The U-FORCE is a (basically) hands-free NES controller created by Brøderbund Software (the company that released the "Where in ___ is Carmen Sandiego?" series). It looks like a little laptop when it's open, if you've never seen a picture. One of its main purposes was to make controls on Mike Tyson's PunchOut!! more realistic (i.e. your punching motions would be mimicked by Little Mac). The main unit of the U-FORCE consists of 10 sensors, a "START" and "SELECT" button, turbo switches (for the "A" and "B" buttons), and four game switches. It can be opened to three different positions, closed for easy carrying, and comes with a "T-Bar," firing grips, and a "Power Bar." The manual calls these positions standard, standard with tilt, and flat. In standard position, the U-FORCE is opened to an 85° angle. The standard with tilt position is where the U-FORCE is tilted back a little to form a 110° angle, hence the clever name. Flat is, well, flat.

The "T-Bar":
This little T-shaped bar fits in a small pit on the bottom section of the U-FORCE. The tips are set up so that a pair of firing grips (see next part) can be fixed onto the sides. The T-Bar could be moved up, down, left, and right.

The firing grips: These can either be hooked onto the T-Bar or used alone. They each have a red firing button on the top. When pressed, small discs on the bottom flip to reflect the infrared light emmitted from the sensors.

The "Power Bar": This is placed on the bottom part of the U-FORCE. It has two reflectors on each end that bend the infrared light at a 90° angle so the U-FORCE has additional input as to what you are doing. This is only used for Mike Tyson's Punch Out (it was also intended for use with games made just for the U-FORCE which, incidentially, were never made).

Most people haven't even heard of this short-lived device. And there is a reason. The long and the short of it was that the U-FORCE didn't work well. At all. One more "neat idea" that fell apart during implementation.

Thanks to Ted Michael for much of this node


From an old U-FORCE advertisement:

"Now you can feel the power without touching a thing. It's U-FORCE from Broderbund -- the first and only video game controller that, without touching anything, electronically senses your every move. And reacts. There's nothing to hold, nothing to jump on, nothing to wear. U-FORCE creates a power field that responds to your every command -- making you the controller. It's the most amazing accessory in video game history -- and it will change the way you play video games forever. It's the challenge of the future. U-FORCE. Now nothing comes between you and the game."

The U-FORCE is copyright © 1989 Brøderbund Software, Inc.

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