A brilliant retro gamer brings the Nintendo Power Glove back to life with a Switch

Seeing is believing.
Brad Bergan
The upgraded Nintendo Power Glove.Will It Work? / YouTube

Looks like art for art's sake isn't dead.

Not completely.

A retro gaming creative named Niles Mitchell brought the Power Glove — one of Nintendo's most underwhelming products — back to life, according to a YouTube video from the gamer.

And, incredibly, it works with the Switch, and the game "Mario Kart Live".


Saving Nintendo's failed Power Glove

Mitchell, the person behind the video, runs a YouTube channel called "Will It Work?" where they make every effort to transform classic hardware using present-day electronics. In previous episodes, Mitchell found a way to make a 1977 Atari joystick function with a Nintendo Switch, and also connected an Apple Watch to an Iomega Zip Drive. This is innovation in 2022.

In the more recent video, Mitchell went back to the Switch, deploying hacks that would have made gamers of the late 1980s melt in their seats: making Nintendo's Power Glove work, actually. It was initially released in 1989, and at the time appeared like a cyberpunk fantasy come true. The marketing promised motion control on the original NES gaming system, long before the now-familiar Wii hit the scene.

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It joined with sonar sensors equipped on the player's TV — enabling the Power Glove hardware to use trigonometry to track your hand's location, and motion. But, since electrical signals zap down wires at 670,616,628 MPH, with sound going at a meager 767 MPH (at room temperature), the wearable controller caused a lot of lag.

Additionally, only two NES games were compatible with the technology — which meant you were making a big investment for an underwhelming performance for a small fraction of your gaming experience.

In other words, it wasn't worth it.

Kids with engineering skills get the coolest accessories

We can't speak for where the enthusiasm comes from, or the motivation to transform an old flop of a gaming product into a new tool for entertainment. But to make it happen, Mitchell used two pieces of modern technology: the dongle, for connection and Switch compatibility, plus custom scripts that let you hold down the "A" button for continual acceleration. The other tech was more straightforward: a USB NES RetroPort V2 — which equips the glove with a USB port.

Today, TVs are way too thin for a Power Glove's sensors to hook onto, since they were made when viewing apparatuses were not small screens in your hand, but clunky boxes that took a whole corner out of your living room. In the video, the wearable glove operated perfectly with games like "Pokémon Legends: Arceus".

But the real joy came when the Nintendo Power Glove was used to steer an RC racer from "Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit" — with a Jedi-like wave of the arm, the physical toy swerves left or right. Imagine armies of kids in the 1980s donning white gloves to pit hundreds of little toy Marios in RC cars against one another in the ultimate demolition derby. Thousands of cars in a post-apocalyptic arena, players lining the edge wearing manic faces reveling in the carnage of the fandom. It sounds like fanfiction, but as the next generation of gamers familiarizes themselves with more advanced modern technology, the upgraded Power Glove could foreshadow a new kind of DIY, where the kid with the most skills — not the biggest dollar bills — gets the coolest accessories.

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