In the late 1980's, Nintendo was it. Seemingly endless gadgets and toys poured out from the video game juggernaut. Much of Nintendo's panache came form a little magazine known as Nintendo Power. I wonder how many of you were right there with me as I stared in astonishment at an issue of Nintendo Power? Here, the opening pages of the magazine were often filled with the strange and wonderful. It was here I learned about a GI's nuked Game Boy that still worked and stole my first lustful glances at that new trade show E3.
In one particular issue, I found a perplexing photo of a gregarious-looking boy with a cybernetic arm protruding from his naval. The Hands Free Controller (HFC) the boy had strapped to his chest allowed the physically disabled to operate the NES controller with the power of the "sip and puff" method. Resting on a chin strap, the player utilized the power of his/her mouth to manipulate the nozzle and interact with the on screen maneuvers. The promise of being "more fun than most physical therapy exercises" with the potential to strengthen one's neck served to bewilder my young mind further. This type of controller was presented by a Nintendo ambitious enough to want to welcome (and own) every possible corner of the gaming market. As an able-bodied person, I cannot imagine this device being that much fun to play but I will admit that if for some reason I lost function in my hands, you could be damned sure I would have asked for this product and proudly learned to "sip and puff" years before my neck would be in need of that kind of "conditioning." It sold for $179.00, including the NES control deck and game cart, but locating this relic today might run you upwards of $379.00; some might consider that a paltry sum for ownership of this special piece of "oral history!"
Announcing the Hands Free Controller! [NESPlayer]