Expensive, outrageous, and dreadful gaming gadgets

Some people have more money than sense, and tech products that you and I may consider frivolous are generally sold to these kinds of people.

But even those with a fat bank balance and wet teabags for brains would think twice before buying some of the items profiled below.

From the ridiculous, to the insanely expensive, to the poorly timed, we present to you a list of expensive, outrageous, and failed tech and gaming gadgets from the past and present.

The Emperor Workstation

Emperor LX

Designed by MWE Lab, The Emperor Workstation looks like something JP from Grandma’s Boy would put on his Christmas wishlist. Available in two variants, the Emperor 1510 and the Emperor LX, the “computer workstation” is hand made in Canada and is punted as the perfect set up for those who spend hours in front of a PC.

There are two problems with the Emperor: you must look ridiculous sitting in it; and it costs more than a holiday to Italy. The 1510 retails for $5,950 (R63,700.00), while the LX model will cost you $21,500 (R230,000). Oh, and you still have to purchase the extras. Such as a laptop tray. And a side table. And the monitors.

Nintendo Virtual Boy

Virtual Boy

The Nintendo Virtual Boy was marketed as the first portable gaming device when it was released in 1995. The price – $180 (R1920.00) – was a lot for the mid 90s.

Unfortunately the Virtual Boy was a commercial flop and it was discontinued in 1996. The Boy debuted with Mario’s Tennis, Red Alarm, Teleroboxer, and Galactic Pinball, but even those four fine games displayed in “true 3D” through the cool-looking goggles could not keep the device afloat.

But credit must be given where it is due – I am sure Oculus VR and Project Morpheus took some inspiration from Nintendo’s mistake.



The Gyroxus, described as a full motion video game controller, allows the gamer to experience all the joys of a tilting chair while playing a game at the same time. In essence, the gamer feels the motion their character would in the game.

The chair, which is compatible with PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, does not have any motors and the user either leans or moves the central pivot arm to attain the “next level in video gameplay” motion.

My colleagues tried this out a while back and weren’t too impressed, and I prefer to be stationary when playing Madden – not rolling from side to side while dodging tackles. An “almost new” Gyroxus can be picked up online from between R2,500 to R3,500.

Bionic Boppers

Bionic Boppers

Bionic Boppers

Yes, they are giant boxing robots that you drive from the safety of their caged belly. Almost a real-world Fight Night, if you will. Each driver hops in and aims to deliver as many uppercuts as possible to the opponent’s robo-chin.

“Similar to bumper cars, a driver sits inside the robot’s protective steel cage cockpit and uses a thumb-triggered button on two independent joysticks to activate two pneumatic-powered, tire-tread-fisted arms,” the product profile reads. The fighters are powered by a Honda engine and can speed around at just under 5km/h. The price of these bad boys, $17,000 (R181,000) per pair.

The Sega Activator


The Sega Activator was an octogonal motion sensing ring that replaced a traditional control on the Sega Genesis. Hailed as the world’s first motion controller, the Activator was launched in 1993 for the price of $80 (R850.00) according to Giant Bomb (and $150 according to the 90s TV host in the video below).

Among the titles that supported the peripheral were Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II: Championship Edition. Needless to say the Activator was a failure, due in part to the fact that roof fans and vaulted or mirrored ceilings interfered with the device’s IR beams. A lack of support and the high cost put the final nails in the coffin.

Have we missed any of what you find to be outrageous tech or gaming gadgets? Let us know in the comments and forum.

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Expensive, outrageous, and dreadful gaming gadgets

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