Gaming accessories have long been the refuge of the damned. Not quite good enough to be packaged with the console but good enough for the bargain bin at Walmart. We can all attest to being second player using the controller with a weird cheap click, or feeling physically unable to hold them without cramping your hands like a lobster claw. However, not all are forgettable plastics piling up in our closet. Here are seven of the most obscure gaming accessories to ever grace the front of a console.
1) Pocket Sonar for the Gameboy | Bandai
Imagine a serene morning over a glassy lake. You pull out your trusty Gameboy, bob a radar bobber, and stay fixated on that small green-tinged screen to see what lies beneath. The Pocket Sonar was weirdly the predecessor to fishing GPS. With functionalities such as depth range, a handy encyclopedia, and a little mini-game to boot, the Pocket Sonar helped any day out on the pond go swimmingly. Did it work? Check out GamingHistorian’s in-depth (no pun intended) video.
2) Skywriter Stick Station | Atari
It’s a 2×4 piece of wood. It can’t even tell you that it’s a controller. It is literally just a hunk of wood that holds your Atari controller. The Skywriter Stick Station allegedly brought the true “arcade experience” to your lap and helped end hand cramps. It sold for $14.95 upon release. In today’s numbers, that roughly equates to fifty five dollars, which is almost as mind blowing as the fact that someone tried to sell a 2×4 as a gaming accessory. I mean, I made fun of Gamer Fuel and gamer gloves, but at least those things have some value?
3) The Didget Glucose System For Nintendo DS | Bayer
The Didget Glucose System is a marriage of fun and functional and was built out of inventor Paul Wessel’s desire for his son with Type 1 diabetes to pay more attention to his glucose meter. This little DS add-on helps kids better tracks their blood sugar levels in a cute game called “Knock Em Downs: World Fair.” This specialized accessory is designed to “gamify” better health behaviors, and that sounds like is a pretty solid idea.
4) The (Nu-Yell or Izek) Sewing Machine for Nintendo Gameboy Color | Jaguar
I often look back in shame at when I begged my mom and dad for a Link Cable so I could trade my friend in Pokémon for that sweet, sweet Machoke action. If I knew that I could use the cable to hook into a sewing machine and knit my granny a nice sweater for Christmas, well … things probably would’ve changed a fair bit. The Nu-Yell or Izek Sewing Machine for the Gameboy Color was a pattern selector that would then translate your design to unique wearables. Sadly, the machine and its variants never really took off in North America. Kelsey Lewin, noted game collector and archivist, has a great video on it.
5) Pedisedate (Gameboy) | Alcatel Canada?
Imagine a snorkel helping you get high while playing Bubble Bobble, and you pretty much have the entire concept of Pedisedate. Created for kids, this headware is a vessel for anesthesiologists to administer sedatives to children without going down the needle gassing route. Sadly (or positively?), this doesn’t seem to have had a wide release. Unfortunately, the time-honored tradition of passing out to an old Caillou VHS is still the de-facto standard for child sedation.
6) The Atari MindLink | Atari
The concept of a headband that could help you control a character is a pretty crazy concept for 2021, but Atari took a flyer on this in 1984. Imagine sitting in front of your old wood-paneled tube TV and just furrowing your brow to turn a three-pixel-wide car. Oddly enough, the MindLink sort of worked by measuring the wearing myonerual signal voltage. Sadly, the public never got to experience this mind-bending accessory as it was cancelled right after Atari was acquired.
7) Nyko Hip Clip (Gameboy Color) | Nyko
There was a time not too long ago where middle-income dads would holster Blackberry phones on their belts with pride. It was part of the khakis-on-New-Balances ensemble that marked the dadcore existence of the 2000s. Someone felt that kids were missing out on this fashion trend and decided that a plastic clip to hold a Gameboy was a good enough idea. Several board meetings and disappointing Christmases later, and we have the Nyko Hip Clip. Tuck your polo into your pants and feel the exhilarating rush and calculated efficiency of having your Gameboy milliseconds more accessible with the Nyko Hip Clip!