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Peripherals that changed gaming

Plastic guitars continue to be one of the most popular gaming peripheral fads in recent years, but they weren't the first. We take a look at others that tried to hit it big.

Dave Lowensohn

This week marks the latest release in the Rock Band series (see our hands-on). It features one of the biggest names in music--The Beatles. It also features pack-in instruments that continue to look more and more like their real-life counterparts.

Rock Band was definitely not the first video game to necessitate special hardware, nor will it be the last. Below we've put together a list of some of the most innovative peripherals and hardware that have helped change the way we play games. Some went on to become big, while others failed or were martyrs to future incarnations that proved successful.

In creating this roundup, one thing became clear: Nintendo's made great efforts to bring new ideas to the table every few years. And in that process, the Wii has proven to be one of the company's great successes. But there were also failures along the way. Those, along with winners from Nintendo's competitors and third parties, are all chronicled.

Disclaimer: This list is, of course, neither completely comprehensive nor as far reaching as it could be, but (we think) it does a pretty good job at painting a picture of how far gaming peripherals have come. Feel free to add your own favorites, or ones we missed in the comments.