You may or may not have heard the news that Rock Band 3 will probably feature a new keyboard peripheral. This is great news for players wanting the challenge of playing a new instrument, fans of keyboards and/or the band Journey, and those needing more toy-sized plastic instruments to clutter their living rooms. Will it just be a miniaturized keyboard? Will it be a super-rad keytar that’ll make the ladies swoon? Is Keyboard Cat involved at all?
Whatever it ends up being, it’s not going to be your typical gaming controller. I’m always thinking of goofy game-related crap, so this bit of news almost made it too easy — what are some of the weirdest peripherals to come out over the years?
Put away your air-keyboard for a few minutes and take a look.
Rock Revolution drum kit
What better way to start than by following that bit of Rock Band 3 news with a failed music game? I can’t make enough jokes about this thing. In fact, I’ve already given the software plenty of crap, but seriously, just look at that thing! If the Rock Band and Guitar Hero kits are Michael and Janet, these are the lowly Tito. I’m not sure if that’s more insulting to Tito or this worthless bit of plastic, but at least Tito was able to ride his siblings’ coattails. This? You can get a bundle of sadness for your PS3 that includes the game and drums from Amazon for just over $15, brand new.
You’re supposed to use it cross-handed like a real drummer, but it’s asymmetrical shape seems to alienate the left-handed. Why Konami thought this wise is beyond me; the only plausible explanation is that someone drew up a sketch in fifteen minutes and immediately submitted it for manufacture. Not to mention the fact that it looks like the inbred offspring of the superior drum peripherals.
If you’re going through some sort of self-punishment phase, you can check out some gameplay videos of people using the drums, but they’re so damn depressing that I don’t want to be liable for some sort of mass suicide for linking to them.
Resident Evil 4 chainsaw controller
Alright, that last entry was a bit of a bummer, so let’s follow it up with something that was built with fun in mind — the super-sweet Resident Evil 4 chainsaw controller. The form factor is definitely different, but it has all the functionality of a standard DualShock 2. It’s obviously not as easy to use as a DS2, but it’s surprisingly not that much harder, either.
Seriously though, just look at that magnificent bastard. You COULD play RE4 with it, but most people who bought it most likely have it proudly displayed on a desk or shelf somewhere, just waiting for some sort of LEGO zombie apocalypse (don’t think it can’t happen). It came with an awesome display stand, is built to last, and has great details like bloody fingerprints all over it. The very epitome of somewhat clumsy to use, but totally badass peripherals.
I remember looking at this as a kid in 1998 and not knowing what the hell it was supposed to be for. It was missing two shoulder buttons and a Select button, while the two halves swiveled back and forth for analog input. Instead of circle and triangle buttons, it had A and B; instead of digital X and square buttons, it had analogue I and II buttons. It looked less like PlayStation controller and more like the victim of some serious gamer rage.
As it turns out, however, the thing was rather useful for racing games. The analog I and II buttons were great for acceleration and braking, while steering was handled by twisting the controller. It survived against Sony’s original Dual Analog Controller (which didn’t have rumble), but it didn’t take long to fade away when Sony introduced the DualShock in 1998.
Ah, the PocketStation. It was all the rage in Japan, releasing a couple of months after the Dreamcast and it’s Visual Memory Units. They were both very similar, allowing you to store game saves and play minigames on it. As the PocketStation gained momentum, gamers in the United States waited anxiously for the day that they make one their own.
Alas, that day never came. Sony cited the inability to keep stock of the unit in Japan, so they simply cancelled plans to bring it over. Which is too bad, because there was plenty of buzz for what was essentially a standard PS1 memory card with a screen. Instead, have a look at some predictably nutty Japanese commercials advertising it by clicking here and here.
Did I forget to mention any dusty, old, neglected game plastic that you happen to have under your bed? Well, don’t just wave it in front of your monitor, share it in the comments below!