7 Failed Foot-based Controllers

The path to Wii Fit's success was paved with a slew of failed foot-based controllers. Here are seven particularly awful ones.

  • Atari Joyboard: The Atari Joyboard is a combination of a joystick and a balance board. The four directional fastenings must be properly installed on the bottom of the Joyboard which controls the game upon leaning in one of its four general directions. Although a measly handful of games were developed for the Joyboard, only one game was officially released: Mogul Maniac, a slaloming ski track game. When the only game compatible with your accessory is a slalom ski title, your accessory has failed epically.

  • Qmotions Xboard: The Qmotions Xboard simulates snowboarding where you can "ride for real" by shifting your weight and leaning in any general direction and is supported by a foam padding at its base. By applying pressure to board, players can translate those movements into the gameplay. Of course, if you want to pull off a trick, you've got to make use of a controller, which saps almost all of the Xboard's interactivity. But who needs tricks in a snowboarding game, right?

  • ArcadeMX BodyForce: Designed specifically for Tekken, the ArcadeMX BodyForce was a combination of dancepad and hand sensors that allowed you to mimic the kicks and punches of your favourite Tekken characters. Apparently the developers realized that fat kids flailing their meat hooks and lifting their legs two inches off the ground couldn't approximate the swinging axe-handle of a 600-pound robot or a flipping kick from a jeet kun do master and shelved this product for good after showing it at CES 2006.

  • NES Power Pad: When Wii Fit was announced, images of the NES Power Pad undoubtedly popped into naysayers heads. The Power Pad was a large mat with numbered buttons that was compatible with only 6 US-released Nintendo games. When you consider that most of the games had much better standard controller alternatives, the Power Pad stands out as another early misstep in Nintendo accessory history alongside the Power Glove. When you consider that both probably influenced the Wii Remote and Balance Board in some fashion, they were probably necessary eggs to break.

  • Fragpedal Gaming Footpedal: At first glance this contraption appears to be some sort of foot massager, but it's actually a keyboard that you can control with your toes. There's nothing more appealing than a pair of sweaty feet fumbling over two slab pads pressed against two protruding rubber buttons. You can look forward to some serious foot cramps if you plan on using this pedal for driving games, and don't expect to get many frags or any respect if you decide to take this expensive piece of equipment to your next LAN party. Come to think of it, anyone taking their shoes off at a LAN party is a bad plan.

  • PS1 DDR Dancemats: The home version of Dance Dance Revolution definitely did not live up to the standards of the original dance platform found in arcades for obvious reasons. Anyone who has owned one of the early dance pads put out with the PlayStation-era DDR games would agree that these plastic pads were in desperate need of large rubber grips firmly planted underneath to prevent the flimsy mat from sliding around. This soft, thin piece of plastic was so difficult to to keep in place that some crafty DDR enthusiasts began to find creative ways to prevent the plastic mat from moving around (hint: it involves using a piece of plywood, a stapler gun, and some glue).

  • Sega Activator: The Activator is like laser tag but without the silly gun and head gear; the infrared beams along the octagonal floor-sensory device interprets the movement of the player who remains in the centre of the octagon. The most amusing thing of all is the instructional/promotional video for the Activator, embedded below. One guy is struggling at Eternal Champions with a standard controller because, after a half-decade at that point, controllers were still too confounding to use. Player two, on the other hand, is enthusiastically simulating pseudo-martial arts moves with little trouble. Dissatisfied with his performance with his antiquated hand controller, the other boy swaps out for an Activator, where he, too, can flail his arms and legs madly like his moron friend.

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