The Nintendo Entertainment System. For many, it was the first video game system they had, or it took their current one at the time and blew it away. Games like Legend of Zelda, Duck Hunt, Punch Out (with either Mike Tyson or Mr. Dream) and the Super Mario series were the It thing back in the day. However, there were more than just the games for sale, but sometimes the gadgets that went with it. Whether they were produced by Nintendo or not, gamers ate up these gadgets with gusto in the attempt to be the coolest kid in school. While some of them lived on in history, some just never quite caught on. So here are 4 add-ons to the Nintendo System we had back in the day.
It may not look like much to today’s crowd, but this souped-up controller was a big deal back in the day. While the regular controllers had an A and B button and a directional pad, this monster had an arcade-style joystick, two turbo dials, a “slow” button and the usual A and B, Start and Select. Since this was an actual Nintendo product it was EVERYWHERE, as it played big into the Nintendo culture with commercials and cameos into anything Nintendo including the cartoon Captain N: The Game Master and even an appearance in Ghostbusters II. Even some of the games themselves required you to use an Advantage (Skate or Die did on some of its levels). Besides the controller and zapper that was included with most of the NES systems, this is one of the most identified add-ons to the original system.
This one is nearly the exact opposite of the previous entry. The U-Force was a controlled made for the Nintendo by a company called Brøderbund in the late 80’s and into the 90’s. It was like a small laptop but it was just two sensors that translated your hand movements into controller signals. Think like the Wii controllers that came along decades later, without actually holding anything. The thing was, I NEVER saw these around and have never seen one in real life. I never saw the commercials for it, and only know of its existence from old print ads in a bunch of the pro wrestling magazines in that era. It was also one of the most expensive things advertised as many of those ads listed these upgraded motion controllers at over 80 or 90 dollars. A little much for a mere controller.
If there is one thing that screams original Nintendo add-ons, this is it. Its first introduction was in the Nintendo fueled movie The Wizard starring Fred Savage in 1989. The power glove got a big scene with the villainous Lucus and us kids watching at the time had to have them. Truth be told these things came with a lot of clunky sensors and were really hard to operate as every game had to be treated differently with different codes and buttons to push and even if you did get it right, it was a bear to master and get the movements right. But it made you look amazing to all your friends, even if you kept losing the game.
This thing was magic. Produced by Galoob it was a third party added on that you actually attached the game to interfere with the signals from the game to the systems, letting you have all kinds of effects and cheats. It came with a huge codebook to get the desired effects you wanted from the games (if you were lucky things like “Infinite Lives” were involved) and if you were really inventive you could even look for your own effects by just going in randomly and seeing what a certain code you created would do. They made Genies for almost every system of the day but faded out when the games switched away from cartridges to ROM based games. But the Genies also helped you play some not-so-top-condition games even without the codes and cheating. It made for a handy gadget on many levels.