The lights are on
Throughout the history of video games, hardware manufacturers and third parties have never been content to just let controllers be. Why would someone want a perfectly-functional and dignified controller that fits naturally in your hands when you can have some laughably contrived hunk of plastic taking up space in your closet? In this article we'll take a look at the history of these ill-conceived peripherals. Granted, some of these actually did perform their advertised duties perfectly fine, but were eventually rendered useless thanks to the limited amount of games that supported them (i.e. Dreamcast maracas). Despite how well they did or did not work, all of these accessories wound up being little more than basic clutter.
Guitar Hero: On Tour Controller
As you can see from the above image, there is no way to play or even hold this device without looking like a complete and utter goober. This virginity-preserving contraption straps onto the DS Lite by utilizing the Game Boy Advance port, and comes with a stylus for use with the touchscreen. Not only is it useless thanks to the fact that it's only used for three games, but it also requires a port that isn't even on the current generation of DS systems. If you own a DSi, you'll have to stick with respectable titles like Professor Layton, Mario & Luigi, or Castlevania rather than jerk around with a fake guitar grip. If your guitar accessory makes a Rock Band guitar seem like a real Les Paul, there's a problem.
The second of the two GH: On Tour games touted wireless multiplayer for all the situations like this that regularly pop up in your day-to-day life:
That's right, kids...remember all those times you were playing your DS like a guitar at some diner, only to see some super-hot chick playing the same game right next to you? Well, instead of sitting there playing through your solo careers like a couple of chumps, you guys can exchange a knowing glance, scoot close together, and RAWK OUT! (Note: Nothing even resembling the events in this previous statement or preceding video has ever happened to anyone ever)
The Aura Interactor
As a kid who was unhealthily obsessed with Mortal Kombat, I wanted anything that claimed to make the experience even better. Based on the Aura Interactor's advertisements, it would let you "feel punches, explosions, kicks, uppercuts, slam-dunks, crashes, body blows, and more!" I wasn't exactly sure how it was supposed to do this, all I knew is that I wanted it. As it turns out, this "Virtual Reality Gamewear" amounted to little more than a backpack made out of subwoofers. All it really did (other than give you a sore back) was turn in-game sounds into slight vibrations like some sort of comically oversized Rumble Pak.
It's always a dumb idea when a system that prides itself on its portability gets a bulky, cumbersome accessory, but the e-Reader went above and beyond the call of stupidity. By attaching this unsightly hunk of plastic to your Game Boy Advance, it was able to read data from paper cards that Nintendo sold at various retailers.
What did these paper cards do, you ask? Well, they'd let you play classic NES games and give you items in games like Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (the numbering system for the Mario re-releases on GBA was almost as boneheaded as this accessory). While classic games and free items are rarely a bad thing, the e-Reader had the distinct ability to make the process way more trouble than it was worth.
Each classic NES game came in a pack of five cards. If you wanted to play Excitebike, you had to buy its corresponding pack of cards and then swipe each of the five cards twice (front and back) before the game loaded.
Obtaining in-game Mario items using the e-Reader was the main offender, however. You see, the e-Reader utilized the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot. As you might imagine, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is also a Game Boy Advance cartridge. This meant that in order to get that extra fire flower or invincibility star, you had to connect the e-Reader GBA to another GBA that you were playing the game on. Because when I think portability, I think of two Game Boys linked together with a giant plastic tumor growing out of one of them.