Top Ten: Greatest Nintendo Peripherals

A look back at some of the greatest add-ons and peripherals to ever grace Nintendo systems.

By Kyle England. Posted 08/27/2013 10:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

3. Game Link Cable – Game Boy – 1989

Nintendo revolutionized portable gaming with the Game Boy, and with a single cord, the games were able to expand into something more. The Game Link Cable launched with the original device in 1989 and remained a staple of portable multiplayer gaming for 15 years. The idea was simple yet brilliant– by design, handhelds were made with solo play in mind, but by using a cable, you could communicate information between devices and play with multiple people!

However, we all probably know the Game Link Cable for its use in one incredibly important Game Boy franchise: Pokémon. With the release of the first Pocket Monster games, Nintendo breathed new life into that wire. The classic games used multiplayer functionality in a variety of interesting ways– not only could you battle players, but you could trade and share information that you could then keep on your cartridge forever. Seasoned Pokémon trainers surely had creatures from several different cartridges at any given time.

The Game Boy Game Link Cable went on to have 4 different versions: the original, the smaller version for Game Boy Pocket and Color, the Advance version, and the seldom used Game Boy Micro edition. It even spawned a wireless offshoot in the form of the Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter, which just served as a neat substitute that worked with a couple dozen games.

We live in a wireless world today, so the Game Link cable is sadly no more. Ever since the original Nintendo DS in 2004, we’ve been able to benefit from having wireless multiplayer built right in. However, those of us who remember untangling a cable and jiggling a plug to trade Pokémon will always have a special place in our hearts for the cord that changed how we shared game information forever.

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3 Responses to “Top Ten: Greatest Nintendo Peripherals”

  • 1558 points
    penduin says...

    Technical nitpick: The NES Zapper doesn’t need a curved CRT, just a sufficiently bright and fast (fast being the sticking point with modern TVs) display. Pull the trigger and the screen goes black, with a bright box covering one “hit” zone, for one 60th of a second per on-screen target. Some games let you aim at a light bulb and win, if it wasn’t checking for dark during the surrounding frames.

    The Super Scope was even crazier; its hit or miss mechanism was actually based on the timing of when individual pixels were being lit on the screen within that 1/60th of a second timeslice. (Notice how no Super Scope game ever used very dark colors?)

    We might someday build a plasma or LCD bright and fast enough to work with the Zapper, but the Super Scope has almost no chance. :^)

  • 702 points
    Matthew Tidman says...

    I’m kind of sad that the power pad for NES didn’t make the list even as an honorable mention. I remember hours spent playing World Class Track Meet with that thing and trying to figure out how long I could jump off the mat before jumping back on to get insane scores. Of course, it always ended up being me and my sister kneeling next to the mat slapping the run buttons as fast as we could… Good times.

    Also, where were the good peripherals for SNES. I honestly can’t think of any besides the Super Game Boy.

  • 267 points
    decoupage says...

    The rumble pak was great for one reason… The video tape that Nintendo Power sent in the mail advertising Star Fox 64 and the rumble pak.

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