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The Nintendo Company is known for experimenting with different means of gameplay and coming up with the next big thing in interactive gameplay. With so many different types of games to choose from, Nintendo wants to introduce to gamers many different ways to play these games. What better way to examine Nintendo’s methods of gameplay than to look into its evolution from the experimental phase of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to the more professionally established peripherals of Nintendo’s later systems.
Nintendo Laser Guns
One of the Nintendo’s first peripherals, and probably most famous one, was the NES Zapper. The NES Zapper came out in 1985 with “Duck Hunt”, but could also work on various games that used the shooting gallery type function. The way the Zapper works is when the user pulls the trigger on the Zapper, it causes the entire screen to go black for a split second, except for the target area, which flashes white. By doing this, the sensor in the gun reads the white area and if a shootable object is caught in the white block, it would register as a hit.
Back in the day it was seen as a marvelous technical advancement, and even today the game Duck Hunt is still seen as a must-play classic with the NES Zapper, though the Zapper’s function can only work on CRT display TVs and cannot work on LCD or Plasma TVs.
In 1992 Nintendo came out with the Super Scope for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The Super Scope is about twice as large as the NES Zapper and functions a little differently by shooting out an ’0′ signal as it reads the various 1’s and 0’s that shoot through the TV signals. With this, the game retrieves the data to acknowledge the target position of the Super Scope and is then able to register a hit or a miss. But like the Zapper, the Super Scope can only work on CRT display TVs.
The Laser Scope, developed by Konami for the NES, is a device that the player wears like a headset. The Laser Scope is one of the first peripherals that introduces voice activated commands for gameplay. The Laser Scope includes a laser guided crosshair, which sits just above the user’s right eye, and a microphone attached to the left earphone.
The laser crosshair works just like the NES Zapper, but instead of pulling a trigger, the user merely has to say “Fire.” The issue with the Laser Scope is that it picks up any sound and causes the device to misfire. The device is big, clunky, and does not function the way it is intended to work. The Laser Scope came out in 1990 with the game Laser Invasion.
The Power Glove
In pop culture the Power Glove is seen at the butt of many jokes as well as a popular internet meme. As most of its critics discuss the Power Glove, they always refer back to the 1989 movie “The Wizard” and deliberately misquote the line “It’s so bad” when referring to the Power Glove, mainly because the Power Glove is in fact “so bad.”
Licensed by Nintendo, but developed by Abrams Gentile Entertainment, the Power Glove is intended to be one of the first interactive motion sensor games, in which the user’s hand was the controller. The Power Gloves works by having the user enter an input code found on the forearm of the controller.
This code is used to set the control system to designated games. Once the controller is “linked” to the game, the user’s hand movements are registered for gameplay. One of the games designed specifically for the Power Glove is “Super Glove Ball,” in which the user throws balls to destroy walls.
The Power Glove itself became an utter failure. The controls are unresponsive and it is almost impossible to get the device to function properly. Power Glove, now, is merely used as a glorified NES controller, since the controller buttons are also built on the forearm.
Part two will continue on Nintendo’s development from the Roll ‘n Rocker to the Wii U’s controller system.