9 "Must-Have" Video Game Peripherals (That Instantly Flopped)

Sega tried its hand at controller-less gaming long before Microsoft.

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You won't ever catch the games industry resting on its laurels; the sheer ferocity of the competition doesn't allow such apathetic attitudes.

No, publishers, developers and platform holders alike never let their grey matter rest - one good idea could be all that stands between it and first dibs on the next fad or gimmick to grant a money-printing license.

That persistent drive to innovate is what lights a fire under the industry's major players day in and day out and, if the risk succeeds - as it did for Harmonix when it struck gold with its peripheral-spewing Guitar Hero and Rock Band brands - then the cow is milked until not a drop remains.

If it's a flop? Then, well, it ends up consigned to the history books as a footnote, leaving future generations to ponder how novel ideas so ahead of their time ended up as such.

More than most, Sega and Nintendo are familiar with pushing the boundaries of what's possible with forward-thinking ideas like mid-generational console upgrades, virtual reality devices and Robotic Operating Buddies, but so too, is it aware of the pain that follows when those inventions amount to nothing more than dead weight.

A voice-activated light gun sure sounded like the greatest invention since sliced bread in 1990, but you probably should have made sure it worked first, eh, Konami?

9. Sega Activator - Mega Drive/Genesis

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What it was: Technology of the future, today!

By modern standards, the Sega Activator looks more like the prop from a budget sci-fi movie than a gaming peripheral, but in 1993, this was it - the device that would revolutionize video games and do away with the need to clutch a cheap hunk of mass-produced plastic in hand to play.

Hands-free gaming: the dream.

Why it flopped: Besides the absurd price point? A working product would have been a good start. The idea was that standing within the octagonal device would allow the Activator to read your movements and translate them into inputs on-screen. As you'd expect, the concept was immediately put to use on fighters like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, but the horrid accuracy made anything other than a fluke victory nigh-on impossible.

As expected, the deeply flawed device went straight back in the box once the novelty wore off, becoming just another forgettable footnote in the Mega Drive's history.

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Joe is a freelance games journalist who, while not spending every waking minute selling himself to websites around the world, spends his free time writing. Most of it makes no sense, but when it does, he treats each article as if it were his Magnum Opus - with varying results.