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Behind the Line: 4 Video Game Failures That Were Actually Ahead of their Time

Sometimes an idea comes in so far ahead of its time that the market, or the technology simply isn’t ready to support it. That doesn’t mean that the idea is a bad one, though. Today I want to take a look at 4 video game ideas that are looked at as failures, but actually were too far ahead of their time.


1. Analog Joystick – Atari 5200

Analog controls aren’t really anything new. Steering wheel controllers, flight sticks, and the mouse have all had some analog component to them, and all have been available for computers and/or arcades for a while. For consoles, the mass proliferation of analog controllers in home consoles really came about with the Nintendo 64, and they’ve been with us ever since. That wasn’t their first appearance though.

Old games even as far back as the Intellivision had semi analog controllers even on the 2600, spinning knobs to play games like pong, or break-out. The real introduction of an analog joystick for a console, though, would be the 5200 controller.

Massively hampered by a poor build, using a rubber foot to enforce the neutral position rather than a spring, they broke easily. They also don’t look comfortable, and probably had very little thought about how it could help a game experience. It’s probable the console itself wasn’t really up to the task of fully exploiting what the controller was theoretically capable of, either. That and the thing looks crazy uncomfortable.

And what is it with Atari and dial pads on their controllers anyway?


2. Motion controls – Power Glove

Away from the obscure, and into certified pop-culture touchstones. Motion controls set the world on fire with the Wii, but let’s not forget Nintendo had tried this about 20 years before that.

The power glove was a crazy idea that didn’t really work right, but the concept was pretty cool, and when you see it actually working, people tend to be impressed. But, alas, a clunky system where you need to program settings, iffy construction of the sensor you have to put on the TV, and general shoddy connection of the glove really made it feel more like you were trying to play with a TV remote with almost dead batteries.

It still got a kill in Nightmare on Elm Street 5, though.

What does it say about me that I knew that without having to look it up?

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