Based on the much more sophisticated (and expensive) VPL Data Glove, the Power Glove is a combination motioncontroller and NES control-pad. Two ultrasonic speakers embedded in the glove take turns transmitting inaudible bursts of sound to three receivers placed around the television. By measuring the amount of time between transmission and reception, the system can detect (using complicated maths) the position of the Power Glove in space, specifically its yaw and roll.
So you’d put it on and move your hand around and it would translate to on-screen action. Nintendo’s marketers conjured imagery of realtime fistfights with virtual martial arts masters and 1:1 recreations of sports like fencing and golf. The reality was quite different.
Made with cheap components, the Power Glove seldom functioned as intended. Input lag was a constant, frustrating companion, while the system’s sound-based positioning system proved unreliable at best, rendering motion controls all but useless.
As is typical of failed peripherals, Power Glove suffered for lack of supporting software. Although all NES titles were technically compatible with it, only two games made to take advantage of it's unique features: Super Glove Ball, a clunky puzzler developed by Rare that played a bit like a 3D Arkanoid, and Bad Street Brawler, an excruciating beat-emup made by Australia’s own Beam Software. That was it. Two other games – Glove Pilot and Manipulator Glove Adventure – were announced, but quietly cancelled when it became clear the Power Glove had bombed.
And bomb it did. Originally released with an RRP of $75.00 USD, the Power Glove was savaged by the media and received with total indifference by the public. Within weeks of going on-sale, retailers across America and Japan were heavily discounting it. Within a few months you could get one for 20 bucks, brand new. When production was discontinued in 1990, total global sales were just shy of 100,000.