The Power Glove was a popular accessory made for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was distributed by Grant Goddard and Sam Davis for Abrams/Gentile Entertainment (AGE), made by Mattel in the United States and PAX in Japan and was released in 1989.
It acted as a dual controller: part regular controller and part motion detection, as it could move characters and do actions on the screen when the player's did actions such as move their fingers, raise, or turn their hand. Other games also worked with the Power Glove once the correct code was programmed into the glove. It also featured a controller on top of the glove that can be used for backup in case your hand or arm gets tired.
Design and functionality
From the Wiki:
"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 is based on the patented technology of the VPL Dataglove, but with many modifications that allowed it to be used with slower hardware and sold at an affordable price. While the Dataglove can detect yaw, pitch and roll, uses fiber optic 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, for 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 one 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.
There are two ultrasonic speakers (transmitters) in the glove and three ultrasonic microphones (receivers) around the TV monitor. The ultrasonic speakers take turns transmitting a short burst (a few pulses) of 40 kHz sound and the system measures the time it takes for the sound to reach the microphones. A triangulation calculation is performed to determine the X, Y and Z location of each of the two speakers, which specifies the yaw and roll of the hand. The only dimension it cannot calculate is the pitch of the hand, since the hand can pitch without moving the location of the two ultrasonic speakers."
- Super Glove Ball - a "3D" puzzle maze game
- Bad Street Brawler - a beat 'em up game.
Both games were playable with the standard NES controller, but included moves that can only be used with the glove. These two games are branded as part of the "Power Glove Gaming Series". Super Glove Ball was American only and never released in Japan. Since no Power Glove-specific games were ever retailed in Japan, the Power Glove was sold as an alternative controller only . This decision greatly effected sales and eventually caused PAX to declare bankruptcy.
In the US, the Power Glove sold approximately 100,000 units. Its total sales were $88 million. Games specifically made for the Power Glove were commercial failures.
The Power Glove was in various media during in it's time. Even today, it gives it's name to a speed metal band and popularized in the retro series on YouTube (See the React series) and maintains a higher price due to remaining units in retro gaming.
Most of it's commercial success is partly due to being featured in the Nintendo cult 1989 film The Wizard when character Lucas Barton starts a game of Rad Racer and finishes the first stage with the others looking in awe. At the end of the game, he says to them "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad."