Nintendo Switch

YouTuber Connects 1989 Power Glove To Nintendo Switch

The Power Glove is an oft-forgotten piece of Nintendo kit that was part of the company’s early attempts to evolve the NES beyond being a mere home console system. Along with R.O.B. and the Virtual Boy, the Power Glove was a failed device that started from a good idea. It essentially allowed players to control on-screen characters using hand gestures, something that wouldn’t return to gaming until Xbox’s Kinect and modern VR.

Although the Power Glove looked really cool (and can be found in various movies and TV shows for this very reason), the Glove’s performance left a lot to be desired. Because operation was almost entirely via sound waves, the Power Glove suffered from extreme latency that made playing video games almost impossible. Combine that with the fact there were only two games that actually made use of the Power Gloves advanced gesture detection (neither of which were ever bundled with the Power Glove, and both were more easily played using a regular NES controller) and the Power Glove was basically dead on arrival. According to Generator, Nintendo sold less than a million units, and the Power Glove was discontinued after just a single year of production. Despite its flaws, the Power Glove has since become a collector’s piece for those interested in video game memorabilia.


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Rather than protect his investment, one YouTuber decided instead to get the Power Glove working on Nintendo’s latest home console. Niles Mitchell of the Will It Work? YouTube channel has managed to not only get the Power Glove working on the Switch, he’s even been able to use it to control an actual kart in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. He’s even recorded the process and posted his results to YouTube.

Not all the Power Glove’s functionality worked on Niles’ first attempt. While there are adapters that allow you to connect the Power Glove to the Switch through a USB port, the Power Glove’s motion controls can be tricky to interpret, and finger controls that allow you to input the A and B buttons just didn’t work for Niles at all.

So Niles added another adaptor, the Titan, which has onboard memory that allowed him to run scripts and more easily map button controls. Using the Titan, he was able to remap the motion controls to the thumbstick and also write a script so that the A button was just constantly pressed regardless of what his fingers were doing. With these two fixes in place, Niles was off to the races.

“On my YouTube channel, I connect odd things together to see if they will work, and the Power Glove seemed like the perfect fit,” Niles explained in an email to TheGamer. “I tried to get this adapted to new platforms a couple years ago, but failed and gave up on the project. But the glove kept coming back in my mind, especially again after it showed up in the ‘8-Bit Christmas’ movie that came out last December. Doing more research, I found a path forward to make it work and proceeded to purchase another glove and give it another go.

“I consider it mostly successful, but the inability to map the fingers to buttons remains a stubborn problem,” Niles added, noting that he plans to continue working on that problem until it’s fixed.

And he plans to take the Power Glove even beyond Nintendo’s ecosystem. A poll on the Will It Work? Twitter page is asking fans whether he should attempt to get the Power Glove to work on the PS5, Xbox Series X, or the Sega Dreamcast next. I think there’s a certain poetry in getting two failed devices to function together, so I’m putting my vote on the Dreamcast.

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