The 13 Weirdest Gaming Peripherals Ever

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Judit Llordés
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Gaming peripherals are now part of our daily life: we wouldn't be able to live without a mouse, keyboard and headphones, which seem to us to be objects as common as they are indispensable. However, there are (or have existed) peripherals on the market that go far beyond those we are used to, and which represent truly curious oddities, designed for video games in particular or simply to offer an original gaming experience.

  • We will therefore present the following to you 13 weirdest and coolest gaming peripherals ever, some of which date back to the last century, and others more recent but equally bizarre. A warning: by reading you will inevitably want to try them, so continue at your own risk!

    The 13 Weirdest Gaming Peripherals Ever

    ROB it Robot

    ROB (short for Robot Operating Buddy, which we could translate as “Amico Operativo Robotico“) was strange not so much for what it is, that is a accessory for SNES to play with and grab small objects using the console controllerbut for what it represented. ROB was in fact marketed during the video game crisis of the 80s: Nintendo's idea was to make the most naive sellers believe that the device was an educational toy rather than an accessory that needed a console to work; the strategy was successful, but the robot was soon forgotten, also due to the total lack of supported games.

    Controller skateboard per Tony Hawk: Ride

    Within the long history of video games, 2009 is famous for the union between the then popular motion control and plastic peripherals (such as the various instruments in Guitar Hero). Activision therefore came up with the idea of ​​producing one plastic skateboard and release it with Tony Hawk: Ride; we are not talking about a collectible on par with Mjolnir in the collector's edition of God of War: Ragnarok, but a real controller with two accelerators and four motion sensors. Without the peripheral it was impossible to play Ride, and the price of $120,00 per game+skateboard certainly didn't help the sale; it is therefore no surprise that the experiment turned out to be unsuccessful: unintuitive, confusing, expensive, and generally pretty embarrassing.

    Chainsaw controller for Resident Evil 4

    Very often one of the main objectives in creating a peripheral is to make the gaming experience immersive; with Resident Evil 4 the NubyTech company took it a bit too seriously, marketing a controller made to chainsaw specifically for the title of Capcom. The product was released in two versions, a yellow one for the GameCube and a red one for the PlayStation 2, but the problem was that the design was more oriented towards aesthetics than effective ease of use; although all the keys of a normal GameCube Joystick were present, the configuration was very little intuitive, while the part of the blade (unfortunately) had no use. In short, useless in terms of gameplay, but wonderful to keep on the library.

    DK Bongos

    In this case we launch a note in favor of Nintendo, which in 2004 had a brilliant idea: to produce real bongos for GameCube, compatible with Donkey Konga and DK Jungle Beat. Unlike the skateboard controller for Tony Hawk: Ride, the DK Bongos were cheap (we're talking about €50,00 for game and controller), stupid but, above all, they worked great. It was in fact possible to play rhythm on Donkey Konga and move the characters in DK Jungle Beat by slapping the bongos in different places and clapping, and with some handling it was also possible to exploit them for other GameCube games, generating unique and hilarious gameplay.

    Envavo Heatbuff

    A few years ago, the Danish startup Envavo, starting from the assumption that having cold hands while playing increases reaction times, created a peripheral to warm the players' hands during matches. In fact, the system emits infrared waves that allow you to keep your fingers warm, and at the same time do not overheat the keyboard and mouse, thus ensuring the safety of the rest of the set-up. After more than a year on Kickstarter, the project has gained so much interest that it has been officially put on the market, and can be purchased online for around €150,00.

    Atari 2600 Stick Station

    We go from the innovations of recent years to the dawn of video games with the Sick Station, which was… literally a piece of wood to insert the Atari 2600 controllers into. Since the ergonomics of those joysticks were pretty terrible, the idea of ​​placing them on a solid base might work; the problem was, as easily understood, that it was a piece of wood, and the fact that it was marketed for a short time in 1984 represents its failure. At the same time, the Stick Station today is, in addition to one of the strangest gaming peripherals ever, also one of the rarest to find.

    Keypad gaming Azeron Cyborg

    One of the most innovative, yet strangest gaming peripherals currently on the market is theAzeron Cyborg, a latest generation keypad that promises to revolutionize the user's gaming experience. Actually it's sort of a mouse combined with fingers with 29 mechanical switches corresponding to programmable keys; you can therefore play using the keypad instead of the keyboard, customizing it according to your preferences and the commands of the title you are dedicating yourself to. As you can guess, it is by no means a cheap purchase, but if you want to know more, you can take a look at the official product page.

    Wii Fit Balance Board

    We've all probably tried it at least once in our lives Wii Fit Balance Board, but we never stopped to think how weird it actually was. Since 1987 game companies have been almost obsessed with the idea that gamers want to stand up (when they usually want the most comfortable seat possible), and while most "active" controllers have failed, the balance board for Wii is an exception, given that it worked incredibly well for the time and has helped make millions of people a little healthier.

    Aura Interactor

    THEAura Interactor, released in 1994, was a decidedly innovative gaming peripheral for the time it came out; it was in fact a wearable device developed by Aura Systems, which converted sounds into vibrations and it allowed players to feel kicks, hits, bullets and explosions on their skin. The peripheral was compatible with SNES and Sega Genesis, and was received by the market in a generally positive way, with over 400.000 units sold and a price of around €100,00. Since it worked so well (and, honestly, looks cool) you might be wondering: what happened to it? There probably wasn't enough interest in the concept to develop subsequent editions, and eventually VR came along, stole the show and revolutionized the technology.

    Booster Boy

    A gaming peripheral as ingenious as it is stupid is the Booster Boy by Saitek, a Game Boy accessory that combined a magnifying glass, comically large buttons and a speaker box to the console. Gamers thus had a bigger screen and buttons and a higher volume, which would seem like a great idea… except that it took away from the Game Boy's main point: its portability.

    Ground Trance Vibrator

    Il Trance Vibrator, produced by ASCII and released - fortunately - only in Japan, it is a relic of an era in which the Japanese country loved to market gaming peripherals that served for a single video game. In this case, it was a vibrating controller for use in the bizarre Rez, where players had to shoot strange enemies across a computer network, adding a musical instrument to each shot to eventually get the full soundtrack. As fantastic as the title itself sounds, the problem with the Trance Vibrator is that it apparently vibrated too much, too strongly… so misunderstandings inevitably arose.

    Atari Mindlink

    L'Atari Mindlink it was doomed even before its release, and it's probably the craziest and most useless gaming peripheral on the list. This cable tie designed for the Atari 2600 it promised to read players' thoughts, and allow him to play with his mind. As you can imagine, it didn't quite work like that or it would have been the turn of the century; more simply, it read the movements of the forehead, sending pulses to the console accordingly. Since the idea was truly terrible, the Atari Mindklink was never released to the market.

    Controller per Steel Battalion

    We conclude the list with a peripheral that is the exact opposite of a failure: the controller per Steel Battalion, a mech game released by Capcom in 2004, was truly titanic. Well 44 keys, including three foot pedals, entire rows of buttons and levers, analogs, lights and much more, all to play a single title. At the time, the bundle with controller and video game cost around €200,00, but today it is used for double the price. In short, if you want to see a peripheral with many, many buttons and you have money to spend, this is the right purchase.

    That's about it for the weirdest gaming peripherals ever released. We hope you discovered something new, or at least had a laugh with some of the most bizarre and useless ideas in the history of video games (yes, we are talking about the Atari Headlink).

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