Retro Blast: The Power Glove Instruction Manual from 1989

Over the weekend, my boyfriend was at his parent’s house digging through some boxes of old junk in the basement when he unearthed something that could practically be considered an archaeological discovery by gamer’s standards: the original Power Glove Instruction Manual from 1989!  And in almost perfect condition!

As soon as I got over my immediate jealousy that he owned the Power Glove as a kid and I didn’t, I began to wonder if it might be worth anything—not necessarily in terms of money, but worth the information and nostalgia.  After all, only 100,000 Power Gloves were sold in the U.S, and how many of them still have the instruction manual intact?  Although I’ve played with a Power Glove before (and was thoroughly disappointed by the experience), I can’t recall ever having seen an original instruction manual.  So I did a few Google searches to see what was out there.

To my surprise, I couldn’t find a complete scan of the manual; only this text version, and a few scanned images of random pages.  And that’s really too bad, because the Power Glove manual is a veritable goldmine of lulz.

I knew what I had to do. (Skip Ahead to Download)

Lucas is a Lie

Just from a casual glance through the thirty-five page instruction manual (yes, thirty-fucking-five pages!) it is readily apparent how complicated the Power Glove is to use.  Can you imagine giving this thing to an excited little kid and then witnessing their sheer disappointment when they couldn’t get it to work because GOD DAMMIT you have to program it first using a series of complicated gestures and button-pressing sequences.  And if it still didn’t work (which it inevitably didn’t) you were encouraged to call a 1-900 Mattel number for “assistance” and charged $1.50 for the first minute, $.75 for each additional minute.

In reality, this “new dimension of gameplay” the manual describes is a far cry away from those rad moves Lucas showed off in The Wizard. I guess that’s why Mattel felt it was necessary to dumb things down for the kiddies.

Enter “Glove Master” and “Little Digit”

Meet “Glove Master” and “Little Digit”, a pair of white, non-threatening, casually-dressed cartoon characters who exist solely to explain away the complexities of operating the Power Glove with helpful illustrations and what can best be described as church pamphlet humor.

But are “G.M.” and “L.D.” (as they like to call each other) all that they seem??  Look a little closer and you’ll see that Little Digit, a naive boy of about ten, has a habit of getting himself into some questionable situations with Glove Master, an older gentleman who refuses to take his jacket and sunglasses off even though they are both clearly indoors:

What the hell is the “Sensing Zone” and what is Glove Master doing with his hands hidden behind the TV?  Also, apparently Glove Master likes to communicate via his crotch:

Didn’t I say it was a goldmine?  For an amusing if slightly creepy snapshot of video gaming life in 1989, I highly recommend you read the whole thing, which was painstakingly scanned and PDF’d by yours truly.


You can download the full scan (PDF format) from RapidShare here:

Nintendo Power Glove Instruction Manual – 1989 (PDF)

You’re welcome, Internet!

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