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April 6, 2021 / Posted by:

The Power Glove!

As far as I can remember (and I can’t remember very much thanks to the mound of charred weed buds I call a brain), my first dose of smugness came when I was a kid and one of my little friends became a giant ball of pure gloat when he pulled out THE FUTURE. I’m talking about the Power Glove he got for Christmas. Yes, it was awkward and was basically some bootleg RoboCop shit (RoboCrap?) that had the functionality of Jake Paul’s brain, but I was still wowed by that highly technological wonder.

Now, I was lucky enough to have a Nintendo when I was a kid, and my bratty ass should’ve been happy with that, but because I’m a stupid sucker for consumerism, I wanted the Nintendo add-ones like the Power Glove. I was today years old when I learned that the Power Glove was not made by Nintendo. Wikipedia says that¬†Mattel sold it in the US and PAX sold it in Japan. Nintendo did endorse the Power Glove, though. Thomas G. Zimmerman and Jaron Lanier worked on the design of the Power Glove, and in an Oral History of the Power Glove by MentalFloss, they say that they had only nine months to get it done.

The Power Glove had a NES controller on it and you were supposed to be able to control characters in video games using hand motions. Wikipedia explains Power Glove’s use in nerd talk:

The Power Glove is based on the patented technology of the VPL Dataglove, but with many modifications that allow it to be used with modestly performing consumer hardware and sold at an affordable price. Whereas the Dataglove can detect yaw, pitch and roll, uses fiberoptic sensors to detect finger flexure, and has a resolution of 256 positions (8 bits) per finger for four fingers (the little finger is not measured to save money, and it usually follows the movement of the ring finger), the Power Glove can only detect roll, and uses sensors coated with conductive ink yielding a resolution of four positions (2 bits) per finger for four fingers. This allows the Power Glove to store all the finger flexure information in a single byte. However, it appears that the fingers actually feed an analog signal to the microprocessor on the Power Glove. The microprocessor converts the analog signal into two bits per finger.

You could only use the Power Glove to play two games: a fight game called Bad Street Brawler and a puzzle maze game called Super Glove Ball. Two more Power Glove games were announced, but they never came out, because Mattel killed Power Glove before that could happen. Power Glove was only alive for a year because it didn’t work very well and wasn’t that easy to use. It was just WAY too ahead of its time obviously.

Here’s a commercial, which makes the Power Glove look like it turns you into a badass of pure coolness when in fact it made you look like a factory-defected robot who is constantly glitching:

There’s plenty of Power Gloves on eBay for the nerd who wants a piece of flop video game history. Or for someone whose fetish is getting fisted by a 99 Cent Store Iron Man.

Pic: Nintendo

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