May 18, 2009 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili
Considered by many to be the worst NES accessory (an impressive achievement considering the Laserscope's awfulness), Brøderbund's U-Force controller used infrared sensors and programmable switches to recognize players' hand movements and send commands to the NES. Check out the company's corny ad copy from 1989:
"Introducing U-Force, the revolutionary controller for your Nintendo Entertainment System. So hot, no one can touch it. Now you can feel the power without touching a thing. It's U-Force from Brøderbund -- the first and only video game controller that, without touching anything, electronically senses your every move. And reacts.
There's nothing to hold, nothing to jump on, nothing to wear, U-Force creates a power field that responds to your every command--making you the controller. It's the most amazing accessory in video game history -- and it will change the way you play video games forever. It's the challenge of the future. U-Force. Now nothing comes between you and the game."
Gamers who purchased the peripheral quickly learned that it didn't work as well as advertised, usually after Punch-Out!!'s Glass Joe wiped the floor with them for the third time in a row while they used the U-Force. It was universally regarded as a terrible accessory, which is probably why THQ opted to not publish Brøderbund's U-Force Power Games for the NES after acquiring the company's video game division in 1990.
U-Force Power Games included four games specifically developed for the accessory -- Power Field B-Ball, Nuclear Rat Attack, Rock on Air, and Hose'Em Down. The title was previewed by at least six magazines, according to Universal Videogame List, which described the four activities:
- "Power Field B-Ball was a one-on-one basketball game requiring two U-Force controllers to be fully enjoyed.
- Nuclear Rat Attack was a sci-fi game. The player had to defend a spaceship from mutant space rats. (Speculation: 3D whack-a-mole?)
- Rock on Air was a rock band simulation featuring a music synthesizer. Hand movements were translated into sounds to compose songs.
- Hose 'Em Down was a comedy fire-fighting game. Described as Keystone Cops with firefighters. The goal was to rescue people from burning buildings with a focus on disparate jumpers. If any civilians in distress did not want to jump, the player could convince them with a high powered water cannon."
NintendoAge, the same gaming community that raised $1500 to purchase and release the ROM for Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch, pooled $500 to do the same with a copy of U-Force Power Games discovered by prototype/rarity hoarder Jason "DreamTR" Wilson.
As rumors of U-Force Power Games's ROM release spread, Skyrbe, who had another prototype of the game, agreed to dump and release his version as well, so there are now two versions you can download for free!
U-Force Power Games unfortunately isn't much fun played on an emulator, as it require a U-Force controller (I presume its games aren't fun with the accessory, though, either!). To help you play the game with its intended hardware, Retrozone is selling reproduction NES carts with U-Force Power Games's ROM for $30.