (Abrams/Gentile Entertainment), the company which cooked up the original concept for the glove.

Abrams explains how the Power Glove was originally part of a much larger Virtual Reality project developed with toy giant Hasbro, and that the whole venture became so complex that AGE simply pulled out the glove element and sold it to Mattel, which then developed the Power Glove for the NES. It's important to note that Nintendo itself was not involved in the process.

We literally were working very closely with Hasbro and we had developed in 1989… an idea to create a virtual reality headhunted display video gaming system where you could literally get in, put on the display, put your head in the cap, get all these great games and ride through space. We needed something to manipulate objects in a 3D space besides a joystick.

So we found literally at the MIT design clinic a patent that they could turn around and put on a glove, that they could manipulate objects in a 3D space.

We licensed that tech from them and we built this entire system, and we were about to go to the marketplace with Hasbro. And at that time, it just grew and grew and became unruly in terms of going out and doing it, so we just pulled the glove out of it to work with Nintendo systems.

The Power Glove's legacy may not be an entirely positive one, but Abrams thinks the device was perhaps a case of 'right controller, wrong era':

It was pretty cooly designed, for that time - we're talking 30, 35 years ago, it still looks cool. It was way, way, way ahead of its time.

If you're interested in learning more about the development of the Power Glove, then you could do a lot worse than check out this superb video by The Gaming Historian: