The Power Pad (known in Japan as Family Trainer, and in Europe and briefly in the United States as Family Fun Fitness) is a floor mat game controller for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a gray mat with twelve pressure-sensors embedded between two layers of flexible plastic. It was originally developed by Bandai.

The Power Pad, Side A
The Power Pad, Side B

Bandai first released the accessory in 1986 as the Family Trainer pack for the Famicom in Japan, and later released in the United States. Nintendo released it in 1988 as the Power Pad,[1] along with the game World Class Track Meet, which was a rebranding of an earlier game.

Overview edit

The Power Pad was originally released by Bandai as the Family Trainer in Japan in 1986, and as the Family Fun Fitness both in North America and Europe in 1987 and 1988 respectively.[2] In 1988, Nintendo acquired the rights from Bandai for the accessory in North America and renamed it the Power Pad, with the remaining Family Fun Fitness mats recalled from stores.[3] Bandai retained the rights to the product outside of North America.[4] The Power Pad sold 500,000 units in North America.[5]

European version Family Fun Fitness.

The Power Pad accessory is laid out in front of the video display for various games, generally plugged into the second NES controller port, with players stepping on the large buttons to control gameplay. There are two illustrated sides to the pad: Side A, which is rarely used, has eight buttons, while side B has twelve buttons numbered 1-12.

Games using the Power Pad often test players on their timing and coordination, memory, "running" speed, or allow them to play music with their steps. Games such as Dance Dance Revolution can trace the lineage of their control mechanisms back to the Power Pad (see dance pad).[6][7]

Revival edit

In 2007, Namco Bandai Games announced that the Power Pad would see a reappearance for the original Wii.[8] This version of the pad, called the Mat Controller, will also work in conjunction with the Wii Remote, and connects physically to the Wii console via its built-in GameCube controller ports. For later Wii models, it is incompatible as they drop the GameCube ports. It was released along with Active Life: Outdoor Challenge in North America [9] (known as Family Trainer Athletic World in Japan and Family Trainer in Europe) in 2008. Its sequel Active Life: Extreme Challenge was released in 2009.

Compatible games edit

The following is a list of all 11 video games which were created for use with the accessory. The games were developed by Human Entertainment except for the last three entries in the series. All but one of them were published by Bandai, though some were localized in North America by Nintendo.

Title Details
Athletic World

Original release date(s):[10]
  • JP: November 12, 1986 (1986-11-12)
  • NA: June 18, 1987
  • EU: June 15, 1988
Release years by system:
Famicom, Nintendo Entertainment System

Athletic World (アスレチックワールド) was developed by Human Entertainment and published by Bandai in Japan in 1986 and in North America in 1987. Athletic World was the first of ten games Bandai released for the Family Trainer series. The first edition of the game in North America features the Family Fun Fitness logo on the label and box art, and also a mention of compatibility only with FFF accessory.[11] Athletic World was the pack-in game bundled with the Family Fun Fitness.[12][13] After Nintendo bought the rights to the Family Fun Fitness pad in North America, Bandai re-released Athletic World in 1989 with an updated different box art, this time displaying compatibility with the Power Pad.[14] Unlike the box, the artwork on the label of the cartridge itself did not change for the reprint of the game although references about the Family Fun Fitness were removed from the sticker and replaced by a mention of compatibility with the Power Pad. No change at all was made to the ROM file for the second edition of Athletic World which retains the original 1987 titlescreen and copyright including the in-game mention "Family Fun Fitness". The original North American box art is now a rare item for collectors.[15] On contemporary online websites, the average price for new or CIB copies of Athletic World is significantly higher for those that were released with the Family Fun Fitness compared to the Power Pad ones.[16] But loose cartridges cost about the same price for either North American variant and both versions are typically more expansive than the Japanese carts of the game but less than their PAL counterpart.[16]

Athletic World simulates five different Olympic-style challenges — Hurdles, Hop A Log, Animal Trail, Rafting, and Dark Tunnel. Movements in the game are controlled by the player physically running, jumping, and stepping on the pad in a similar fashion to modern dance pad games. Each challenge is designed to train the player in a different manner. Hurdles tests the player on timing, while Dark Tunnel challenges the player's dexterity. This game also offers the unique feature of having players' game play experience tailored to them by asking for their Name, Age, Gender, and the current date to provide them with customized advice.

Original release date(s):[17]
Running Stadium
  • JP: December 23, 1986 (1986-12-23)

Stadium Events

World Class Track Meet
Release years by system:
Famicom, NES

Running Stadium (ランニングスタジアム, Ranningu Sutajiamu) was published by Bandai and was released in Japan in 1986 and in North America in 1987 under the title Stadium Events. However, Nintendo purchased in 1988 the North American rights to the Family Fun Fitness series and decided to market this particular game themselves.[18][19] As a result, Stadium Events was renamed and repackaged under the title World Class Track Meet, and copies of Bandai's Stadium Events were pulled from store shelves.[19] The North American release of Stadium Events has become the hardest to find game available on the Nintendo Entertainment System.[19] Stadium Events and World Class Track Meet are nearly identical to one another aside from the titlescreen.

The game features an Olympics-style competition, with events such as the 100m dash, 110m hurdles, long jump, and triple jump. Race opponents were named after animals, the slowest being Turtle and the fastest being Cheetah.

Original release date(s):[20]
  • JP: February 26, 1987 (1987-02-26)
  • NA: March 1989
Release years by system:
Famicom, NES

Known as Aerobics Studio (エアロビスタジオ) in Japan, Dance Aerobics is the third game in Bandai's Family Trainer series, and is the only music game. Unlike the two previous installments and later Street Cop, this game was never published by Bandai in North America though it still saw a release in that region by Nintendo.

Dance Aerobics features eight classes in the exercise studio. The player must follow the motions of the instructor. The score begins at 100 and decreases with each mistake. However, it goes up for each routine completed correctly.

Jogging Race

Original release date(s):[21]
  • JP: May 28, 1987 (1987-05-28)
Release years by system:

Jogging Race (ジョギングレース) is a Jogging and Hiking game released only in Japan, on May 28, 1987 (1987-05-28). It is the fourth game in Bandai's Family Trainer series.

Meiro Daisakusen

Original release date(s):[22]
  • JP: July 31, 1987 (1987-07-31)
Release years by system:

Meiro Daisakusen Maze Epic Battle (迷路大作戦) is a maze exploring game, released only in Japan on July 31, 1987 (1987-07-31). It is the fifth game in Bandai's Family Trainer series.

Street Cop

Original release date(s):[23]
  • JP: August 31, 1987 (1987-08-31)
  • NA: June 1989
Release years by system:
Famicom, NES

Released as Manhattan Police (マンハッタンポリス) in Japan,[24] Street Cop is a game where the player has to chase after criminals while jumping over things and using the club to apprehend the foes. The player has to step on the buttons corresponding to each of the cop's actions, such as moving, jumping and clubbing.

Street Cop was published by Bandai. It was released on August 31, 1987 (1987-08-31) in Japan and in June 1989 in North America.

Super Team Games

Original release date(s):[25]
  • JP: November 27, 1987 (1987-11-27)
  • NA: November 1988
Release years by system:
Famicom, NES

Super Team Games (Famitore Daiundōkai (ファミトレ大運動会)) is a game that was published by Bandai in Japan and Nintendo in North America.

Super Team Games consist of a group of different summer camp-style contests that utilized side B of the Power Pad/Family Trainer.

Totsugeki! Fūun Takeshi Jō

Original release date(s):[26]
  • JP: December 28, 1987 (1987-12-28)
Release years by system:

Totsugeki! Fūun Takeshi Jō (突撃! 風雲! たけし城) is a contest game based on the Japanese Television series game show/contest Takeshi's Castle. It was released only in Japan on December 28, 1987 (1987-12-28) and is the eighth game in Bandai's Family Trainer series.

Fūun! Takeshi Jō Two

Original release date(s):[27]
  • JP: December 20, 1988 (1988-12-20)
Release years by system:

Fūun! Takeshi Jō Two (風雲! たけし城二(ツー), Fūun! Takeshi Jō Tsū) is the sequel to Totsugeki! Fūun Takeshi Jō and is also based on Takeshi's Castle with new contests. It was released on December 20, 1988 (1988-12-20) only in Japan and is the ninth game in Bandai's Family Trainer series.

Rai Rai! Kyonshis: Baby Kyonshi no Amida Daibōken

Original release date(s):[28]
  • JP: January 26, 1989 (1989-01-26)
Release years by system:

Rai Rai! Kyonshis: Baby Kyonshi no Amida Daibōken (来来! キョンシーズ。 ベビーキョンシーのあみだ大冒険, Come come! Fallen Corpses: Baby Fallen Corpse's Amedia Great Adventure) is the tenth and final game released for the Family Trainer series by Bandai, and it was released only in Japan on January 26, 1989 (1989-01-26).

Original release date(s):[29]
Release years by system:

Short Order/Eggsplode! is a game compilation was developed and published by Nintendo — with no involvement from Bandai — in November 1989. Short Order, features gameplay similar to that of Atari's arcade game, Touch Me, and Milton Bradley's electronic memory game, Simon, where the player must build a hamburger by remembering the order of ingredients that the customer puts out. Eggsplode! involves a group of twelve hens on their nests and an anthropomorphic canine character that comes along and puts a bomb under them, the player must step on the appropriate position to extinguish the bombs before they explode, while ignoring the eggs laid by hens. This was the final game released for the Power Pad.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Bogost, Ian (2005). The Rhetoric of Exergaming. Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved on 8 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Is this the world's most expensive computer game?".
  3. ^ "10 Very Rare (And Very Expensive) Video Games". Mental Floss. 16 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Why Stadium Events is One of the Rarest NES Games, Plus How to Spot It".
  5. ^ Sheff, David (1994) [1993]. "Game Masters" (PDF). Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World. Vintage Books. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-307-80074-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-01-02. Retrieved 2021-01-02. Nintendo made a deal with Bandai to sell the Power Pad with the NES in America, and half a million units were sold.
  6. ^ Webster, Andrew. Roots of rhythm: a brief history of the music game genre. Ars Technica. 3 March 2009.
  7. ^ Kohler, Chris. Out of Control: The Craziest Game Controllers Evar - Atari Vs. NES Archived 2016-05-30 at the Wayback Machine. 11 July 2006.
  8. ^ "The Power Pad Returns". IGN. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  9. ^ Boyes, Emma (2007-09-20). "TGS '07: Namco Bandai embraces Active Life". Gamespot. Retrieved 2007-09-20.
  10. ^ "Athletic World trademark". U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. 1989-01-31. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  11. ^ "Game Guide". The Official Nintendo Player's Guide. Nintendo of America. 1987. p. 134.
  12. ^ "The five previous licensees" (PDF). Computer Entertainer. Vol. 6, no. 3. June 1987. p. 11.
  13. ^ "CES: Bandai Unveils New Way to Play NES Games". 10 January 1987.
  14. ^ "Bandai advertisement page" (PDF). VideoGames & Computer Entertainment. No. 6. Larry Flynt Publications. July 1989. p. 81.
  15. ^ "WTB NES FFF Athletic World box $375 Bounty!!".
  16. ^ a b "Athletic World Prices | Athletic World Game List".
  17. ^ "World Class Track Meet Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  18. ^ "Activity at Nintendo's CES "Mega-Booth"" (PDF). Computer Entertainer. Vol. 7, no. 3. June 1988. p. 9.
  19. ^ a b c "The Quest for the Golden Nintendo Game". September 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "Dance Aerobics Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  21. ^ "Family Trainer: Jogging Race Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  22. ^ "Family Trainer: Meiro Daisakusen Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  23. ^ "Street Cop Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  24. ^ Bailey, Kat (12 August 2014). "You're a Loose Cannon: The Challenge of Making a Good Police Game". USgamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  25. ^ "Super Team Games Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  26. ^ "Family Trainer: Tostugeki! Fuuun Takeshi Shiro Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  27. ^ "Family Trainer: Fuuun! Takeshi Shiro 2 Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  28. ^ "Family Trainer: Rairai Kyonshizu: Baby Kyonshii no Amida Daibouken Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  29. ^ "Short Order / Eggsplode Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20.

External links edit