This controller was built specifically for Phantasy Star Online. It's that kind of dedication that makes Sega so special. Some companies would be frustrated by the fact that their communication-heavy online game was being released on a system without proper keyboard support. They'd simply change the game to reflect the physical limitations laid before them. Not these guys. They let the free market work its wonders and the result was this clackity-assed abomination that looks like the Wii U's grandpa.
Pity the poor confused Aunt who just wanted to buy something nice for a kid who likes "the vidyagames". They don't know about IR sensors, or accelerometers, or anything else about how hardware works. They just have 50 dollars and love in their heart. Then these companies swoop in and stuff the shelves with white plastic "accessories" that do literally nothing but take up space. I'm not sure if I can call these controllers, but they were everywhere and marketed as these psuedo-enhancements that affected the gameplay. When we look back on from the past generation of gaming, we're going to see landfills overflowing with crap like the "Wii Cooking Kit" and get super depressed.
I never heard of this thing until I started researching this article and holy cow, the concept is BONKERS.
At the height of the 90s fighting games craze, there was a level of status that could be achieved by learning the various Special Moves and Fatalities in Mortal Kombat. Not a lot of status, but a quantifiable amount of prestige was there. It was a tough task for a pre-pupescent mind without access to the internet, and you couldn't just flip through a strategy guide in the middle of a 1on1 match. Thus, the S.M.A.R.T. Card Controller by the creatively named "Innovation" company. Here's how it worked: the controller had a slot in the back for pre-programmed cartridges that had all the moves for a specific character. The extra face buttons were for the pre-set moves and would execute them automatically. A cheat device that required you to buy additional expansion cards? If there has ever been a gaming peripheral that screamed "shitty rich kid" this is it.
I can think of two big pointy reasons why Batman is a terrible choice for "guys that would work as a joystick". Cheetah had a whole line of 3rd party joysticks in a spectrum of "cool" characters but it's the batman ones that stick out as being the dumbest one. Always with his arms crossed, staring at you judgementally, as if he knows you were supposed to be doing your homework. It's definitely the deadliest item we have on this list. I'm too lazy to research the case of "Cheetah Vs. A Whole Bunch of 8-Year-Olds With Mangled Bleeding Thumbs" in the legal archives, but one thing that I do know is that it definitely exists.
Attaching a beloved franchise to an unproven new control scheme? Risky.Making a peripheral that didn't work correctly? Dumb.Releasing it anyway? Very Dumb.Charging over a hundred dollars? Extremely Dumb.Doing all this after the internet existed to warn people? The Dumbest.