Activator Fantasy Vs. Reality

Not even Sega’s slick marketing could get people to buy this turkey…

Released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis, the Sega Activator was billed as a full-body controller that cost $150.

Basically, it was 8 infrared sensors arranged in an octagon. When your arm or leg passed over one of the 8 sides, it activated a corresponding button press in the game.

Aside from eventually wearing you out if you’re playing a movement-intense game, the biggest problem Sega should have noticed is that it takes a lot longer to move your arms and legs in a sequence to do something like throw a fireball in Street Fighter II than it does to just move your thumbs in tiny amounts to accomplish the same task. So, even if you retrained your brain to move your body to play a game instead of your thumbs, your characters could never move as quickly or as precisely.

Needless to say, this thing tanked.

Here is the instruction video for the Activator that shows off what it can do. Skip to 3 mins 30 seconds to observe the fantasy of using the Activator:

Now, skip to 3 mins and 30 seconds on this video to see what the reality of the Activator really looks like: