One of my earliest memories is waking up on my birthday, going to my parents’ bedroom and opening my presents in front of my open-jawed brothers.
I got a Gameboy Advance. But not just a Gameboy Advance, but a Gameboy Advance with a gaming grip that doubled as a rechargeable battery, a custom fitting light to play in the dark (before the SP and the dawn of backlights), trading cables and Pokémon Ruby. I had so many peripherals though, that I couldn’t find where to put the blasted game in.
Back then, gaming devices needed these devices to run functionally and I am pretty sure that my parents got most of them to avoid having to buy batteries from the shops. Most of these peripherals have faded into obscurity or are now standard with our favourite consoles. But some things have just disappeared from gaming altogether, and some really need to make a comeback to our current-gen consoles…
Dance Dance Revolution exists now purely at the arcade, and even that can be hard to find today, but once upon a time dancing games used to dominate the dancing scene. Just Dance was still just a twinkle in Ubisoft’s eye back in the early noughties when we all had a mat with directional pads to show our disco prowess.
I remember my cousins having two dance mats for the original PlayStation that would come out at Christmastime for a good old family dance-off. While Kinect-powered games may have phased out dance mats, and now simply waving your mobile phone around is enough, nothing can compete with the original dancing game phenomenon. These newer dancing games just don’t have the same special, silky moves that where needed in the days of dance pad craze.
2Rock Band/Guitar Hero Instruments
“Why don’t you just learn a real instrument?”
Practically everyone of my generation will have heard someone say that to a budding Guitar Hero star. It was an age of plastic instruments played to real life rock tunes. It was awesome; it gamified learning an instrument and you properly believed that you were the rockstar you always dreamed you could be.
Rock Band is still clinging on, with Harmonix still supporting the game with new tracks on a regular basis, but Guitar Hero has all but disappeared after support for Guitar Hero Live was pulled. An over-saturated market and some poor industry decisions had led to these games vanishing from the shops. But we want them back.
Before anyone says anything, I know that these light guns only worked with CRT televisions, but by jeeves, they worked well. You could take the arcade back home with you and give your siblings a run for their collective money. Point Blank on PlayStation 1 was the game of choice when I was younger. It was a series of silly mini-games that involved shooting one thing or another, presented with glorious cartoon-like arcade style graphics. While the Wii brought the real-life aiming back for a while, and VR attempts to modernise the on-rails shooter, nothing is quite the same as holding an actual plastic gun in your hand and pointing it at your TV.
How could you forget the best instrument to ever grace our lives: the DK bongos? Designed for the fabulous Donkey Konga series, the DK Bongos allowed you to drum along with your favourite themes from the Donkey Kong franchise. While looking very simple, the DK Bongos did more than meets the eye and had more than one response pad per drum – and even a hidden microphone for clapping. Here’s hoping Nintendo whacks these babies out and brings the series back to life on Switch.