Showing posts with label Retro Console Accessories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Retro Console Accessories. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

GameShark for 32-bit consoles (1997)

Original ad published in the January 1997 edition of GamePro (no. 100)

Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

Risqué advert for a risqué product 

During the latter half of the 90s, a curious device called the GameShark appeared for 32-bit consoles. A direct successor to the GameGenie, this new contraptions would let you modify the code of practically every video game to achieve more lives, stamina, ammo, etc. Its printed add followed that same devious path.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Four (4) Way Play Adapter for Genesis (1993)

4 Way Play Adapter ad EA Sports

Original ad published in "KC Joe Montana" issue of Sega Force 
(1993, a supplement to EGM).
Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

EA tries to monopolise 4-player cooperative games

Many video game aficionados are quick to name Sega's Genesis as the best electronic sports console of any era. They are right. No console before or after the 16-bit powerhouse comes even close to enormous catalogue of sporting games done right for Sega's memorable system. Most of these games were simple and fast and featured excellent cooperative gameplay. Both EA and Sega tried to capitalise on this fact with 4-player adapters.

There are subtle differences between EA's 4 Way Play adapter and Sega's Team Player adapter. The third party console bolted straight into both of the console's controller ports. The official accessory went into one controller port and left the second open for up to 5-player cooperative play. There were some incompatibility issues between the two gadgets. Both of them functioned well on the major sports games and the unique Gauntlet 4. Sega released a second version of its adapter that resolved the problem. The first version of Sega's adapter was not compatible with EA's games. 

Both of these accessories would compete against the SNES' Multitap, developed by Hudson Soft and included in the famous Super Bomberman party pack. It also functioned with other games and was specially fun with the original Mario Kart, for example. 

But EA's bet came at a time when gamers were sceptical about Nintendo's dominance in the 16-bit world. After all, Genesis had proven an excellent console at the time of its release and the big N had still to show its technical superiority and vast catalogue of solid games. Between 1992 and 1994, Sega had a clear advantage in sports game market. It was natural for EA to sell an accessory that could take advantage of its great 16-bit sports games, even if that meant directly competing with Sega's offering. The list of compatible games is of course dominated by the US giant.

Now the printed ad for EA's 4 Way Play is something special. Rarely do you come across a bare-bones marketing material such as this. As you can see, there is no picture of the actual product, just the logo of it. It follows a traditional "Z" editorial pattern. But other than that, there was no way for the consumer to know what he had to buy. Maybe EA was confident enough that gamers would trust the brand's name. Or maybe the logo was more important than the actual peripheral, considering Sega's adapter was more or less similar in shape and size. 

4 Way Play Adapter for Genesis print ad copy

Now if you screw up, at least you got teammates to blame.

4 Way Play

Our new 4 Way Play adapter for Sega Genesis changes everything. Instead of 1 on1 or 2 against the computer, now you can also play 201. 2 on 2. 3 on 1. Or 4 against the computer. Which makes EA Sports Tournament Series games 4 times better than anything you've played.

EA Sports
If it's in the game, it's in the game.

Tournament Series 4 Way Play
Bill Walsh College Football
NHL '94
Madden NFL '94
Soccer '94

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Samsung GXtv (1996)

Original ad published in the September 1996 issue of EGM 2 (no. 27).

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

Gaming's first dedicated TV highlights the importance of sound

Before Samsung became the mobile giant it is today, the Korean manufacturer was better known for its relatively cheap—but sometimes less than stellar—home appliances. This has all changed today thanks in part to a massive leap in technology and some smart branding, though Samsung has retained some of its economic appeal (save for their overpriced Galaxy cell phones). In the 90’s, observant gamers found a very good piece of Samsung hardware in the TV monitor you see here: the GXtv.

This was basically a 13-inch video game monitor with some impressive speakers. It featured various composite AV inputs and outputs, but sadly no S-Video input. The highlight of the contraption was its curios design. AS you can see from the pictures below, the gamer could fold the speakers to create a sort of plastic shell that would cover the monitor. In 1996, Samsung’s GXtv sold for 300 US dollars and was labelled by EGM as the first TV designed for video games with very good overall quality. Here's a nicely written review.

Original ad published in EGM's 1997 Video Game Buyer's Guide 
(late 1996).

Read bellow to download the full HD version of this ad

This would have been a very sought after collectors item if not for the omission of the very desirable S-Video input, which I suppose Samsung left out due to budget reasons. The speakers on this thing were absolutely astounding. It made playing any video game or watching normal TV a much more captivating experience. The monitor itself, as far as I can see, feature son discernible bump in quality relative to other TV’s of the era.

I clearly remember buying a normal TV around the same time of the release of the GXtv and thinking S-Video was in fact important for my SNES. Magazines would routinely feature comparisons with side-by-side images of a normal composite signal and the punchier S-Video. There is a clear difference between both. It’s a shame Samsung did not include at least one S-Video input here. I ended buying an even cheaper JVC model with one of those inputs and in fact still use that TV today for my retro gaming devices.

As for the ad itself, you’ll notice that the publicity is divided in two: a vertical page with an eye and the horizontal version which includes a lot more technical detail. Both are interesting and cater well to gamers. Very 90’s, very flashy. Very Sega-like. The horizontal version features the important technical spec of the awesome speakers. Samsung knew it was the best feature of this product and they correctly placed that information as the header of the ad.

Download or view the high resolution image of Samsung's GXtv.

 Samsung GXtv print ad copy (vertical)


Hyper-Amplify your performance. Play it wide open.
Coming in September

 Samsung GXtv print ad copy (horizontal)

21 watts of sound power
740 miles per hour
aimed right at your eardrums

Video game TV hyper amplified sound and graphics

  1. power stereo surround sound and built-in subwoofer
  2. graphics enhanced video graphics
  3. multiple multiple system hook-ups
  4. low emission 13” color screen
  5. 181-channel stereo tv


play wide open
play it wide open

for more info, dial
1 800 so simple

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Alps Interactive GamePad (1996)

Original ad published in EGM's 1997 Video Game Buyer's Guide (late 1996).

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

Form does not follow function

Video game history has a strange tendency of repeating itself. Such is the case of the Alps Interactive gamepad, a notoriously obscure peripheral for the original PlayStation.

Ten years after the release of this controller, Sony, of all brands, used practically the same design for their never released PS3 boomerang controller (also called “batarang” by some). 

This was a hotly debated topic in 2006. The first initial photos of Sony’s new monster featured a ghastly control pad not very different from the one you see here. The digital clamor was such that Sony replaced the thing with the Sixaxis pad, which had no built-in rumbling system (a long legal battle ended with Sony paying the original patent holders a large amount of cash). Later PS3 systems would feature a new itinetarion of the good ol’ DualShock controller.

The ad you see here was published in the back cover of the industry’s most important magazine. I fantom it was not cheap. Sad, because Alps Interactive is now defunct. Their curious controller lives as curious footnote in video game history and insignificata. (If you read the ad for the first time you'll notice "Destroy Style" as the natural phrase, given the typography used here. Well, they did!)

(Sorry, no video this time. I couldn’t find one! Here’s a documented user experience of the alps Interactive controller )

Alps Interactive GamePad print ad copy

Destroy them with style

Do you live for the thrill of crushing an adversary= Do you avon the success of slamming the competition? Are you tired of having a fried thumb? We’re here to help. The Alps GamePad for the PlayStation game console offers you the controls you’ve been waiting for un a fine tunes, easy-to-hold unit designed by professional game players to meet the demanding needs of today’s gamers.

  • Designed by gamers, for gamers. We all know what you need, and it’s all here.
  • Ultra-smooth dad lets you concentrate on your game, not a throbbing thumb.
  • Special rubber grip provides tactile feedback and a secure grip.
  • Extra long 8-foot cord.

To order call 800-720-ALPS
For more info visit


Alps Interactive

Monday, March 23, 2015

Virtual i-glasses VTV (1996)

Original ad published in the September 1996 issue of EGM 2 (no. 27).

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

A dubious start for the nascent VR field 

One of the weirder peripherals for console gaming, the Virtual i-glasses VTV were a strong bet to bring Virtual Reality to the masses. Since they are so rare, little is known about these devices, save for their now obvious contribution to various current VR projects. They were developed by a company called Virtual I-O.

A footnote in the gran scheme of technology, Virtual i-glasses VTV were no doubt taken into account when designing Apple’s VR unit and the Oculus Rift, the current king of the hill. The latter system resolved the inherent lag of previous VR sets that made the user “lose connection” with the VR effect. That development led to the success of the Oculus. If you’re interested in te subject, check out this interesting read by Wired.

As for the ad itself, it’s typically 90’s design. There’s a ridiculous kid using the glasses and some shameful copy about escaping from your parents. An interesting 90’s relic.

Virtual i-glasses VTV print ad copy

Just because you have to go to your room doesn’t mean you have to stay there.

Introducing the perfect reason to get the parental units to banish you from the living room. Virtual i-glasses! VTV Turn any room in your house into a virtual played for your favorite video games, just plug the virtual i-glasses into your  system (Sony, Sega, Nintendo, 3DO) and lose your head in a video gaming experience like never before possible complete with vivid full color imagery on a virtual big screen and full blown stereo sound. Total privacy. Total intensity. Total gaming. So what are ya waiting for? Go to your room!

Virtual i-glasses VTV
You haven’t seen this before

Monday, March 9, 2015

Handy Boy for Game Boy (1993)

Original ad published in the May 1993 of Electronic Gaming Monthly (no. 46)

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

Franken-Game Boy for the masses

Another one of those dubious peripherals for the original Game Boy, the Handy Boy intended to offer gamers a better portable experience. Like most artifacts of this kind, its actual usefulness was debatable. Your Game Boy suddenly transformed into semi-portable contraption that was not lightweight at all. It also made you look like a dunce.

This seems like a re-conceptualization of the Light Boy and Game Keeper (1992),  another Game Boy third-party peripheral I talked about some months ago. The main selling point of the first seemed very obvious, due to the Game Boy’s terrible dot matrix screen. The Handy Boy goes to another level and adds a completely different controlling scheme to Nintendo’s handheld.

Was it any good? No. The original Game Boy d-pad was practically perfect and has been copied and recopied in practically every portable system since 1989. The joystick-type button placed over your original d-pad seemed like a throwback to the original Atari consoles and the arcades of the 80s and 70s. The problem was that the Handy Boy was released in 1993. And besides, not a lot of true 3-D games were available for the Game Boy at this time (maybe Face Ball 2000 actually made sense with it).

The printed material you saw in popular game mags of the era showed the curious contraption in all its glory. The copy is weak, like most texts that accompanied products of this kind. And the color combination just seems too garish. And yes, the official name of the company was “STD”.

Handy Boy for Game Boy print ad copy

Fully Loaded.

It’s the stereo amplifying, screen magnifying, night lighting, fire button enlarging, thumb stick controlling, compacting,easy carrying accessory for your Game Boy—whew! Try saying that three times fast—it’s a mouthful! But that’s what you get when you have it all. Other Game Boy accessories leave you with nothin’ to say. Hey, there’s only one worth talkin’ about.

Handy Boy—don’t settle for less.

We can help you win.

Game Boy and Handy Boy are trademarks of Nintendo of America.
Game Boy sold separately,

Sears, Best, Kaybee, Service, Software Etc

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Super Advantage for SNES (1993)

Super Advantage for SNES advertisement

Original ad published in the May 1993 of Electronic Gaming Monthly (no. 46)
Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

More like Super Cheat Controller

I'll be honest and just say it right from the start: only rich kids in 90s had sufficient money to buy Street Fighter II and the Super Advantage for the SNES. With that combo, you became practically invincible. How do I know this? One of my rich neighbors was fortunate enough one of this things and continually kicked my ass in every fighting game of the era.

I wasn't a bad player at all. But the Super Advantage had precise construction and just enough slack to make your moves seem more fluid. This was critical when playing Street Fighter II and performing special moves and combos. It also had turbo buttons, so E. Honda's 100 Hand Slap or Chun Li's Lightning Kick, for example, could be achieved effortlessly. 

Using the Super Advantage was cheating, ever and anon, and every player in head-to-head video game combat was aware of the inequality it created.

Super Advantage for SNES print ad copy

We ripped of a perfectly good idea.

TRUE ARCADE ACTION. You’ll find that the only thing missing from our new Super Advantage is the coin slot. Okay, so we added an extra long cord. And our joystick is easier to carry than an arcade machine, not to mention a few thousand bucks cheaper (that means under $50, suggested retail price). Bottom line is, this is about as close as you can get without grabbing a crowbar and—well, you get the picture.

The layout’s familiar, and the construction’s tough enough to handle the most intense street fight or the ultimate battle for the universe. We’ve also added a few features you won’t find in the arcades—state of the art effects designed specifically for today’s most radical games. No wonder we call it the…


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nintendo Power Glove (1989)

Nintendo Power Glove advertisement
Original Power Glove ad published in the October 1989 edition of EGM (no. 04)

Historical Background and Graphical Analysis

Possibly the most infamous third controller ever, the Power Glove, released in 1989, set you back about 100 dollars and delivered a terrible video game experience.

Like most third-party Nintendo accessories, this contraption made the most basic gaming action, like walking or changing direction, a massive chore. It was developed by Mattel, the toy giant, and marketed extensively in every video game magazine of the era. It even was featured in the movie-long advertisement called The Wizard, staring the famous Fred Savage. Although some games were specifically produced for it, the consensus was that it held no ground against Nintendo's regular controller.

Today, the internet has revitalized some interest in the Power Glove. There are hundreds of hilarious reviews of this thing on Youtube, an even a serious documentary that explains the technology that it used and its effects in today's mass culture.  There's even a Kickstarter campaign to bring it back!

The original ad, of course, rehashed every end of the 80's trope. You have the Wayfarer sun glasses (very popular today, in a weird twits of fashion) and the obligatory thunderbolts to express supernatural power afforded by this new and awesome technology. 

The kid appears in the middle of the frame, making this and ad targeted at this particular age group (kids between 7-12 years of age).Key features are well displayed (so many buttons!), giving the product an edgy, technological, attitude.  

Now there were other adverts for the Power Glove linked to practically the only game available for the peripheral at launch, like the ones you see below. This was a three part piece for Super Glove Ball, spread out in three pages of EGM's September 1990 issue (no. 14).

Nintendo Power Glove print ad copy:

Everything else is child's play 
The Power Glove. You plug it in like any joystick. But the similarity stops there. Because now you don't just guide the action. You are the action. 
3-d sensors track the position of your hand, giving you free-flowing, instant response. It's a complete connection. Intense, And powerful. 
Plus, the Power Glove has a unique programmable keypad that gives you amaizing new ways to play almost every Nintendo game. All your joystick games become different. More exciting. And with games specifically designed for the Power Glove, you'll be blown into another dimension. 
So look for the Power Glove when it hits stores this Fall. Once you put it on, everything else becomes child's play.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homer's Nintendo Gear & Clothing (1989)

Homer's Nintendo Gear & Clothing advertisement
Original ad published in the October 1989 edition of EGM (no. 04)

Historical Background and Graphical Analysis

There's little to say about the awesome nature of this ad. Most of these accessories are probably worth a pretty penny un today's retro-addicted world. In the late 80's, though, they gave you bragging rights. And that was indispensable if you were to be considered a serious gamer.

The T-shirt in particular looks like a collage of Mario Bros' characters, while the sweatshirt has some Punch-Out! and Nintendo Power references. The cap is also very cool.

(Select the image and drag it to your desktop for a good close-up.)

A great historical artefact, specially for fashionistas. Modern Nintendo clothes designers should take note of the industry's humble beginnings.

Homer's Nintendo Gear Print Ad Copy:

Invasion of the Nintendoids 
They're here! The official clothing and equipment for serious Nintendo players. Order yours today! 
  • Show your allegiance with Nintendo Power Patches. Collect all six. $3.99
  • Arm Yourself with a Camerica CAC280 Supersonic Joystick with wireless remote. $49.95
  • Take cover under this Nintendo Cap. 5 Designs en Men's/Children sizes. $4.99
  • Gear up for the games in this Nintendo Sweatshirt. Men's $24.95 Children's $19.95 Small Children's $17.95
  • Honor your victories with Nintendo Pins. Collect all eighteen. $3.99
  • Go where the action is with the Z-Bag HD28Q Nintendo Custom Carrying Case. $29.95
  • Take the offensive using the MPI Video. You'll learn the secrets of 22 Nintendo games. $19.95
  • Keep a back-up Nintendo T-Shirt for those surprise attacks. 4 Designs in Men's/Children's sizes. $ 6.99 
These fine Nintendo Accessories are fully guaranteed. 
Omaha, NE 68137

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Game Handler for NES (1992)

The Game Handler advertisement
Original ad published in the March 1992 edition of EGM (no. 32)

Historical Background and Graphical Analysis

Gyroscopes became all the rage some years ago when Nintendo's Wii included an all-new controlling scheme and controller pad right out of the box. Today, every video game corporation includes some kind of gyroscopic function with their consoles and, by all accounts, the technology seems quite established. Today, your Playstation and Wii U controller feature this technology seamlessly built in.   

But back in 1992, gyroscopes were not very know at all. "The Game Handler", by a company called IMN Control, featured this new interactive process but, as history would have it, practically no-one remembers their astounding technological leap.

I've included some pictures of the instructional video of this thing so you can get a good idea of the types of movements "The Game Handler" would allow you to perform in certain NES games, although I'm assuming it would work with any game for that console.

As for the artwork itself, I think IMN Control lost a great opportunity to display some of the key features of its product. You would never know the control was very different from the other dozens of similar after-market joysticks sold for the NES at the time. Also, it does not help that the shadow of the picture looks like a hand grabbing a penis.

Original copy for The Game Handler print ad:

The game has changed!* 
The Game Handler 
The only hand-held controller
you only need one hand to play. 
A new universe is at hand
Can you handle it?
*The Game Has Changed! GAME HANDLER actually "changes" pre-existing software you already own. Now with GAMEHANDLER not only are your games more challenging, but more interesting and more fun, too! Do moves you never thought possible before. Make Mario run backwards in Super Mario Bros. I and Turtles disappear in TMNT II, and many more secret tricks for you to explore and discover. We'll even send you a video tape showing you how to do some of these tricks, plus a newsletter to update new tricks found by our game players like you!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

FCI Phone Counseling Hotline (1989)

FCI Phone Counseling Hotline advertisement
Ad published in the May 1989 issue of EGM (no. 1)

Historical Background & Graphical Analysis 

FCI was actually "the american arm of Fujisankei Communications Group (FCG), an important Japanese media conglomerate of about 100 television and radio channels, magazine, newspaper, record and video game companies", according to the web.

During the 80's and early 90's they garnered some good reputation by bringing to the West some interesting games like Zanac, Lunar Pool, Seicross, MagMax, Ultima III: Exodus, and Dr. Chaos, some of which were actually arcade ports, and publishing some game from Western developer's games on the NES, like the aforementioned Ultima. 

Like most counselling hotlines, the artwork here is very boring indeed. But these ads were not made for impact. The main reason here is to get the message across as clearly as possible, which is achieved. In the 80s, everyone followed Nintendo's lead. Their hotline became quite reputed and their prices were not cheap (about a dollar a minute).  So FCI and everyone else tried to do the same thing, with some lesser degree of success. 

Original Copy:

FCI Phone Counseling Hotline
(312) 968-0425
8 am - 7 pm Central Standard Time 
  • Get the latest tips, scores and info about FCI video games
  • Fin out about new FCI games
  • Put your name on the FCI mailing list

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ascii Pad for SNES (1992)

Ascii Pad for SNES advertisement
Ad published in the March 1992 issue of EGM (no. 32)

Historical Background & Graphical Analysis 

If you could encapsulate the 90's in a single page, this would very well fit that objetive. Every possible 90's stereotype is here: the neon colors, the rad wording, the skater-type kid with a 'tude. The Jeckyll and Hyde theme is a good idea to announce and otherwise boring product, but your eyes naturally gravitate towards the radder part of the kid's face.

The diagonal is clearly marked so that your eyes notice the weird thunderbolt on his face and then the colored buttons on the control pad. Only afterwards you see there's a normal person in the background being transformed by the super selective turbo propulsion power of the asciiPad. Yep, this was the 90s.

Original Copy:
This Is You With Your Super Nes.
This Is You With Your Super Nes
and the
The asciiPad.
For Super Selective
Turbo Propulsion Power.
  • Independent turbo control for all buttons puts more power at your fingertips!
  • Slow motion control buy you time to get out of those tight spots!
  • Hands-free auto turbo lets you fire 20 shots per second without even pressing a button!
The Super Controller for the Super Nes!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Game Keeper for Game Boy (1992)

Game Keeper for Game Boy advertisement
Ad published in the March 1992 issue of EGM (no. 32)

Historical Background & Graphical Analysis 

If you owned an original Game Boy back in the 80s (or the first itineration of the Game Boy Advance),  you knew you needed good light to be able to see the system's screen. A good number of third-party manufacturers launched stuff like the Light Boy to make your portable gaming sessions a bit less frustrating.

They came at a price though. These suckers were not cheap, much lees the full kit you see in this ad. A good protection against accidental falls (or bullies), the aftermarket parts became very popular after the successful Game Boy launch.  And yes, you could even play your Game Boy in the dark after installing this plastic contraption over your screen!

Aesthetically, I would have liked to see the features of the different items sold with the Game Keeper, not some stupid kid pouting in front of his expensive toy. The before-after sequence, split halfway through the ad, makes for a boring delivery. 

Original copy:
Keeping it portable was tough...until now. 
Expanding your Game Boy system does not mean giving up portability; not now.  The rugged Light Boy GAME KEEPER is a durable and practically designed hard-shell case for everything you will need to get the most out of your Game Boy system. 
With special compartments for your Game Boy, Light Boy, Rechargeable Battery Pack, Six Game Paks, Game Link, and Ear Phones, the Light Boy GAME KEEPER allows for on-the-go action. A port is even provided to allow the cord for the abetter pack to pass through to Game Boy. If you have a better pack, you can keep it inside the GAME KEEPER and still provide the power to keep your Game Boy going on the outside. 
Never again will you have to sacrifice power for potability.