80s Toy Legend: The Nintendo Power Glove

The Nintendo Power Glove was a controller for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) released in 1989. In addition to two “handles” used to control an on-screen figure by pointing at items with your fingertips, the controller was composed of white plastic and contained several buttons. As described above, the glove included eight switches, each assigned to a distinct action, such as leap or duck. It also came with an analog joystick, letting users maneuver their characters around.

The Original Nintendo Power Glove For NES

During the 1980s, the Nintendo Power Glove became a popular controller for video games. Thanks to introducing two titles with unique features designed for use with the Power Glove: Super Glove Ball, a 3D puzzle labyrinth game, and Bad Street Brawler, a fighting game.

You could still play both games with a conventional NES controller, but they included maneuvers that could only be performed with the glove controller. Over time many games would be added that allowed you to use the Nintendo Power Glove, though the control on some were better than others.


Here’s a demonstration of the Nintendo Power Glove at work:

The forearm of the glove is equipped with the usual NES controller buttons, a program button, and buttons numbered 0-9. The user pressed the program and numbered buttons to enter instructions, such as adjusting the firing rate of the A and B buttons. In addition to using the controller, players could control a character on the screen by making different hand movements and/or moving your fingers.

The creators of these gloves thought that they could allow gamers to play without using standard game console controls, making gaming more entertaining and straightforward. The fact that these gloves interact wirelessly with your gaming console or PC made this notion so enticing.

While there are some benefits to utilizing these devices, such as that they are easy to use for those who may not be able to grip a controller, there are also some drawbacks. Mainly the glove was kind of clunky and at times not very easily to be controlled.

The marketing effort for this equipment, rather than the technology itself, helped it become popular. A glove that would enable us to reach out and touch our video games without having to touch a controller or take our eyes off of the screen captured our hearts in an age before the internet.

The Nintendo Power Glove was further made popular as it was used in the movie “The Wizard” (1989) and featured in the scene below:

The original Power Glove is a prime example of a product ahead of its time. It was created to function with the Nintendo Entertainment System and gave gamers a fully immersive gaming experience, which later would pioneer and set the path forward to the Nintendo Wii. This technology really was ahead of its time, and looking back now you could see how this primitive glove (though revolutionary at the time) would change the world of gaming forever.

The Nintendo Power Glove is much more than a novelty device for usage with Nintendo consoles. While not the first gadget to try to transform your arm into a joystick, it is perhaps the most well-known. Additionally, even though it has been out of production for a lengthy period, this technical relic has a growing community of enthusiasts committed to recreating the experience on modern platforms.

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