Video games wouldn’t exist without controllers, that’s not a philosophical musing, it’s literally the case. But while aerodynamic versatility and perfected controller functions are essential tothe best gaming experience, some companies decided to defy convention and in some cases, sanity. That leads us to looking at some of the weirdest controllers that have ever been produced.
Wu Tang: Shaolin Style
For some reason there exists a Wu Tang fighting game, that was released exclusively on the Playstation 2. Even more bizarrely, that game was accompanied by its very own special controller. A clunky device that looked like the offspring of the Nintendo 64 controller and a misshapen block of cheese, the Wu Tang logo controller has become infamous and more widely known than the game.
Now despite the oddity of this game, it actually received quite favorably reviews, scoring 8/10 from IGN and a shocking 90% from Playstation’s official magazine. The controller itself had all the functions of a standard Playstation controller, but didn’t have any vibration and while it has been an sought after item for gaming collectors, most note that it wasn’t very easy to use and to truly enjoy the game, a standard Playstation controller would make more sense.
We’re sure most people have heard of this controller or at least seen a random image of it, it’s quite hard to miss given it’s size. When Steel Battalion released this, most people were extremely excited. This was as close to controlling a mech as it got, you felt like you were inside a metal beast taking on a wave of dastardly enemies and those Neon Genesis Evangelion fantasies were being realized.
Capcom had created an exclusive Xbox mech controller, comprised of a bipedal and a large controller featuring two control sticks and 40 different buttons. The game itself performed well in Japan, but did not receive warm reviews in the US or Europe. The gimmick of the massive controller was the main selling point, whereas the game you used the controller on (the only game you could mind you) was lackluster in game-play and story. A sequel, Steel Battalion: Line of Contact came out in 2004 and then another, called Heavy Armor was created to work with the Kinect, but unfortunately the appeal of the game was rooted in the physical controller and the Kinect motion sensor was a poor substitute.
There’s something really appealing and nostalgic about this specially made controller, but alas the limitation of games that can be use with this doesn’t hit an expansive audience. Supported games included Train Simulator and World of Subways and was clearly meant for train enthusiasts, which to be fair there are quite a lot of fans of this genre. Germany alone pumps a lot of time and interest into vehicle simulator games, trains included. We’ve included this odd controller to the list because it’s one of the few controllers that aims to perfectly replicate a real life public transport interface, which is the spiciest sentence of 2018 so far. Though we’re unsure if adding “going hard on Rail Driver” to your CV will help you get a job on a train, but it can’t hurt.
But if you think the Rail Driver was just bursting with excitement and coolness, you probably need to sit down for it’s nautical counterpart, the Shipdriver!
Remember The Lawnmower Man? The Matrix? Or maybe you were fond of the Tom Cruise sci-fi, War of the Worlds. Want to stand inside a slightly shabby, tentacle tripod gaming set up, even though your home barely has room for a vacuum cleaner? Then the Dream Machine is for you. The actual purpose of this gaming controller, was to hit those that wanted to get more physical during their game time, hoping to hop on the tails of how well Nintendo Wii was doing with it’s sport based sales and general PR of encouraging exercise and fun at the same time. It boasted being able to give you both rotational and four-way pan tilt action to play any game on any platform, but the idea did not catch on, nor did the retail price of $1700.
There’s been a fascination with creating video game controlling gloves, probably spurred on by sci-fi films and the idea of games being an extension of the self and allowing people to fulfill those fantasies of being a meglomanian super powered being who can control the world with magic currents from their finger tips. Oh, is that just us? Well….moving on. Multiple versions of gaming gloves have come out, from major studios and also third parties. We’ll focus on two of the most famous and well known gloves, the Nintendo Power Glove and the simple, if not lazily named, Control Glove.
Engineered Fibre Structures were behind the creation of the Control Glove can be used as a controller in a video game, sending multiple commands via Bluetooth. Made of a lightweight textile stretch material, the fingers are tipped with contractors, allowing players to rub certain fingers together to perform different commands. The design was extremely basic and lacked that wow factor that would entice people, though it does look like it would serve as a handy dusting glove.
If you don’t know what the Nintendo Power Glove is, then are you even a cool kid? The glove has traditional NES controller buttons on the forearm as well as a program button and buttons labeled 0-9. The user presses the program button and a numbered button to input commands, such as changing the firing rate of the A and B buttons. Along with the controller, the player can perform various hand motions to control a character on-screen. The Power Glove became a sort of inanimate icon of retro gaming, being a staple of peoples collections and even going on to star in a movie based on itself, called The Wizard. We think the glove is currently hanging out in a casino in Las Vegas, enjoying the royalties from that film and multiple gaming video cameos. Lets not even get started on the gifs and memes from the Wizard.
We’re joking, always bombard us with your best memes and gifs, please! So that’s just some of the weird controllers we’ve seen over the years and of course there’s a few more. So keep an eye on our blog for more wacky lists and let us know on social media or in the comments, if you have come across even more peculiar designs. Better yet share with us photos of your own collection!