The Power of Glove – Documentary Review

I love learning new things, I love history and I love video games so a full on documentary about the Power Glove was right up my street. 

The Power of Glove is a documentary like you’d see on the Discovery channel not your typical YouTube history of video games, it’s really something to see the creators of and people who worked with the Power Glove talking about it, plus learning a bit more behind the people of one of the most influential failed video game products ever.

It’s a story told in a series of interviews and old footage from people who worked in the Power Glove. There are various sections about how the idea came about and was developed, who was involved. You get a brief history of the video game crash in the 80s. A long and interesting part about the run up to launch and the last minute difficulties faced getting Nintendo to agree to license the product. You find out some more about the film The Wizard which heavily features the Power Glove.

There’s interviews with people who still love and use the power glove today and extremely brief but awesome look at some amazing current things being done with the Power Glove. Sometimes I felt that the documentary was waffling a bit despite the interesting nature of the subject then came a peculiar section where the filmer’s just follow Power Glove lover “Triforce” around a small Zelda anniversary concert where you see him watching the concert with his Power Glove on and occasionally looking awkwardly at the camera. This made me think that maybe the filmmakers had run out of people to interview. 

It was an interesting watch to say the least but the whole time I had a nagging feeling, “I already know a lot of this”. This despite only knowing anything about the Power Glove due to one friend who loves it and watching the Gaming Historian on YouTube. Plus I was left with unanswered questions, how much did the Power Glove actually cost? Why did it fail? How did it work? Was it fun to use?

With nagging feeling and unanswered questions in tow I went back to the Gaming Historian who does in fact go into detail on how the glove actually works but in his more succinct, self narrated history also tells of how the cost was cut down from the horrendously expensive prototype, the price to Mattel and the consumer, it’s critical reception, it’s Japanese release, similar failing products, how it actually plays, the fact that it actually made more money than Mattel had initially forecast. Finally and most importantly that one of the people involved with the Power Glove was the father of the term virtual reality. The Gaming Historian actually answered all my questions and more.

The big difference is The Power of Glove is straight from the mouth of people who worked on the Power Glove rather than narrated by an enthusiast and that costs moolah to produce. It’s nearly an hour long and would be a must watch for fans of the glove if on the Discovery channel or YouTube but paying for a one off documentary is hard ask. I once went to the cinema to see a film about hydrofoil surfing at the request of a friend, it was very interesting but I left with a bitter taste in my mouth at paying to watch a single documentary. I can’t help but feel the same would be true here especially with the Gaming Historian’s self narrated more succinct history available free of charge. Nonetheless The Power of the Glove does provide a detailed history told in a way you just can’t get on YouTube.

The Power of Glove is available digitally on iTunes, Steam and Vimeo on demand 19th September. A big thank you to Andrew and Adam the directors of The Power of the Glove for the advanced screening.

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