Wacky Nintendo

By on March 30, 2011

A look at the Japanese giant’s craziest products to date

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In the interest of being topical, I would like to take the much fancied Nintendo 3DS launch as an opportunity to look back at some of Nintendo’s wackiest hardware ideas. Some scored big wins for the Japanese gaming giants, while others dealt hefty damage to Nintendo’s reputation. Ultimately, the company that virtually single-handedly resurrected the industry from its demise in the mid 80s, should be commended for always thinking out of the box.

Without further ado, in chronological order, here is the list:

R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy):

Released with the earliest versions of the NES was R.O.B., a gaming peripheral / controller which was meant to demonstrate that Nintendo was about innovation and that the future of gaming had arrived. R.O.B. was a robot buddy that was meant to play games with you. Of course this was restricted to a couple of titles (literally), as playing with R.O.B. wasn’t really feasible, only 2 games were ever shipped. It’s worth going on YouTube and watching R.O.B. in action. I found it ridiculously hilarious and awe-inspiring all at once. While the peripheral didn’t actually function as intended (or more accurately, as advertised), it did serve its purpose remarkably well. The NES went on to surpass all expectations and its success arguably made today’s generation of gaming consoles possible.

Verdict: Neutral. Questionable hardware, genius marketing.

Super Scope

Having enjoyed Duck Hunt on my NES, I was looking forward the next generation SNES light gun. Needless to say, I didn’t see the Super Scope coming. Nintendo found it ‘appropriate’ to release a light gun in the form of a bazooka. I’ll admit, upon release, I was dying to get one but, in retrospect, I can understand my mother’s hesitation at buying me a gun the size of a small bicycle. The thing was massive and that didn’t bode too well for Nintendo. Sales were pretty abysmal and frequent complaints regarding strained shoulders and neck pain after moderate use led to Nintendo’s quick decision to can the accessory.

Verdict: Fail. Which is kinda sad considering today’s plastic guitars, drums, golf sticks, fishing reels…you’d think there would be a market for a plastic bazooka.

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As an opinionated young gamer many years ago, I made three predictions: 1- Sega would dominate the console wars for 50 years. 2- Simon's Quest would be remembered as the definitive NES game. 3- I would be gaming even more as an adult. I suppose one out of three isn't bad.

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  • Antiro

    Wat about the Powerglove?

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