Shack Chat: What's the weirdest game peripheral you've ever used?

This week, inspired by Nintendo's continued oddball innovations, the Shack Staff discusses the weirdest game peripheral they've ever used.


Welcome back to Shack Chat, our Friday feature where the Shack Staff opines on a subject related to video games, then invites our Chatty community to weigh in. This recurring feature offers the staff an opportunity to learn more about our gaming tastes and invite you, our readership, into the discussion.

This week's Shack Chat is inspired by Nintendo, who decided to go out and be weird again. You might have saw the big reveal for Ring Fit Adventure and if you haven't seen it yet, man, are you in for a treat. Please take a look.

This game and its pair of bizarre whatsamajigger peripherals got the gears in the staff's head turning and we came up with a few of our own stories to share.

Have fun reading the entries, and be sure to respond to our picks and share your own in the Chatty comments below.

Question: What's the weirdest game peripheral you've ever used?

The Tony Hawk: Ride Skateboard - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

Tony Hawk Ride Skateboard

I want to start off with what I consider to be one of the weirdest peripherals to hit the gaming market, because when anyone looks at the Tony Hawk: Ride skateboard peripheral, it's worth asking the question: "Who asked for this?"

This monstrosity was introduced a few years into the Guitar Hero/Rock Band craze, where these games were starting to feel less like a phenomenon and more like a couple of games with giant controllers that were eating up closet space. Or if you're a store owner, giant controllers that were eating up floor space. So now imagine taking something even bigger than those guitar controllers, but with far more limited use to boot. You get this thing.

Just on its face, anyone could tell you that a skateboard peripheral is a bad idea. If I wanted something that would take up this much space and require such precision movement, I'd go out and actually ride a real skateboard. Video games are supposed to be an escape. They're supposed to be a fantasy. EA's not handing out giant footballs to anyone trying to play Madden. Nobody's handing out actual basketballs to anyone wanting to play bas...ket...ball... okay, we're digressing here.

But beyond the concept, this thing just sucked. It wasn't responsive, it was glitchy, and it closed the door to a lot of what made the original Tony Hawk series so much fun. It's one thing to think outside the box and be weird in a whimsical kind of way, in such a way that the result is actually fun. It is possible to do that, even if the rest of the staff is about to bombard us with many examples of utter crap. The Tony Hawk: Ride skateboard is one such item that I'd classify as utter crap. Remember earlier this week when we talked about skateboarding games rising from the dead? Well to do that, something had to have killed them in the first place. Tony Hawk did just that. He bludgeoned them to death with a giant plastic skateboard!

With all of that said, it's hard to believe that Ride and its overgrown doorstop isn't even the Tony Hawk series' lowest point.

Wu-Tang Clan Controller - Blake Morse, Reviews Editor

Wu-Tang ain’t nothing to f*** with, but I really wouldn’t try and mess with this controller. While the rap group's iconic "W" may look fresh on a shirt, it has no business being a gaming peripheral. This thing came packed with a special edition of the World Wide Wu's often forgotten fighting game Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style for the PS1 which was just as mediocre as the controller itself. This thing really gave the N64 controller a run for its money in terms of unwieldiness and in my mind wins the competition for the world's most awkward gaming accessory.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Bongos- David L. Craddock, Longreads Editor

My obsession for all things Nintendo has been well-documented--here on Shacknews, in books I've written, in my daily journal, and in Christmas lists I'm positive my mom never forwarded on to Santa, but whose contents (mostly) ended up under the tree come December 25, so no harm done. If the Big N sells something, I’m likely to buy it, if only because I appreciate the company's attempts at experimentation. Some oddball products work. Others don't.

The bongo that shipped with Donkey Kong Jungle Beat on GameCube didn't... and yet it did. This peripheral isn't weird so much as designed for a single purpose, and for as long as it served that purpose, the bongo was just fine-o. On the flip side, it was destined to gather dust the moment you tired of Jungle Beat’s beats. At least all those plastic guitars and drum sets we accumulated from years of buying Guitar Hero and Rock Band had staying power. Even today, long after music-rhythm games lost their mainstream appeal, they're still fun to drag out when friends drop in. That stupid bongo thing? Nah.

Xbox One Kinect - Bill Lavoy, Managing Editor

This question has, like many others, exposed my limited involvement with video games prior to about 2010. I played games and I owned consoles, but I pretty much stuck to a handful of titles on whatever iteration of PlayStation was currently in rotation.

In 2014, however, I was just getting started in video games and guide writing as a career, and bought an Xbox One thinking it would afford me the opportunity to cover more games (Titanfall was the main driver here). This is where the Xbox One Kinect comes in. It's not as crazy or odd as some other choices here, but I'm still not 100 percent sure what the point of it was. I recall my Xbox One turning on when I didn’t want it to, and the cable that connected it to the console was thick enough it could restrain a horse.

As I read up on the Kinect to refresh my memory for this entry, it sounds like it actually had some usefulness. I never found them, though, and quickly disconnected the Kinect from my Xbox One, likely in a rage because I turned it one while trying to have a conversation with my wife.

The Power Glove - Asif Khan, Crab Boat Captain

I actually convinced my parents to buy the Nintendo Power Glove at launch. It was one of the weirdest accessories that I had ever used. It was ahead of its time in a lot of ways, as the Big N finally did see success with motion controls with the Nintendo Wii. Funny thing about the Power Glove was that it pretty much sucked. I struggled to get it to work with Rad Racer, and my parents returned the accessory the very next day. "This is crap," said my father as we went back to Toys R Us to exchange it for some games. He may have been right, but it was innovative crap.

PlayOn Game Boat - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

I wouldn't say any peripherals are weird. They all serve a purpose, even if it's only meant for one game. I own all peripheral-based rhythm games, and they all work fantastically, especially my Para Para Paradise motion sensors. Now there are useless peripherals, and by extension I suppose they can be called weird. I was given a PlayOn Game Boat by a family member. It doesn't really do anything. It's just a blow-up boat that you can stand in while you play the adventure mini games via Kinect. Or you can use it as a real flotation device. I planned to do that with my grandma's pool, but ended up never doing so and now it's in storage.

Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller - Josh Hawkins, 'Where's everyone going? Bingo?'

Resident Evil 4 was probably one of the very first adult games that I played growing up—as far as gore and horror go—and it opened me up to an entirely new world of gaming that I still love and yet sometimes hate to this day. Perhaps one of the best things about Resident Evil 4, though, was the Chainsaw Controller that Nuby Tech created to go along with the game. Inspired by the "Chainsaw Man" in Resident Evil 4, the controller came in both a PlayStation 2 and GameCube version. I had the distinct displeasure of trying out the GameCube version when I was younger and by God, I remember it being one of the worst peripherals I ever tried to use.

Despite claims by Nuby Tech that the Chainsaw Controller enhanced your Resident Evil 4 experience, all I can remember is an extreme amount of frustration when trying to play using it. The layout of the buttons made it hard to play through without screwing up constantly and the entire design was just bad as far as functionality goes.

That didn't stop it from being one of the coolest little peripherals around at the time thanks to the bloody design and the sound effects it made when you pulled on the chain. Or maybe I was just a young kid who thought it was cool because it was tied to a game filled with gore and adult themes.

MindDrive - Chris Jarrard, Owns every fishing controller ever released

In the innocent days of the mid-1990s, technological growth was booming. The internet was new on the block, CD-ROMs were blowing minds, and The Lawnmower Man convinced some that VR was in our near future. The general public was also much more gullible (hard to believe this as I type it out). With this in mind, the folks at The Other 90% Technologies Inc. took the opportunity to release MindDrive, an input device for PCs that claimed to read minds (sort of).

I first saw MindDrive in a furniture store with my family (back when furniture stores were places to get quality electronics and computers) and was enthralled. Supposedly I could play a rudimentary downhill skiing simulator by placing my finger into this device and thinking about moving left and right. It didn’t really work, though I wanted it so badly. The entire setup was very expensive and required proprietary software. Unsurprisingly, MindDrive never took off and is almost entirely forgotten, but it is definitely the weirdest input device I ever tried.

Wii Fit Plus - Donovan Erskine, Intern

The Wii Fit plus was an extremely odd device. It was a way to play games that didn’t require and finger or hand movements, just your two feet. Most games required you to shift your weight from side to side and back and forth as controls. It was also the first (and only) video game peripheral that told me I wasn't in shape and needed to exceed use more.

For all of its wackiness, the Wii Fit Plus actually functioned surprisingly well. I vividly remember putting hours upon hours into the number of balancing games available, like snowboarding. The Wii Fit Plus wasn't the worst gaming peripheral I've ever used, but it's definitely the strangest.

Agree with our picks? Disagree? Agree to disagree? Chime in in the Chatty below.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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