Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Activator (for use with the Sega Genesis)

Canto 1: What I thought (or: The Sheer Folly of the Undeveloped Mind)

Being only a cherub of around 6 years old when this was first advertised, my youthful imagination reconfigured what I saw on commercials and in old school Game Pro ads into a mythical product that would allow its user full freedom of movement and inventiveness. This octagonal haven contained martial arts masters roundhouse kicking their way to victory. I assumed that whatever moves one performed within the designated space would then be carried out by the sprites on screen. It would be full on video puppetry. “Holy shit, I could make Shinobi sweep kick and rip out an enemy’s heart if I so desired! Cool Spot could flip off The Man and go work for coca-cola! Axe Battler could take a well deserved nap after a morning rife with cartoon viewing!” This was actually what I thought.

Canto 2: What it was: (or: I'm a Stupid Kid)

A fucking impossible to use controller. What I learned after my spoiled self got my grandmother to purchase this for my birthday was that no, I couldn’t alter pre-programmed animations by tangoing within its slick barriers. Sega’s goddamn travesty used infrared signals on 8 sensors, so if you wave your hand over the “A” sensor, it was as if A had been hit on a normal controller. Want to use your magic in Golden Axe? Wave your hand over that sensor. Going diagonal required using two arms waggling. Or punching! Now I understood. Fucking martial arts made it look awesome, but the reality was a ridiculous aerobic system that rendered all games unplayable. I had assumed this was motion capture pre….motion capture. I was also 6. And on mescaline.

Canto 3: What happened (or: 117 more and I Equal Ezra Pound)

Realizing after 2 minutes that all preconceived notions about the potential of this product had been nothing but vicious lies, I renounced Catholicism and kindly asked my parents to return the device back to the depths of hell from whence it came (also the home town of Beelzebub, my new Dark Lord). I had adulterous thoughts of the Atari Lynx, but Bonk just didn’t appeal to me enough for more than a one night stand. And I think he was 5, too old for me. Luckily the Sega CD and 32x were on the horizon, and history will show that they delivered on all fronts. Thank you Sega, for taking me on such a mega drive.

Canto 4: Post-Script (OR: CAPS LOCK!)
While waiting to return the nefarious machine I still made use of it, managing to fully beat Eternal Champions by simply tapping two of the sensors while on my knees. I beat the whole fucking game like that. Dedication + lousy programming = fulfilling childhood.

The instructional video packed with the heathen ring:


  1. Hilarious.

    What is even more hilarious is that this is a concept yet to die. The Wii-mote is an example, but even more so the X-Box 360 is expected to announce their new hyper-sensitive camera at E3, which will capture a player's movements and allow these movements to correspond with the gameplay animations.

    The inherent problem here is that most people play video games to avoid exercise, AND it never actually works. Until we're submersed in some sort of goo and have electrodes hooked up to our spines, we'll never be able to control our digital counterparts with the free-flowing, realistic precision we crave.

  2. An Alex impression...

    "Derrr, I reuse blogs I posted half a year ago as facebook notes, derrrrrrrrr."

    Your rivalry as my nemesis has been initiated, let the comment-war begin!

  3. Laziness + Bourbon = This blog post.

  4. You were supposed to fight me...

  5. They just talk to each other!