The Nintendo Power Glove may have failed as a game controller, but animator Dillon Markey has given it a new lease on life. With a few modifications and design tweaks, he’s revived the Glove and put it to use as an ingenious stop-motion animation tool.
Now, for those of you who might’ve been too young to experience the Nintendo Power Glove firsthand during its heyday, allow us to explain: Power Glove was essentially a new type of controller designed to be worn on your hand, and when it came out in 1989, pretty much nobody liked it. Nintendo’s adverts made it look totally kick-ass, but shortly after the glove was released, people began to realize that it was horrible for controlling games, so it eventually died off.
His idea to use it as a stop-motion animation controller was hatched after years of frustration with a tedious and inefficient workflow. During shoots, Markey would constantly have to move back and forth between his computer, the camera, and the puppet stage, so getting a single frame sometimes took up to 10 or 15 minutes. That’s not exactly ideal when your video is comprised of thousands of individual shots.
He needed something better; something wireless that wouldn’t get in the way, and as a guy who grew up in the late 80’s, the Power Glove was an obvious choice. He just needed to reprogram it. With a little bit of help from an electrical engineer, he managed to equip the glove with Bluetooth connectivity and custom controls mapped to his computer.
Markey also added a few clever analog modifications as well. To help with small adjustments on the puppets (eyebrows, mouths, fingers, etc), his glove is outfitted with a set of auto-retracting tweezers that snap back into place when he lets go of them.
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