To quote the Angry Video Game Nerd, the most important part of a game is “being able to play it, of course.”
From the novel Atari joystick to the revolutionary Wii Remote, there have been hundreds of controllers over the years. Most controllers today have a standard layout with four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, and two joysticks.
However, some developers took it upon themselves to think outside of the box. What resulted were some mishmashes of plastic and circuitry that most people couldn’t have ever imagined. For this list, we took the weirdest options we could find that someone thought was going to revolutionize gaming.
Top 5 most bizarre gaming accessories ever made
5. The Wii Vitality Sensor
Out of all the major gaming companies, Nintendo has always been the most willing to experiment when it comes to hardware. The Wii Remote became a cultural phenomenon for its basic design and ease of use. Sadly, not every Nintendo controller can be the Wii Remote.
Enter the Wii Vitality Sensor: a product that would’ve clipped onto your finger to detect your pulse. The sensor would then send this information to the game, changing it in various ways. For example, a horror game could send something to scare you if it felt your pulse was getting too low. While an interesting idea in concept, the peripheral was mocked brutally by the gaming press when it was revealed at E3 2009. In the end, it ended up being canceled.
4. U-Force (NES)
What’s one thing all video game peripherals have in common? Buttons. Apparently, nobody told the developers of the U-Force, a bizarre accessory made for the NES back in the late ’80s.
The U-Force projects a “three-dimensional power force” from its black screens. Players wave their hands around to control their games. Each game required a different code to work (similar to the Power Glove).
While most games would be awkward to control by waving your hands around, certain games actually get more fun. For example, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out has you punching into the power field to make your character punch on screen. For such a weird controller, the U-Force is shockingly functional.
3. Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller (PS2 and Gamecube)
Easily the most gruesome controller ever made, the Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw controller is certainly something. Have you ever been to a friend’s house and they hand you a crappy knock-off controller? Imagine them handing you this. You’d run screaming out of the house before even stopping to think if the bloodstains were real.
The possibilities of this controller for shenanigans are hilarious. Can you imagine playing Kirby with this thing? Madden? Mario Kart? It’s just so brutal that there’s basically no game you can play without feeling weird besides Resident Evil 4. In fairness, that game is horrifying, so you’ll probably wildly swing your controller around in fruitless fear at least once or twice.
2. Steel Batallion (Xbox)
This is a controller that doesn’t mess around. Made in 2002 this controller has more than 40 buttons, three pedals, and two joysticks. Clear out the living room because this massive beast requires a ton of space to set up. You might as well plop the rest of the mech down if you’re gonna buy this behemoth.
Most of the buttons light up, and they offer feedback to feel as realistic as possible. Before starting every level in Steel Battalion, you must initiate the startup sequence on your controller. This involves hitting many switches and buttons. If you’re even remotely interested in giant robots (and who isn’t?) this controller is the coolest thing in the entire world.
To give you an idea of just how crazy this thing is, here’s the startup sequence in action:
1. Rez Trance Vibrator (PS2)
We’ve heard of rumble packs in games, but this is ridiculous.
Rather than feeling the vibrations from the intensity of the game in your hands, you’d feel them, uh, a little further south.
This controller was only released in Japan… for obvious reasons. This might’ve been an awkward one to ask Santa to get you for Christmas.
The designer of the Rez Trance Vibrator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, said that the controller was never meant to be used in any X-rated way. However, users had other ideas and smoked a cigarette once they were done.
Okay, so this journey took us to a weirder place than we imagined. We hope that we were able to give you an insight into the weird world of game controllers. We also hope that you are inspired to keep the controller in your hands, and out of your… well, out of anywhere else you might want to put it.