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A video game console usually comes with the system itself, some cables and a controller. These are the essentials necessary to give the machine power, make it display images on your screen of choice and provide you with a method of interacting with the game. Nine times out of ten, this is more than sufficient to play the game and have a damn good time. However, some games require a little more. That is where additional hardware comes into play. Whether you call them peripherals or accessories, they can help take your gaming experience to the next level.
Over the years, there have been some fantastic video game accessories. There have been some duds as well, but let’s not dwell on the negatives. In the grand scheme of things, video game accessories are a good thing as long as they are reasonably priced and they expand the game beyond the limits of what is possible without a standard controller.
Rock Band Pro Drums
Most of the hardware for the Rock Band games is quite good. In fact, I use the Logitech microphone that comes with it to record the Technophila Podcast every week. However, there is one piece of Rock Band stuff that stands above the rest, and that is pro drums. Playing these drums is as close as you can get to real drums.
The pro drums have your standard four drum pads. What makes them special is the addition of three specialized cymbal pads. This gives you seven drums and a base pedal to manage at the same time. The learning curve and skill level required is quite high, but the satisfaction of feeling as if you are really playing the drums takes you out of the video game and gives you a real world sense of accomplishment.
Turtle Beach Ear Force Line
If you live in a house with other people, and want to immerse yourself in your games, a pair of wireless Ear Force headphones is a fantastic option. They allow you to listen to the game and chat right from the headset and sound quality is top notch. They may not be an official gaming accessory, but for people who cannot have a surround sound system, they are well worth owning.
The Super Game Boy
I might be going a little obscure on this one, but during my childhood, this was by far my favorite video game accessory. Quite simply, a cartridge went into your Super Nintendo and allowed you to play Game Boy games on your television. This was long before the days of emulators all over the place, and the concept of taking your handheld games and playing them on your TV was mind-blowing.
Another thing that was amazing about the Super Game Boy was that it could add some color to the monochrome Game Boy games. The color was limited, and it looked kind of funny, but just the fact that it was there was awesome.
Calling all old-school cheaters: do you remember the empowering feeling of plugging in a Game Genie and unlocking god mode? Game Genie was the number one way to cheat at video games for generations. They made a Game Genie for nearly every classic gaming console, and they were awesome.
I will admit that the one for portable systems looked more than a little ridiculous, but the ends justified the means. Sometimes I wish I could plug a Game Genie into my Xbox 360, even if just for nostalgia’s sake.
How can you talk about video game accessories without mentioning the Zapper? This accessory started it all. It was mind-blowing that you could aim this gun at your TV and it would pick up where you were shooting. I remember thinking it was magic when I was a child, and to be honest, it still seems like magic when you consider the time it came out.
I will admit that there have been plenty of better light guns than the Nintendo Zapper over the years, but none had the significance of the Zapper. You could call the Zapper the father of all video game accessories, and you most certainly would not be wrong.
Quality iPhone Controller Peripheral Supported by All Games
Yes, this does not exist yet, but if it did, it would be my number one most beloved video game accessory by a long shot. Recreating a “real” gaming experience on the iPhone has always been difficult, and a good piece of hardware that makes the iPhone feel more like a PS Vita would solve that issue. Every day I hope someone finds a way to make a good one, and I hope game developers support it in droves. Will it ever happen? Probably not, but a man can dream.
Thousands of video game peripherals and accessories have existed throughout the years, and I feel like I am only scratching the surface. Still, these are my absolute favorites and I would love to hear what your favorites are. Jump into the comments section below and let me know what video game accessories have changed your life.