The games industry has provided us with some pretty amazing stuff over the years. From gaming-on-the-go convenience of the Gameboy to the frankly all-out witchcraft of the Wii controller, gaming has conspired to inspire and amaze the public with newer and fancier technology that has pushed the boundaries of what we perceive as viable or even possible.
As part of this, gaming peripherals have been rife; from basic controllers with an extra turbo button, to full on controller systems for flight or driving games; niches have been identified and filled expertly.
However, in this series we don’t care about those worthy and helpful products; no. Not for us the Wii mote or the NES gun, no sir. What Gaming Fail celebrates (or is that commiserates?) is the gloriously terrible peripherals and systems; those fabulous follies that make you wonder what the designer was thinking.
Previous entries have ranged from the painful, like the Atari Mindlink, to the downright dangerous, like the Wii Car Adapter.
Up until now, the zenith of gaming peripheral pointlessness has been the Pressman Speedboard. That, though, had a purpose; a tangible practical application, albeit a tenuous one. Not so today’s folly: CTA Digital’s Wii Wings.
Ahh, the Nintendo Wii; gaming’s crazy uncle who’s brilliant, but completely off his trolley. It won our hearts, but along the way it threw up some properly mental stuff. The Wii Wings, though, they’re in a league of their own.
Presented as a peripheral for the Bird’s-Eye Bulls-Eye Wii-fit game, the Wii Wings were fabric ‘wings’ that you’re meant to wear on your hands to help simulate the sensation of flying and “help you to truly experience what it’s like to be a bird.”
Ok, fine; a bit odd sure, but they’ll link with the game via sensors like the Wii-mote does to more accurately simulate the flapping motion right?
The Wii Wings have precisely no digital or electronic components. However, they do incorporate such useful features as ‘finger loops’ and ‘Velcro closers’ for your wrist! Oh, and they provide the following detailed instructions for operating these complex devices:
- Slide fingers into finger slots
- Secure wrist strap
- Flap your wings and fly
That’s right, they’re basically novelty gloves for you to wear and play dress-up while playing what essentially amounts to a fitness mini-game… while in your own living room.
But, cast aside those burgeoning doubts! CTA enthusiastically reassure us that they “add a sensation that you will not feel mimicking a flying chicken with your hands alone,” and that they alone will take your flying experience to another level.”
Ok, I’ll level with you; I can’t hate the Wii Wings. Yes, they’re ridiculous and probably shouldn’t even be classed as gaming peripherals, even despite CTA’s claims they will help players “achieve a higher score.” To be honest, I kind of admire CTA’s sheer nerve to take a punt at selling a pair of novelty gloves as a ‘gaming peripheral’ and have people actually buy them.
Part of me half suspects that the Wii Wings are some sort of elaborate social experiment, set out to prove that people will genuinely but any old thing if it’s marketed correctly. Maybe a test to see if the age-old marketing of technique of invent at need and then fill it can be applied to the most perfunctory and facile of ‘needs’.
If so, then frankly bravo to CTA: they have amply demonstrated that fundamental irrationality of modern society. We can all pack up and call it a day; we’re all doomed.
When all is said and done, CTA Digital are the winners here. They, I presume, made some money out of the whole thing, while at the same time managing to get idiots to dress up like chickens and flap their arms around of their own volition. That’s bond villain levels of comedic evil genius right there.
I can’t be sure, but Gaming Fail might have reached its point of most-ludicrous; I can’t honestly see anything out-crazying the CTA Digital Wii Wings. In many ways I really HOPE nothing does…
But this is the games industry, you really can’t rule anything out. Watch this space…
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Paul Izod is a lifelong gamer. Since he was old enough to tap at his Dad's PC's keyboard he's been a gamer. Dedicated and often opinionated, you can be sure he'll always have something interesting to say about the subject at hand. Find him on Twitter at @PaulIzod or @FaultyPixelUK or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org