Power Pad

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

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.

Bandai first released the accessory in 1986 as the Family Trainer pack for the Famicom in Japan, and later released in the United States under the name Family Fun Fitness.[citation needed] 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]

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 from 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).[2][3]

Revival[edit]

In 2007, Namco Bandai Games announced that the Power Pad would see a reappearance for the Wii.[4] This version of the pad will also work in conjunction with the Wii Remote. It was released as Active Life: Outdoor Challenge in North America [5] (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]

There are 11 games in total which were created for use with the Power Pad. All but one of them were developed and published by Bandai, though some of them were rebranded and republished by Nintendo. The following is a list of all games that were developed and released for the Power Pad:


Title Details
Athletic World

Original release date(s):[6]
  • JP November 12, 1986 (1986-11-12)
  • NA 1987
  • EU June 15, 1988 (1988-06-15)
Release years by system:
Famicom, Nintendo Entertainment System
Notes:

Athletic World (アスレチックワールド?) was developed and published in Japan by Bandai in 1986 and was published in North America by Nintendo in 1987. Athletic World was the first of ten games Bandai released and/or developed for the Family Trainer series. The first editions of the game featured the Family Fun Fitness logo on the label, and also a mention of compatibility only with FFF accessory. Once Nintendo bought the rights to the Family Fun Fitness pad, they re-released Athletic World with an updated label, this time displaying compatibility with the Power Pad. The second edition of the game also featured a different box, making the original box a rare item for collectors.[7]

The game simulated 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):[8]
Running Stadium
  • JP December 23, 1986 (1986-12-23)

Stadium Events

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

Running Stadium (ランニングスタジアム Ranningu Sutajiamu?) was developed and published by Bandai and was released in Japan in 1986 and in North America in 1987 under the title Stadium Events. However, shortly after release, Nintendo purchased the North American rights to the Family Fun Fitness series and decided to market the series themselves. As a result, Stadium Events was renamed and repackaged under the title World Class Track Meet, and all Family Fun Fitness mats and copies of Stadium Events were pulled from store shelves. Stadium Events has become the hardest to find licensed game available on the Nintendo Entertainment System; there exist fewer than 10 known complete (cartridge, manual, and box) copies of Stadium Events. The game is so rare that a boxed copy sold with a NES system for over $13,000 on eBay in February 2010. Subsequently, a sealed copy of Stadium Events was sold on January 22, 2011 for $22,806 by user golfgirl2390.

Despite the changes, the three games remain identical to one another, aside from the name change on the title screen. The game featured 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):[9]
  • JP February 26, 1987 (1987-02-26)
  • NA March 1989
Release years by system:
Famicom, NES
Notes:

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. Just as with Athletic World and World Class Track Meet, Dance Aerobics was published in Japan by Bandai and in North America by Nintendo. It 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):[10]
  • JP May 28, 1987 (1987-05-28)
Release years by system:
Famicom
Notes:

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):[11]
  • JP July 31, 1987 (1987-07-31)
Release years by system:
Famicom
Notes:

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):[12]
  • JP August 31, 1987 (1987-08-31)
  • NA June 1989
Release years by system:
Famicom, NES
Notes:

Released as Manhattan Police (マンハッタンポリス?) in Japan,[13] 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 developed and 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):[14]
  • JP November 27, 1987 (1987-11-27)
  • NA November 1988
Release years by system:
Famicom, NES
Notes:

Super Team Games (Famitore Daiundōkai (ファミトレ大運動会?)) is a game that was also developed and published by Bandai. Super Team Games consisted 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):[15]
  • JP December 28, 1987 (1987-12-28)
Release years by system:
Famicom
Notes:

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):[16]
  • JP December 20, 1988 (1988-12-20)
Release years by system:
Famicom
Notes:

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):[17]
  • JP January 26, 1989 (1989-01-26)
Release years by system:
Famicom
Notes:

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 a game loosely based on the Taiwanese-Japanese TV series Hello Dracula. It 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):[18]
Release years by system:
NES
Notes:

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 a wolf 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. ^ Webster, Andrew. Roots of rhythm: a brief history of the music game genre. Ars Technica. 3 March 2009.
  3. ^ Kohler, Chris. Out of Control: The Craziest Game Controllers Evar - Atari Vs. NES. 1UP.com. 11 July 2006.
  4. ^ "The Power Pad Returns". IGN. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  5. ^ Boyes, Emma (2007-09-20). "TGS '07: Namco Bandai embraces Active Life". Gamespot. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Athletic World Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  7. ^ http://www.rfgeneration.com/forum/index.php?topic=6196.msg93355
  8. ^ "World Class Track Meet Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  9. ^ "Dance Aerobics Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  10. ^ "Family Trainer: Jogging Race Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  11. ^ "Family Trainer: Meiro Daisakusen Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  12. ^ "Street Cop Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ "Super Team Games Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  15. ^ "Family Trainer: Tostugeki! Fuuun Takeshi Shiro Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  16. ^ "Family Trainer: Fuuun! Takeshi Shiro 2 Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  17. ^ "Family Trainer: Rairai Kyonshizu: Baby Kyonshii no Amida Daibouken Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  18. ^ "Short Order / Eggsplode Release Date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 

External links[edit]