The 80’s were a iridescent time full of neon lights, synth pop and headband wearing guys and girls in tight jeans and multicolored sneakers. So it’s hardly surprising that the absolute craziest retro Nintendo products in history came from around that time as well.
I, as the founder of NintendoRetroLove, am dedicating my past time to find all kinds of retro Nintendo collectibles and vintage Nintendo items from the 80’s and 90’s to curate for you. So of course i’m stumbling over a lot of really quirky and weird Nintendo stuff from around the 80’s.
In this blogpost i want to share with you, fellow Team1UpEm reader, my top 3 of the most crazy/funny/weird stuff Nintendo has come up with to make you throw your money at them. Sometimes more successful, sometimes (much MUCH) less.
You surely know about the usual Nintendo collectibles: from watches, figures and posters to pins, cereals and patches. But some items barely made it into people’s homes because they were just too… special?
Keep reading to learn all about the 3 most exceptional Nintendo products that have ever been released to the public.
THE SUPER MARIO SHOWER POWER
We all know the Nintendo Bubble Bath and Shampoos. But Nintendo had even more plans to completely take over your bathroom supply by introducing the official Super Mario Shower Power.
Yes, an official Nintendo handheld shower that wouldn’t only look like Mario and Luigi on top of each other holding a shower head, but also protect your kids from showering with too hot water through scald protection… just in case navigating between blue and red weren’t your little ones’ strong point.
It read “A new generation of safe shower play” on the box, which really goes to show that Nintendo was all about family, safety and play. And also a tiny bit about creepy gaming merch.
THE BRODERBUND U-FORCE
Ranked by IGN as the eighth worst video game controller in history, the U-Force was the world’s first hands-free controller ever. It was released in 1989, designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Essentially it was a screen packed with motion sensors that needed to be placed upright or flat between the player and the television screen. Once plugged into the console, players could manipulate on-screen action by placing their hands and bodies within the U-Force’s 3-dimensional range.
The idea was that you could, for example, play Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and throw a left jab simply by punching the air in front of your on-screen opponent. The only problem was, it was a freaking nightmare to play, because, apparently, it just didn’t work.
Alongside with advertising claims like “most amazing accessory in video game history” and “it will change the way you play video games forever”, the U-Force was ironically promoted with the line “Don’t touch” or “So hot, no one can touch it”. Uhm.. yep. And no one did.
THE NES HANDS FREE
The first-party peripheral was actually a pretty epic one, and a legitimate life safer for disabled people that would like to play NES.
The 2.5-pound device was strapped over your chest, and provided a chin-fitted joystick as a directional pad. Using a tube, gamers could puff and sip instead of pushing buttons. With more pressure you would hit Select and Start.
Nintendo sold a whopping 100 units of the Hands Free which wasn’t even considered as a flop by Nintendo. That’s why it was only available through Nintendo’s customer service line. All Nintendo wanted was to bring home console gaming to people with physical disabilities.
An announcement in the Nintendo Power read:
“Nintendo Of America Inc is happy to announce the newest adition to it’s versatile line of video game accessories: the Hands Free Controller (HFC). As its name implies, the new device will allow its users traditional control of a video game without the use of hands. It has been designed to serve our physically limited, special needs players who are unable to manipulate the conrtollers curently offered. (…)
As a result, HFC players strengthen their neck muscles while playing their favourite video games. (…)
We will sell the HCF directly to consumers through our Consumer Service number (1-800-422-2892) as a non-profit item.”
The only two downsides of the Hands Free were: a) that you would look like a super villain from a Doctor Who episode, and b) the high price of $120. And you thought modern controllers are expensive, huh?
That’s it for today! I really hope you enjoyed reading my list of the craziest retro Nintendo products that have ever been released to the public. If yes, share this article with your friends and have a peek over NintendoRetroLove.com to find more rare retro Nintendo collectibles and Nintendo merchandise!
Founder of NintendoRetroLove.com