Talk:Video game accessory

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I would generally agree with your definition of accessory here, other than to argue a difference between an accessory and a peripheral or add-on. You accounted for most of the big accessories like controllers, cables, memory storage, etc, but you left out a section for console-specific add-ons like GameCube's Game Boy Player. I would say there is a significant difference between a standard accessory like a controller, and an attachable device like Genesis's Sega CD which allows a user to play the main console in a completely new way. Other examples off the top of my head: Super Game Boy, e-Reader, 64DD, Aladdin Deck Enhancer, and XDeck (unofficial). The problem is there are lots of things that could possibly fit into either category. Drive upgrades (Xbox 360 HD DVD)? Link cables (Game Boy)? Cheating devices (Game Genie)? Game Boy Camera? Game Boy Printer? Actually it doesn't seem too difficult to me to decide what goes where, but I'm not sure everyone would agree with me. I'd put drive upgrades, link cables, cheating devices, and Game Boy Printer under accessories, and Game Boy Camera under peripherals along with GB Player, Aladdin DE, e-Reader, Super GB, 64DD, XDeck, and Sega CD. Anyway, I'm going to add a section for add-ons, feel free to put stuff in, take stuff out, argue why there is no difference between an accessory and a peripheral, etc. If the add-on section eventually gets too big, just give it it's own article and link to it. --CBecker 07:04, 24 April 2007 (UTC)


I'm afraid I'm still unable to discover a difference between accessories, add-ons, and peripherals. From the definitions currently supplied in their respective articles there appears to be a great deal of overlap in terminology. Would it not be accurate to say, for instance, that "a distinct piece of hardware that enriches the video game's play experience" (i.e. a video game accessory) is "a piece of computer hardware that is added to a host computer ... in order to expand its abilities" (i.e. a peripheral)? It seems as though the two terms are used to refer to hardware in relation to its degree of optionality with peripherals being more optional and accessories being more required, however this strikes me as quite subjective. Perhaps this could be defined in terms of standard inclusion with basic console sets as opposed to separate purchases such that accessories are those independently replaceable devices which come bundled with a basic console set and peripherals are all extraneous purchases. If this is the case, however, problems arise where there are more than one common bundling scheme, when objects like the Super Mario Bros. cartridge (originally bundled with the NES) are considered, and in cases where hardware components like the 10NES chip (a non-essential lockout chip) are considered by some to be "independently replaceable." Anyway this proposed definition completely disagrees with a scheme under which cheating devices and Game Boy Printers are considered accessories (see above).
It is clear to me that the definitions must be improved, but until they are the two terms are little better than synonyms. My hope is that by suggesting this merger and discussing the terms we can gain consensus as to a strict definition. -Thibbs (talk) 19:41, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I'll throw in my two cents here. I see four possible relevant categories: Console, Game, Accessory, and Peripheral. Console would refer to the basic console deck with nothing attached. Everything else that is used with a console, besides the games, would either be an accessory or a peripheral. If in doubt, I would put it in the accessory category. I would reserve the term peripheral for a device that adds significant new functionality to the console. I am not referring to an accessory that merely enhances a game which is otherwise played in the way the console was designed to play it (like a rumble pak or modem). I am talking about a device that allows you to play a game or use a function that you couldn't have played or used with the console alone. I'm glad you brought this up because there is apparently some confusion over what belongs in the Add-ons/Peripherals section. So here's several examples using some of the entries that have been added since my last edit: Sega 32X, Famicom Data Recorder, N64 Expansion Pak, Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter, Play-Yan, and Game Boy Printer.
Now, the Sega 32X is a device that plugs into a regular Sega Genesis. It modifies the Genesis allowing it to play 32-bit games as well as regular 16-bit Genesis games. A regular Genesis will play 16-bit games, but will not play 32-bit games. Therefore, the 32X is a peripheral, not an accessory.
The Famicom Data Recorder is essentially an old school save cartridge. A Famicom with this device will play all regular Famicom games, but so will a Famicom without this device. No games actually require the Data Recorder in order to be played, only to save data. Saving data is not 100% required to play any game, unlike the previous example where the extra processors in the Sega 32X were required to play some games. Because it adds functionality, but not functionality that was 100% required by any game, the Data Recorder is actually an accessory, not a peripheral.
The N64 Expansion Pak is a good one I might not have thought of. With it installed, certain games for the N64 achieve improved graphics and sound, which would make it an accessory...if it weren't for the fact that certain games actually require it to play. An N64 with the Expansion Pak installed will play regular and enhanced N64 games, whereas an unmodified N64 cannot play certain Expansion Pak enhanced games. This means the Expansion Pak is a peripheral.
The GameCube modems are devices that let you play certain games online. Without the modem installed, those online-capable games are still playable offline. The modems add a new feature and game mode to the game. They add functionality. But since games that make use of the modems don't 100% require the modems to be played, the modems are accessories, not peripherals.
The Play-Yan is a little device that goes in a Game Boy Advance to add mp3 playback functionality. It needs a GBA to work; it will not work standalone, so it isn't an mp3 player. A GBA does not, on its own, offer mp3 playback functionality, so the Play-Yan is definitely adding new functionality. In fact, you can say that the Play-Yan changes the Game Boy Advance into an mp3 player. Therefore, the Play-Yan is a peripheral. I would say that if the Play-Yan simply plugged into an accessory port on the GBA for power/inputs but still allowed games to be played while in use, I would call it an accessory. If it simply used the GBA to charge its batteries and could then be removed and function standalone, I would call it an mp3 player. But since you plug it into the GBA and the GBA's function is changed, that makes it a peripheral.
A similar example is the Game Boy Camera peripheral, which changes the function of the Game Boy from a portable game console to a digital camera. The Game Boy Printer, however, simply adds additional (non-required) functionality without changing the function of the Game Boy. I would therefore say the printer is an accessory. If it plugged into the game port like the camera did, I would call it a peripheral, or if it wasn't marketed specifically for the Game Boy and worked with other devices as well, I would just call it a thermal printer.
Now the one potential problem I see with this rule of definition is controllers. For home consoles, one controller is generally required to play any game. Additional controllers add multiplayer functionality, but they aren't required, per se. This would make first player's controller a peripheral and second player's controller an accessory, which is not very convenient for categorizing controllers. For this reason, I think controllers should either be exceptionally considered accessories despite the requirement for one of them in order to play games, or should be considered neither accessory nor peripheral but a category of its own. Hope this has helped! CBecker (talk) 11:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)