Mindlink Pic 1

  • Look ma, no hands! With Atari's new Mindlink controller, your hands are free to eat, knit, file your nails or whatever, while you play computer games. The infrared sensors wrap around your forehead with Velcro straps and plug into the MindLink transmitter, which plugs into the Atari Computer, VCS or 7800 game system. It doesn't really read your mind, but it does detect muscle impulses when you move your eyebrows. The $100 device was to play games like Breakout, and Atari claimed that software would be available on ESP, thought games, memory and biofeedback. Groucho Marx would have been great at this.

    Mindlink Pic 2

  • At the Summer CES Show in 1983, Atari unveiled the Mindlink to an unreceptive audience. The Mindlink confused just about everyone who tried it with Bionic Breakthough, the showcase title for the peripheral. Bionic Breakthrough was the same game as Breakout but was reprogrammed to work with the Mindlink. Using the muscles in ones head, a person was to control the paddle at the bottom of the screen. Needless to say, people began to suffer from headaches as soon as the pace of the game started to quicken.

    Mindlink Pic 3

  • One of the more hilarious moments of the Mindlink's introduction came when one of Atari's executives strapped on the controller onto his forehead in front of an amused audience. Why were they laughing, other than the fact that the Mindlink was a joke? The device fell from his forehead and broke! Needless to say, Atari's decision not to release the Mindlink has to be considered one of the few good moves they made in the period immediately before the videogame market crash.

    Mindlink Pic 4

  • The picture above is a prototype of the Mindlink controller. It is fully operational with Bionic Breakthrough and Mind Maze, although you're probably better off not spending too much time with these games .

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