Culture

Today's teens unimpressed by Nintendo's retro Power Glove controller

Remember how cool the Power Glove was when it came out in 1989? It even starred in "The Wizard" with Fred Savage! But teens today aren't buying the old hype in the Fine Brothers' latest video.

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"I can feel the energy flowing through my veins," Darius, age 15, jokes in the video. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Looking back at the history of video games, it's hard to think of anything more over-the-top, ambitious, flawed and ultimately embarrassing than the Nintendo Power Glove.

In the latest "Teens React to Technology" video from new-media production team Benny and Rafi Fine (aka The Fine Brothers), a group of teens try to use an original Power Glove gaming accessory with vintage Nintendo games. Sadly, they aren't as thrilled with the accessory as we were way back when it was actually cool.

The Power Glove, which was produced by Mattel in the US (and PAX in Japan), was released in 1989 as an accessory to play video games on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. The concept was that you could play by waving your hand and clenching your fist, as well as pressing buttons.

"This is like the Wii before the Wii," Labib, age 18, says, summing it up nicely in the video.

The Power Glove emits ultrasonic sound that humans can't hear to sensors hooked up to a TV set. These sensors can detect finger and wrist motion. To get the most out of a Power Glove, players back in the day had to memorize different program codes and finger shortcuts to get the full range of motion to work in various video games.

The games Super Glove Ball (a 3D version of Breakout) and Bad Street Brawler were officially released for use with the gaming gauntlet.

The teens put on the Power Glove to try it out for the first time, with mixed results. Playing Punch Out and other vintage Nintendo games, they find it frustrating to use and exhausting, to say the least.

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"It works so well," Rachel, age 18, says sarcastically about the Power Glove, as shown in the movie "The Wizard." Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

"It looks pretty sweet, but it doesn't do what you want it to do," Ethan James, age 19, explains in the video.

"It's so difficult to know what to do," Sam, age 19 complains. "It hurts your arm."

The teens also get to try their begloved hand at Rad Racer, with even more frustrating results. Best of all they're given a glimpse of the '80s movie "The Wizard," which starred "Wonder Years" kid Fred Savage and showcased the Power Glove as the ultimate gaming accessory. Of course, the movie was produced by Nintendo.

The teens aren't exactly shocked to discover that the Power Glove was a complete commercial failure due to its limited hardware and confusing controls. But they were impressed at the creative effort it took back in 1989 to come up with the kind of gaming system that would be perfected decades later with the Wii.

"We think that all these next-gen things are so revolutionary, but then you look back and we're like almost there," Seth, age 16, says in the video.

"I'm honored to be in the presence of this," Geneva, age 17, says in the video. "This is what started all the new technology in gaming."