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A “Robot Chicken” Animator Turned A Nintendo Power Glove Into The Ultimate Stop-Motion Animation Tool

Stop-motion animation: It’s so bad.

A “Robot Chicken” Animator Turned A Nintendo Power Glove Into The Ultimate Stop-Motion Animation Tool

The Power Glove occupies a very special place in the heart of a certain type of person in their thirties: If you grew up on Nintendo, and were nerdy enough to love the idea of “wearables” more than two decades before they actually became a thing, then the glove–which theoretically sensed your movements and allowed you to control the game without touching anything, but which also barely worked–was your dream product. It was like a Kinect 25 years before the XBox One made the Kinect mandatory (at least in theory).

However, the aesthetics of the Power Glove and the fact that it had a full control pad built into it–as if Nintendo recognized in advance that the thing wasn’t going to actually work–mean that it lives on in many hearts as something other than a total disappointment. One of those hearts belongs to Dillon Markey, an animator with Robot Chicken and PESfilm, who replaced the circuit board in his old Power Glove and added Bluetooth connectivity to it, in order to turn it into a very functional tool for stop-motion animation.

Markey made a short documentary explaining both how the Power Glove works as an animation tool (it allows him to control the camera unobtrusively, without holding anything, while working with figurines) and why it occupies such a unique role in the culture of thirty-something grown-ups who grew up obsessed with Nintendo and the Fred Savage movie The Wizard. Basically all that’s left is to run to eBay and find out how much a one costs (about $100, unless it’s sealed, in which case about $500) so you can either reprogram it or just put it on and run around the backyard pretending like you’re a cyborg–which was the thing that the Power Glove was best for in 1989 anyway.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.