The NES Power Glove actually came from early VR-tech

The NES Power Glove actually came from early VR-tech


Virtual reality seems to be all the rage these days (or at least, it’s been hyped up continuously over the last few years). But, one must not forget that VR technology has actually been existence for quite a few decades, almost as long as game consoles themselves. But, unlike traditional controllers, VR simply has not yet become of gaming’s real pillars. Even so, like many other companies, Nintendo did experiment with virtual reality tech back in the golden era of gaming, and it turns out that the infamous Power Glove accessory for the NES was birthed from the technology.

Marty Abrams, the co-founder of the company that made the Power Glove (which is Abrams/Gentile Entertainment), was recently interviewed by Nerd News Today. During the interview, Abrams explained how the Power Glove accessory came about.

According to Abrams, it was birthed from a relationship that his company had with Hasbro, a brand you might be familiar with due to their large presence in the toy industry.

Back in 1989, Abrams’ company and Hasbro wanted to create a VR gaming system of their own but needed a control scheme that was different than the standard joystick. Thus, they ended up hatching the idea for the Power Glove from a patent made by the MIT design clinic. Abrams’ company was able to secure a license from MIT, and the work on the new VR gaming system continued. But, things didn’t go well, and Abrams’ company and Hasbro then decided to use the glove idea to pair with the NES (which was very hot at the time).

And, just like how some still consider virtual reality to be today, the Power Glove ended up garnering a reputation for being a very frustrating piece of technology. It simply did not work well at all. Now that we know its history, there’s no wonder why this turned out to be the case. It was designed to function essentially just like VR controllers do today: a handheld controller operating in a 3D space. Instead, the Power Glove ended up being shoehorned into a controller for 2D side-scrollers—the polar opposite of a virtual reality gaming environment.

Fast-forward to modern times, Nintendo does happen to have an interest for VR technology. It’s experimenting with concepts, but various executives have gone on record saying we won’t see a real VR solution from the Big N until they’ve found a way to make the technology “fun”. 

Here’s the excerpt from Nerd News Today’s interview containing Abrams’ explanation:

We literally were working very closely with Hasbro and we had developed in 1989… an idea to create a virtual reality headhunted display video gaming system where you could literally get in, put on the display, put your head in the cap, get all these great games and ride through space. We needed something to manipulate objects in a 3D space besides a joystick.

So we found literally at the MIT design clinic a patent that they could turn around and put on a glove, that they could manipulate objects in a 3D space.

We licensed that tech from them and we built this entire system, and we were about to go to the marketplace with Hasbro. And at that time, it just grew and grew and became unruly in terms of going out and doing it, so we just pulled the glove out of it to work with Nintendo systems.

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The NES Power Glove actually came from early VR-tech was last modified: October 8th, 2018 by A.K Rahming

Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.