Admit it, we love collectable video games stuff. But what if we could have the best? The rarest? The most desirable bits of geek history right on our shelves? Well, this isn’t that list. This is a list of some of the weirder and more obscure video game accessories and collectables. From lost potential to just downright odd, here’s some cool pieces you may not be aware of.
The Super Nintendo LifeCycle Exertainment Bike
Did you know there was a semi-official Nintendo exercise bike accessory for the Super Nintendo? Yeah, I’m not kidding. It was called the Super Nintendo LifeCycle Exertainment Bike and was designed to be used as a fitness accessory with the Super Nintendo. Developed by LifeFitness in partnership with Nintendo, the company intended to make a big splash, initially announcing several games developed especially for the accessory, including a version of Pacman and Tetris. These however never materialised and only 3 bits of software were ever available for the Nintendo LifeCycle Exertainment Bike. I say software because one of these was called ‘Program Manager’ which wasn’t really a game, but more of a stat tracker that kept a record of calories burned, miles travelled etc. Kind of a like retro Wii Fit.
There’s a combo cart of the two actual games that were released for the bike, ‘Mountain Bike Rally & Speed Racer’ that’s worth a pretty penny if you can get your hands on it. Roughly between $1500 – $4000 depending on condition. Unfortunately, the bike’s high price point of $799 US (Almost $2000 Australian Dollars in 2019) and its limited retail release meant this product never took off. I’d say it’s worth tracking one down but the seats are probably still infused with sweat from the ’90s.
Steel Battalion (2002) dedicated controller
This was one seriously cool piece of kit. Steel Battalion was a first-person mech shooter launched for the original Xbox in 2002 and the game came with one of the coolest controllers ever made for any system ever. Like look at this thing, it has so many buttons! All of which have some actual function in the game.
The two flight-sim style sticks control the mech direction and the gun, while the three pedals control gas, break and booster jets. The various switches, buttons and knobs all control weapon systems, start-up procedures, eject buttons and even window wipers. The game was almost designed to be a simulator of sorts, and by design was certainly not user-friendly. Upon release, the game and its massive controller received critical acclaim, but like many items on this list, it’s high price and limited market meant it was not a giant success. It did get one sequel which used the massive controller and then another sequel in 2010 on the Xbox 360. The 360 version was universally panned as it used the inaccurate and short-lived Kinect motion sensor camera instead of this amazing behemoth.
Check below to see it in action
LJN Roll & Rocker
In 1989, a small video games publisher known as LJN (stands for ‘Laughing Joking Numbnuts’) released this absolute abomination. It was called the Roll & Rocker and was designed to be used with the original Nintendo Entertainment System. The basic idea was the user would stand on it, and instead of using the nice, comfortable, logical and effortless directional buttons on the joypad, they would balance and lean in the direction they wanted their character to go.
No dedicated games were ever released for it and instead barely worked with the NES existing library of games, so as you could imagine every experience was slow, clunky, inaccurate and just downright not fun. Many of the games would have strange reactions to being controlled by the device and some games literally did not work at all. The dumbest part was you still had to plug in and hold a standard controller to get the A and B button functionality, making the entire device pointless. How any person thought this was a good idea is beyond me. On top of that many parents reported their children getting injured as they failed to maintain balance on the tiny surface area.
See below for just how ridiculous and awful this thing was.
The Nintendo Entertainment System Knitting Machine
Now, this isn’t a product that you can actually buy, as its apparently one of the few times a truly awful idea for a video game accessory was stopped at the planning stages, but it did exist in prototyping form. Pitched internally at Nintendo in the late ’80s, the idea was the people would use a dedicated piece of NES software to design patterns, and then the NES Knitting machine would then knit that pattern for you. Despite Nintendo trying to market the NES as more of a versatile toy rather than a video games system, even they saw that this would be an extremely risky product to sell and chose not to bring the device to market. While I have no doubt it would have been a flop if they did attempt to sell it, today it would have been a quirky little piece of retro tech and presumably highly desirable on the collectors market. Maybe it still exists in some dusty cabinet at Nintendo, unopened for 30 years. But unfortunately we’ll never know.
The ‘Comfortable Hands-Free Stand for Switch’ aka the lawsuit waiting to happen.
For something a little more modern, this is an actual product you can buy today! But I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to.
What’s there to say about this that isn’t already explained by the picture? As far as we can tell it can be bought in stores in Japan, and very much follows the Japanese mixture of weird ingenuity, and practicality so extreme it loops around and becomes completely impractical. Not to mention you’d look like an insane person using this in public. So where would you use it? In the home you’d play your switch on your TV, or on a bench, table or even the floor. Surely anything would be more comfortable than this neck aching death trap.
If you’d like to give it a try it can be bought from here: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0765SZ1VC