168. “He’s got the Nintendo Power Glove there.”

The episode:Moon Zero Two,” ep. 111

The riff: Noted by Servo as an astronaut with complicated-looking gloves works on a satellite in orbit above the moon.

The explanation: The Nintendo Power Glove is one of the most famous alternate controllers/failed peripherals in gaming history. It was introduced in 1989 as the world’s first controller built around hand movements, where the player would input commands by moving their fingers. It was immediately criticized for being clumsy and unintuitive, and few games were even made to work with it. Nevertheless, a mystical quality was conferred to the glove by its appearance in the 1989 adventure comedy film “The Wizard,” about a young video game prodigy. In the film, the douche rival character uses the Power Glove to gain seemingly superhuman video game skills. He famously declares “I love the Power Glove, it’s so bad,” immortalizing the 10-minute window at the end of the 80’s where kids were saying “bad” to describe things they found good.

Novelty factor: This is right in my wheelhouse. I never even have had a chance to touch a Power Glove, but we all knew what it was as kids and thought it was just about the coolest idea in gaming history. Kids told apocryphal tales of playing with the Power Glove like it was a cursed gem from a sunken temple. I mean seriously, how were we supposed to resist a commercial like the one below?


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