Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple. In fact, simple wasn’t a word many people used after purchasing the device, with its multiple instruction books and variety of buttons. In fact, the Mattel-designed add-on for the NES was so unpopular that it was only sold for one year. What happened? Well, Gaming Historian on YouTube answers that question with this nearly 30-minute documentary that looks at the Power Glove’s surprisingly complex history.
Much of the hype for the controller came from the commercial campaign as well as its inclusion in the NES-packed film The Wizard starring Fred Savage (he’s wearing it on the below poster).
In addition to diving into the rich history of the glove, which went back to the days of Atari, the mini-doc also explains why the device failed to take hold: the Power Glove’s functionality was retroactively added on to all games, even if it didn’t make much sense. At the end of the day, the only game designed specifically for the Power Glove was Super Gloveball, and it came too late in the process to make much of a difference. Word soon got out that the Glove was nowhere near as good as it seemed, and it was discontinued in 1990.
While the Power Glove ultimately failed thanks to a lack of support, the idea of making more interactive games continues to this day from Nintendo’s current systems to upcoming devices like Oculus Rift and beyond.