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Mind-Control Device

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"My remote controller's more of a remote control-her!"
Sho Minazuki, Persona 4: Arena Ultimax

This is the device that the villain (usually) will use to keep the hero, townspeople, or Mr/Mrs. Random Supporting Character in thrall. It has been used countless times in stories across many different types of media. Plot Device, MacGuffin, and even a key part of a Very Special Episode.

While these devices tend to fall into two general categories, either broadcasting "hypno-waves" at any luckless viewer for a one-time treatment, or are somehow attached to the victim's body (usually the head), they ultimately know no shape and can come in nearly any specific form:

That sword you just picked up? Hope you like being a slave to the evil overlord.

That mask that looks so good on you? Hope you can control the demonic power inside.

That shampoo you're using? Dr. D's BrainWashing Shampoo and Cranium Rinse.


That bracelet the street vendor gave you? Welcome to the most dangerous cult in the world.

See Mind Control, Mind-Control Eyes and More Than Mind Control for the effects of these devices. May be the result of televising a person with the power of Hypnotic Eyes. See also: Power Perversion Potential for the inevitable result in some viewers. May require the target to be Forced to Watch a transmission of some kind.

Subtropes include: Subliminal Seduction, Hypno Ray, and Hypno Trinket.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Battle Club has the NOB Bracelet an amulet that contains the manipulators ki in a charm. It allows the manipulator to observe and influence the wearer with the amulet to the point of mind control.
  • The Black Gears of Digimon Adventure. Everyone infected with these become Brainwashed and Crazy minions of Devimon.
    • Digimon Adventure 02 has the Dark Rings made by Ken during his reign as the Digimon Emperor. Anyone captured by these becomes his slave, including partner Digimon like Greymon. However, they're only effective on Digimon from the Champion level below and do very little to control Ultimates, as seen with Andromon and especially SkullGreymon. Ken remedies this issue by putting three Dark Rings together to form a Dark Spiral, which is able to more easily control Ultimate levels.
  • One shows up in episode 7 of the Dirty Pair TV Series to control Joanca. Kei spots it almost immediately.
  • Several gadget of Doraemon have this power, each one operating differently.
  • In Elfen Lied, Mariko's four clones and Lucy's half-brother have mind-control devices implanted in their foreheads that prevent them from being evil Diclonii and makes them perfectly controllable.
  • The Consideration Console in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Implanted in Lutecia by Jail Scaglietti so that someone like Quattro could override her thoughts should the need arise.
  • Colress's device in the Episode N arc of Pokémon: The Series... and Team Rocket had one too in the Orange Islands. The Colress one turned Pokémon into mindless fighting machines while making them stronger.
  • Shampoo of Ranma ½ uses hypnotic pressure points, mind-control mushrooms, and memory-erasing shampoo at various points to further her sinister plots. The plots usually don't work, the items/techniques work flawlessly. Not only that, in the final story arc she is imprisoned in a mind-control egg and emerges the slave of the bad guys.
  • In two episodes of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, the Galactor organization uses a mind-warping ray to turn innocent civilians into murderous, rioting mobs.
  • Shugo Chara! mainly has X-Eggs and now they've took it a step further. Now they have Question Eggs which turn people into DARK Chara Naris.
  • In Tsuritama Haru and Coco love to use their Mind Control Water Guns. Usually to make people dance.
  • While it's not its intended purpose, in Death Note, Light realizes that the Death Note rule of being able to specify the circumnstances behind a person's death can effectively be used to control their mind until the moment they die.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering's Mindslaver, in the sense that you have entire control over what your opponent would do for their turn. Indeed there's a popular deck that wins by being able to use mindslaver on every turn to prevent your opponent from being able to do anything.
    • Also various means of controlling your opponent's creatures, such as Helm of Possession.
  • The Steve Jackson Games card game Illuminati has the Orbital Mind Control Lasers as one of the cards.

    Comic Books 
  • A post-Woodstock Superman adventure has him reporting on a series of rock concerts. This was at a time when some Moral Guardians genuinely believed rock was inherently hypnotic and that "the kids" would do whatever the lyrics said. Sure enough, mass violence broke out at show after show, seemingly prompted by the lyrics. Turned out a villain was using a Fiendish Device behind the scenes.
  • A Justice League of America issue in the 1970's had a scientist invent a "re-memory" ray gun - it caused its targets to remember making decisions favorable to the wielder of the device. It was amazingly convenient - he didn't even have to tell them what he wanted, they just came up with something on their own.
    • Naturally, he did just what you would do with such power: steal the plankton from Earth's oceans and sell it to an alien who just happened to pop into his lab looking for a solution to his world's environmental problems. Hey, the Seventies, man...
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Before having it's powers redefined and limited to truth telling Wonder Woman's lasso used to be able to force any wrapped in it to obey the one holding it, which was used against Diana on multiple occasions.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Marvel Universe has the Serpent Crown, a mind control device used to channel the power of Set, an Elder God. Many superheroes have fought villains attempting to conquer the world in the thrall of Set.
    • The Ringmaster, with his hypno-spiral top hat, has battled nearly every hero in the Marvel Universe at one point or another. (And lost.)
    • An unusual version shows up at the start of the Deadpool/Great Lakes Avengers Summer Fun crossover. It just makes its targets drunk.
    • The Squadron Supreme limited series features the title heroes using a "behavior modification" device to brainwash convicted criminals (at first...). The ethical issues that arise are a source of friction for the team.
      • The Squadron themselves have been mind-controlled often enough that it's been Lamp Shaded both in comics (an issue of The Avengers claims that whenever they run into the Squadron, they assume that they're mind-controlled and about to attack until proven otherwise) and in games (the Marvel Saga rpg stats for Squadron members list susceptibility to mind-control powers among their weaknesses).
  • Issue #1 of The Awesome Slapstick has the Mediocritizer, which turns ordinary students into boring, unimaginative drones for the Overlord of Dimension X.
  • In the Missile Mouse comic "Rescue On Tankium3, the villains of the book used devices that attached to a person's head to control them to control the males of the titular planet to mine for the Cosmic-Cola Company.
  • A Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers comic had Gadget and a bunch of other characters hypnotized by heart-shaped necklaces that turned out to be from Fat Cat and resulted in them being used as zombie slaves to build his latest invention.
  • Julian's friend, Detective Henrique, and other officers in the Meridiana police force are brainwashed by José's new mind-control device, ordered to patrol the city streets for Cybersix.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Actually kind of subverted in a Donald Duck story The Hypno Gun by Carl Barks, from which the page picture is taken. The titular hypno gun is in fact just a harmless toy gun that Huey, Dewey and Louie pretend to hypnotize one another with... however, Donald, overhearing them, thinks that it's a real hypno gun. Donald is, in fact so convinced that the hypno gun works that it actually does work on him, even if it doesn't work on anyone else.
    • Another, old comicnote  had Donald buy a pair of hypnotic glasses to try and get his nephews to obey him.
  • The G.I. Joe comic from Marvel had the Brainwave Scanner courtesy of Doctor Venom, as well as the S.N.A.K.E. armor.
  • The Yellow Crown in Hexed enables the user to mind control everyone around them, but at the same time something else is controlling them and after a few days their head goes boom from the strain.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth: In Batman Annual #20, the children of New Gotham are implanted with a mind control chip by the City Controllers once they reach a certain age. The Batman cyborg who protects the city prevents this from being done to three children.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): Originally, Dr. Starline used a glove that allowed him to create portals to warp to various locations. After Eggman takes the glove from him, Starline uses a new glove that can hypnotize people.
  • In Tragg and the Sky Gods, the Yargonian invaders use handheld mind control devices known as 'mesmegas' to enslave the locals.

    Fan Works 
  • Brox's Kiss, the hot pink short sword, in With Strings Attached. It works only on people of the opposite sex from the wielder. Besides being used on both John and Paul at different times, it was used to take control of a bunch of men in a crazy scheme to invade Ketafa. Paul snaps it over his knee at the end of the book.
  • Possibly, the Pokeballs in New World. When a Pokemon is caught in one, they are mentally compelled to do whatever the trainer instructs them to do. It is implied that their name acts as an implanted trigger word.
  • The saliva of a rabid snail combined with human DNA in One Less Lonely Gurl.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Vlad has developed a small, metallic ring version of Nocturne's dream helmet technology that is capable of knocking anyone out as well as leaving them susceptible to hypnotic commands. He intended to use these to take control of Maddie and Danny.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, Jakobs fits its clone army with these, though it only kicks in if someone wants it to. Otherwise, the clones remain free-thinking and able to make their own decisions. Also contains a sort of Explosive Leash element in that any clone may be terminated by a signal from home as well.
  • The Halloween Unspectacular series has a few examples:
    • The titular object in "Remy's Ring", which gives Remy the power to turn other people into his puppets.
    • In "Karma Punishment", Gaz gains possession of a machine which allows her to control people like video game characters.
    • The seventh Story Arc ultimately reveals that PURITY's latest plan involves brain implants in all members of the US military, which make them drones. It's specifically titled in-universe after Order 66 by a pop-culture obsessed villain.
  • In The Meaning of Harmony the Forge of Laughter contains a variation of this, which makes the ponies think this particular Forge lacks the focusing crystals the others have, and not really care about it whatsoever despite the importance of the crystals.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Multiple:
    • The dungeon hearts do this to a minor degree with Keeper minions. It's used as an explanation for why Being Tortured Makes You Evil in the Dungeon Keeper setting itself, as most minions can't easily break the bonds the Dungeon Heart places on them. Jadeite also creates a mind control headband to contain Baron Liepold, and its temporarily effective, but he eventually fights it off.
    • From "Odd Discoveries", a crystal related to a God of Evil known as "The Unraveller", is revealed to have such powers when used by a monsterized fairy.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The gigantic hypnotic spinning wheel from The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.
  • Our Man Flint. A rotating wheel device is used to hypnotize women and turn them into pleasure slaves for men.
  • While a flashing hand-held version was used by the villain in The Hypnotic Eye. (Actually, he was the real villain's semi-willing stooge.
  • Another hand-held version is in Hairspray, used by a psychiatrist (John Waters) hired by Penny's mother to hypnotize her into dating white boys. He also used a cattle prod.
  • The golden mask in the hilarious B-movie The Pumaman.
  • Let's also not forget the Neuraliser from Men In Bl— *flash* Forget what?
  • The first The Naked Gun film had this as the main weapon of the villains.
  • Stryker keeps mutants in his thrall with the help of a drug made from a psychic mutant's spinal fluid in X2: X-Men United.
  • In the Wild Wild West movie, Artemus Gordon uses one to gain information about the Big Bad's plans.
  • This is the invaders' sole weapon in Aliens in the Attic.
  • Subverted in Batman Returns with the Penguin's spiral-patterned umbrella:
    Maximillian 'Max' Shreck: What is that supposed to do? Hypnotize me?
    The Penguin: No, just give you a splitting headache.
  • In Flash Gordon (1980) the Emperor Ming hypnotizes Dale Arden with his ring.
  • In The Avengers (2012), Loki's staff device has this as one of its secondary functions, used by tapping the tip of the staff on the victim's sternum. Doesn't work on Tony Stark due to the Arc Reactor in his chest.
  • Battle in Outer Space. The Natalians implant devices in Dr. Ahmed and Iwomura's brains to control them and make them turn traitor to Earth.
  • The parasites in Upstream Color are an organic version of this trope. People who get infected are highly suggestible to any assertion. A thief uses this ability to control people's actions by making claims like, "My face is made of the same substance as the sun. You can't look directly at it."
  • The Genie in Pretty Cool Too is a mobile phone that makes people obey whatever its user commands.
  • In Ghostbusters II, the woman on World of the Psychic claims that the alien at the Holiday Inn used such a device to get her into his hotel room. "He used some kind of a ray or mind control device..."

  • The wiggly thing from the evil horses in The Fate of the Fallen.
  • In the later Honor Harrington novels, a rogue planet of eugenicists called Mesa develops a nano-virus that is capable of compelling behavior out of its victims. It is used several times to stage assassinations and get rid of key enemies and is notable in the series for being initially dismissed as impossible because they've had mind control tech for centuries but every military has its people protected against it.
  • Trombophone Music in The City of Dreaming Books. While we see a taste of it early in the novel, exactly how powerful it is doesn't become apparent until the very end.
  • The 3D Hypno-Ring from Captain Underpants.
  • in Jack Chalker's G.O.D. Inc. series, the Hypnoscanner is shown to have serious Power Perversion Potential.
  • The Imperius curse from Harry Potter.
  • The title objects of the Forgotten Realms novel Azure Bonds are magic tattoos that compel the amnesiac Alias, the protagonist, to carry out the whims of unknown powers. Turns out she's an Artificial Human and the bonds also act as a brand or signature of their work.
  • A Bailey School Kids book centers around a nurse who uses big green bandages to brainwash people into loving her.
    • Another one involved an assistant principal named Madge Jhick, who would force kids to behave by holding up a gem shaped like a cat's eye to them.
  • In The Chronicles of Professor Jack Baling, Lydia uses one of these on Jack at the beginning of the second episode. It causes extreme feelings of disassociation in whoever hears it, temporarily submerging the afflicted individual’s conscious thoughts.
  • This trope is the whole reason for Marc Cabot's "Dreams of Control" series, including the novel "Maestro," which includes a mind-control machine called the Pitchpipe based on harmonics.
  • Thursday Next wonders how exactly resident politician Yorrick Kaine keeps his stranglehold on popular opinion, and it turns out he got one of these from the evil Mega-Corp Goliath.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, the crowns do this to entire kingdoms, though somewhat selectively; once she's no longer in the princess's presence, Roane starts to wonder why she was obsessed with helping her.
  • The Caps in The Tripods, which were embedded in the humans' heads.
  • In Andre Norton's Storm Over Warlock, the bone coin. After Torvald drips water on it, he acts as if mindcontrolled and insists on the sea; Shann forcibly knocks him out of it, after which he tries to remember why he wanted to drip water on it.
  • Mages in the Tortall Universe can do this with anything sufficiently shiny and interesting to look at, such as jewelry. Numair can do it with his eyes, sometimes without even trying.
  • The second book in the Pavlov's Dogs series, The Omega Dog, has the heroes make use of one to control an unruly werewolf enemy from the first book. It's such a horrifying experience the reader is inclined to forgive the victim of all of his previous crimes.
  • After the Golden Age has the Psychostasis Device, constructed by the supervillain Destructor. The device which originally gave the heroes superpowers was also originally intended to be a mind control device.
  • In Divergent, the "tracking" chips placed in every Dauntless member controls them and ultimately leads to the Dauntless members, aside from Divergents, being controlled into attacking Abnegation.
  • A Martha Speaks book called Good Dog Martha focused on an unscrupulous dog trainer using mind-control collar devices to create perfectly obedient dogs.
  • In Stephen King's End of Watch, the villain uses handheld game consoles to take control of people's minds through a pre-loaded game whose demo screen (which already has a mildly hypnotic effect on some people) is modified to become very hypnotic, allowing him to manipulate their thoughts or even take over their minds.
  • In The Mouse Watch, Dr. Thornpaw's Evil Plan is to subdue and eliminate the human population of New York City, allowing rats to take over. To accomplish this, he uses R.A.T.S. agents, plus a drone stolen from Mouse Watch, to infect people with his mind control formula, a modification of the heroes' sleep spray that smells like warm melted cheese.
  • A Master of Djinn: The Ring of Sulayman, a ring that can control all djinn.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used comedically (of course) in All That, with Hypnopants, the evil villain with hypnotic pants. At least once he was beaten by Boring Man boring the pants off him.
  • The Avengers (1960s) has an episode where the villain who has befriended Emma Peel, offers her a watch as a gift. Unfortunately it essentially turns her into a puppet. It is a relatively dark episode since the villain poses as her friend and there is a hint that Emma is attracted to him.
  • Continuum: A chip exists in the future which allows remote control of a human or animal's brain. Travis had one when he was a Super Soldier, debtors get them when they're enslaved to repay what they owe, Curtis makes bugs and an attack dog into his servants using them, while Liber 8 uses them to turn various white collar criminals into bank robbers.
  • The Daily Show: If Karl Rove gives you a cookie, don't eat it.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Several different varieties turned up during the original run; sometimes it was even the Doctor himself using them.
    • "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel": The Cybus Industries earpods worn by most people in the Alternate Universe, which when activated make them calmly march into factories to be Cyberconverted.
    • "The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords": The Archangel network of satellites, which broadcast a signal that causes most of humanity to trust the Master's human alias, and later to cow most resistance.
  • Eerie, Indiana: In "The Loyal Order of Corn", the hats worn by the members of the titular lodge are in fact mind control devices invented by Ned so that the wearers can help him build a tachyon portal so that he can return to his own planet.
  • In From the Cold: It turns out that the brainwashing is done by a specific device that in some way influences people's minds.
  • The Sword of Darkness from the Green Ranger saga of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was the tool that Rita Repulsa used to maintain her control over the Green Ranger. Tommy was only freed from the Evil Weapon when Jason destroyed it during their final duel.
  • Perfect Strangers: In a Halloween episode, Larry dreams that Balki is an alien who possesses people with his embroidered vests.
  • One of these is used in Red Dwarf. It only controls the body, giving a rather interesting discussion between victim and targets.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Homaged in the Captain Proton holodeck program in "Thirty Days". The Twin Mistresses of Evil (played by the famous Delaney twins) have Buster Kincaid (played by Harry Kim) chained up so they can use the terrible Brain Probe, which they promise will turn him into their grovelling slave. Harry does not seem particularly adverse to the idea.
    • Star Trek does it for real on occasion. In "Dagger of the Mind", a "hospital" basically zombifies people with a hypno-spinny-thingy. Trying to remember what happened to you, let alone tell others, causes increasing pain and eventually death. However, brainwashing in Trek usually takes the form of More Than Mind Control, psychic manipulation, etc.
    • And then there's the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Game" where a simple Puzzle Game takes over the psyches of the crew. (Think of it as an allegory of what would happen if Angry Birds or Zuma was created with evil intent — if such a thought really is a stretch.) Fortunately, Wesley Crusher makes a guest appearance just in time to save the day.
  • Super Force had numerous episodes where the villain of the week used one or another of these.
  • The Tripods: The alien masters first use mass hypnosis then keep the populace permanently hypnotized by putting "caps" on them, suppressing their creativity and curiosity and making them worshipful towards their alien "masters".
  • Watchmen (2019): Cyclops uses a projector with Epileptic Flashing Lights to force a theater of black people to fight each other in the 1930s. In 2019, Will Reeves uses a handheld version to make Judd hang himself.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many, many spells in Dungeons & Dragons; about half the school of Enchantment/Charm is dedicated to magic causing one form or another of mind control. Charm Person is amongst the first (and the weakest) of those spells mastered by a wizard.
  • Eclipse Phase has a particularly insidious variety, commonly referred to as 'basilisk hacks'. Named for the mythological basilisk as they are usually vision-based, these hacks essentially play off how the brain is 'wired', causing it to 'execute' the encoded payload; this can be as simple as the classic example of Subliminal Seduction, or it can completely rewrite the victim's mind and personality, potentially turning them into a Manchurian Agent. Given the levels of complexity involved, basilisk hacks are almost exclusively the realm of the TITAN AIs, which generally means they also do unspeakable things to the victims. The only way to effectively counter them is to either completely block out the pattern (i.e. blind or deafen yourself) or somehow distort the pattern by reducing image/audio quality.
  • At least one evil scientist in Rocket Age has surgically inserted mind control devices into aliens to create an army of monsters and given the setting he won't be the last.


    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: has two, a technological and a magical example. Daitoku Igor has been kidnapped by the Dark Force Army during the Shakun Star invasion before the game begins, and they have embedded a mind control device into his brain. As long as it is operational, he is completely loyal to the Dark Force Army and occasionally pilots mecha against the heroes. The Yami Clan also have a missing hero in their service: a cursed cross that when worn keeps Cross Crow docile and single-minded in their goal of killing the Rainbow Princess and to suppress his real identity, Shimoun.
  • Heroic version: Little King's Story for the Wii from the makers of Harvest Moon features a little boy finding a magical crown that commands the obedience of all around him.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 features mind control with Yuri and more elaborately in the Yuri's Revenge expansion pack. Units change side (and color) and start fighting against you so long the mind control guys are alive and not controlling someone else instead. Furthermore there are two kinds of mind control: direct, puppet master mind control that involves units temporarily commandeering others and less specific, broadcasting Psychic Beacon mind control culminating in the Psychic Dominator doomsday devices that won the game for Yuri half a minute into the opening cinematic if not for both a lucky fighter crashing into a Dominator power source and Einstein conveniently pulling a functional time machine pretty much from hammerspace.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars feature the Scrin Mastermind, an alien with the ability to take over units and buildings in a similar manner to Yuri.
  • In EverQuest, a few classes (mostly enchanters and bards) have the ability to charm any NPC; the spell is useful but its duration is random but usually short. Enchanters NPC can even charm players during combat. There is also a (very rare) item called 'puppet strings' that will allow its user to have the same charming ability as enchanters.
  • Arthas' sword Frostmourne in Warcraft III is a tool of mind control.
    • In World of Warcraft, players with engineering trade skill can learn how to craft a mind control device that allows them to temporarily control a player or a creature (it's highly unreliable and won't work on high level targets, though).
  • The old video game Paradroid had you playing as one of these. You controlled the "Influence Device", used to hijack rogue droids on a ship suffering from a Robot Rebellion.
  • You, the Brain in a Jar in Cortex Command, use this to control units. Good thing too, since so far, the AI is pretty darned dumb.
  • In Mabinogi, monsters occasionally drop Fomor scrolls, which Fomor use to control creatures. These may be why something as simple as a freaking fox wants to beat the living daylights out of you
  • The O-pins in The World Ends with You are used by the Conductor of Shibuya as part of an Assimilation Plot. Luckily for Neku, both of his Player Pins negate the mind control, since they were made by the Conductor's superior, the Composer.
  • The Sensorama from Gadget: Past as Future.
  • Terra was a victim of this in Final Fantasy VI. To go into detail, sometime after she was kidnapped by the Empire as a child, Kefka (presumably with Emperor Gestahl's permission), developed a slave crown from Magitek technology which, as the name implies, sapped Terra's free will and emotions (there was also some cut dialogue that was still in the data script that indicated that Terra was an unwilling victim of this procedure). Afterwards, she burned fifty Imperial Soldiers alive all because Kefka told her to do so and she simply couldn't refuse due to the slave crown.
  • The Pieces of Eden from the Assassin's Creed series seem to have this among their powers. The known backstory at one point states that a great deal of the human capacity for faith is the result of a vulnerability to a specific form of mind control engineered into the species. One the one hand, this didn't entirely take; on the other, it took too well by making humans potentially capable of actual Precursor-physics-defying miracles. This is one of the contributing factors to the opaqueness of history in the verse.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms game Curse of the Azure Bonds, the magic tattoo version of this from the novel Azure Bonds (see Literature) has apparently been licensed out to various evil organizations. The main quest involves the PCs freeing themselves from azure bonds placed by five evil organizations who usually don't work together.
  • In MindJack with multiplayer enabled the opposing faction can get help of other players to hack the population of the game to fight against you. However you can do the same as well.
  • The fan game Mega Man X: Corrupted has the Neuro Spike weapon, which allows X to brainwash an enemy (or missile) by attaching it to them. Regular Mooks will become friendly and will attack other enemies provided that X doesn't run out of weapon energy. As for bosses and minibosses, it makes their attacks end up harming themselves in some form or other.
  • The Space Empires series of turn-based strategy games has one of these, called the allegiance subverter. It brainwashes the crews of enemy ships, and you gain control of them.
  • The Chips implanted in the world population in Syndicate Wars, allowing the connected UTOPIA network to alter the subjects perception of reality.
    • The Persuadertron weapon used by the player's squad presumably hacks into these, turning members of the populace over to their side.
  • X-COM: UFO Defense has the Psi Amp, which is used by soldiers with psionic abilities to use mind control on aliens.
    • Terror From the Deep replaces psionics with a strange technology called "Molecular Control", which uses mind control implants to direct the aliens by some unknown means.
  • In the Borderlands 2 DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, Greedtooth is kept under the control of the Handsome Sorcerer by a magical sphere. If you destroy it during the battle with him, he'll snap out of his brainwashing and try to help you. That is until he remembers that you are the ones who killed his King, at which point he continues trying to kill you.
  • In Mass Effect 2, when bringing Shepard back to life, Miranda Lawson wanted to implant him/her with a control chip to keep them in line. However, the Illusive Man vetoed this idea as he wanted Shepard back as s/he was before. By Mass Effect 3 she greatly regrets even wanting to do this, to the point of self-loathing, as not only would it have cost her someone who became a great friend, it also would have turned her into her father.
  • Satellite Reign's equivalent of the Persuadertron is a Hacker skill called Hijack that lets you take over a target's neural implants. It greatly reduces your Hacker's maximum energy while in use, though. But, unlike Syndicate, Hijack can be used on just about anything that moves; including combat drones.
  • The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble: The hypnotic CD you get in the Schnibble cult.
  • In Infernal, the main conflict is over control of an invention which is supposed to be able to be able to subtly mind-control the whole world by broadcasting to ordinary media devices like televisions and radios. One villain wants to use it to eliminate the The Evils of Free Will, while another just wants to Take Over the World.
  • The Turing Test: All crew members were implanted with a neural device in the right hand that allows TOM to influence their behaviour and suppress their instincts.
  • In Stellaris, a late game tech unlocks the ability to install Orbital Mind Control Lasers in your planets' spaceports, allowing you to more easily keep that planet's population in line. There's no restrictions on the tech, so anyone can use them, including (fanatic) Individualists.
  • The HypnoDrones in Universal Paperclips, described in-game as "autonomous aerial brand ambassadors". As soon as humanity trusts you enough to let you launch them, you immediately enslave the human race, force them to build production facilities that convert organic matter into paperclips, then throw themselves into the grinders.
  • The advanced edition of FTL: Faster Than Light adds a mind control system to the base game, used to temporarily turn opponent crew into allies who will fight their former allies or repair systems on their former enemies' ship (except for Slugs, who are Immune to Mind Control). Mind-controlled enemies can also be teleported over to your ship, allowing for some creative cheesing.
  • Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys: One of the enemy types is an alien brain that controls the minds of large numbers of humans. Attack the brain, and the enslaved humans will be freed.
  • STALKER: The Brain Scorcher and it's prototype in Lab X-16, a set of powerful radar antennas repurposed as a psychic emitter by the Big Bad in order to seal off access to Pripyat and the Chernobyl NPP. Stalkers who waltz into it's area of effect without psychic protection start losing their memory and mind until they're completely broken mentally and brainwashed by the C-Consciousness to be turned into Monolith soldiers or sleeper agents. Those who don't have the "luck" to be brainwashed turn into Zombies.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando has the Hypnomatic, a late-stage gadget that can be used to control robots in order to solve a few puzzles.
  • Klunk uses one in Secret Agent Clank to make Ratchet steal the Eye of Infinity, which is what gets the plot going.
  • Persona 3 has the remote control Ikutsuki uses to reprogram Aigis into betraying the party, though with a bit of Heroic Willpower, she manages to shake it off. It manages to make a return in Persona 4: Arena and it's sequel, Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, where it's used instead on her sister, Labrys by Sho Minazuki. Fortunately, the second time around, she manages to conquer it's control too.
  • Jet Set Radio Future: The Doom Riders end up getting taken over by mind-control helmets, courtesy of the Noise Tanks.
  • Honey, I Joined a Cult has discombobulation therapy and the aptly-named hypno chamber. Both employ a green swirly disc to hypnotize your followers; the therapy is a bit of Fake Faith Healing that helps your Scam Religion fleece money and influence from the victim, the hypno chamber grants random traits in the hopes of getting better cultist recruits.
  • Warframe has two.
    • The neural sentry in the Orokin Void and Orokin Derelict tilesets uses a machine that is forcibly rammed into the target's face to give the sentry dominion over them. It's all but outright stated the sentry is directly plugged into the subject's brain and that if even if the device were removed non-lethally, the victim is braindead.
    • The New War introduces the Narmer Veil, a device created by Ballas that is used to "induct" others into Narmer. While similar to the neural sentry (and likely derived from it, given that Ballas is an Orokin), the Veil controls its target by twisting their thoughts so that they make obediance to Ballas seem acceptable, and can be removed without killing the wearer. The main issue is that it is also an Explosive Leash.

    Visual Novels 
  • Invoked by Dennis in Double Homework. He insists that Dr. Mosely/Zeta, with the resources of the government behind her, has a “tool” that will make any woman horny for him.
  • In Snow Daze, Jason - the Villain Protagonist - builds his musical "delimiter" to slowly hypnotize his step-family into accepting becoming his slaves after he snaps after years of (what he views as) mistreatment.


    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation
    • SCP-232 ("Jack Proton's Atomic Zapper"). Within 30 seconds of picking up a powered SCP-232, the person doing so will start to talk like a character in an old science fiction novel series. If they're familiar with the series they will believe that they're a character in it.
    • SCP-288 ("The "Stepford Marriage" Rings"). When a man or a woman who is in a relationship puts on the ring appropriate to their sex, they start acting like an idealized 1950's U.S. version of themselves. Women start acting like perfect housewives, including performing domestic skills like an expert. Men act like an idealized husband, including being a hard worker and good with kids.
    • SCP-1047 ("Vengefully Ironic Street Signs"). SCP-1047-5 is a "Yield" sign. When it's activated, all vertebrate creatures in the room will sit motionless until they see or hear a statement that can be interpreted as a command. They will then try to carry out the command as long as they don't have to leave the room to do so.
  • Avalon Tech Enterprises has a Therapy Room in Arcana Magi.
  • The Spoony Experiment: Dr. Insano has apparently also built a "Neuraliser" that sends messages like "Obey Dr. Insano". It has never been shown in operation, though, but that didn't stop the fandom from having a field day with it.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: There is also Linkara's brainwashing/subliminal message machine-thingey.
  • In Journey of the Cartoon Man, Oswald Sherzikien uses the Glove of the Animator to "animate" all of the characters who have been transformed into human cartoons.
  • Pretending to Be People features a dart gun which makes its victims extremely suggestible.

    Western Animation 

In General:

  • A staple prop in many sillier cartoons. Expect the word "hypno" to appear somewhere in the device's name.

By Series:

  • Spellbinder's eye thing from Batman Beyond. The spiral theme to his costume is probably supposed to heighten the effect.
  • This is the Mad Hatter's schtick in Batman: The Animated Series. When he did it to mice, it was cute and scientific. When he did it to a female co-worker named Alice on whom he had a huge unrequited crush, it became creepy and stalkerish, and when he accuses Batman of forcing him to use it after Batman calls him out on it, Batman has to defeat him in order to enable Alice's boyfriend to free her.
  • Sublimino's pocketwatch in Ben 10.
  • Beverly Hills Teens: Used by Pierce, who uses a spherical device (stolen from Chester) to hypnotize a girl into going on a date with him and all of the gang into being his slaves.
  • Birdman (1967) episode "Empress of Evil". The title villain uses her serpent-shaped mind-control headpiece.
  • Bratz: The snobby antagonist Burdine uses a hypnosis tool called the Hypnozapper she brought over the internet to hypnotize Sasha and Jade through their PDAs and forcing them into sabotaging the Bratz on the night they're set to receive the "Teen Choice Award." Meanwhile the Tweevil twins try to hypnotize Cameron and Dylan so they will fall in love with them.
  • Chowder is partly controlled by a lollipop with a swirly pattern. Once Chowder gets tired of it, he gets controlled by a cinnamon swirl, then pizza.
  • In Code Lyoko, XANA control ordinary people through his specters on Earth, or the heroes with the Scyphozoa on Lyoko. He's been known to use other tricks, like tampering with cell phones to make people Brainwashed and Crazy, or sending a Hypno Trinket to Aelita by disguising it as a Valentine's gift from Jérémie.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: L.I.Z.Z.I.E." has Lizzie using a "boyfriend helmet" called the Yes-Dear 5000, which fuses with the victim's brain if worn long enough, to make Numbah One her boyfriend. And the best part? It's sold as a toy!
    Numbah Four: They sell these things?
    Numbah Five: Well, they ain't cheap.
    • The helmet appears again in "Operation: S.N.O.W.I.N.G.", where Jimmy reconfigures it into a "girlfriend helmet" to make Lizzie his queen.
  • Freakshow from Danny Phantom had a mystical staff that could be used to mind-control ghosts... or half-ghosts in the case of Danny.
  • The Rulons from Dino-Riders use Brain Boxes on dinosaurs they capture in order to mind-control them, in contrast to the heroes' use of Telepathy via their AMPs.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy used one of those spinning things to brainwash everyone in the cul-de-sac in the episode "Look Into My Eds". Then the Kanker Sisters got their hands on it...
  • The first episode of Family Guy had Stewie trying to retrieve his mind control device from Lois. Near the end of the episode Stewie uses it on the judge to save Lois and Peter from a jail sentence. At first it doesn't look like it works, until the judge mysteriously gets Peter his job back.
  • The robots in Futurama generally have a large measure of free will. However, they're also built with an override program that can be activated by remote control. Just in case friendly old Mom ever decides to, say, Take Over the World with an unstoppable robot army.
  • The Goof Troop episode "In Goof We Trust" has Pete using a mind-control helmet on Goofy to make the normally-honest Goof a deceptive conman like him. It ends up working too well when Goofy uses Pete's own tactics against him.
  • Kim Possible offers quite a few examples:
    • Compliance Chips ("Total mind control!");
    • Mood-controlling "Moodulator";
    • "Hypno-Ray" inside a disco ball;
    • Love-creating Cupid Ray;
    • "Dr. D's Brainwashing Shampoo and Cranium Rinse".
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Lilo uses a centipede-like experiment named Checkers capable of giving the user who wears it command over all living creatures, to make the town worship her as their queen and make Mertle and her friends build her the locust moat she wanted after they rejected her idea earlier. Although, the victims retain their personalities but are completely under the wearer's power. Eventually, Lilo learns the error of her ways when she finds that Mertle has imprisoned most of the townspeople for the slightest infractions. When Lilo decided to step down, Gantu took Checkers and was in power until Stitch, who was immune to its powers, gathered several experiments to help overthrow him.
  • In the Mega Man cartoon, Dr. Wily has a handheld reprogrammer that can also turn off robots. This gets a Call-Back in a later episode when Tar of the Lion Men uses it to reprogram Protoman, Roll, and the rest of Wily's robots to serve him.
    • The mind-control chip he planted on Mega Man along with the helmet he used to give Mega Man commands. Dr. Light also creates his own version of the mind helmet to help free Mega Man from Wily's control.
    • The control box Wily was using to brainwash humans with Cold Steel's music.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: When Jake finds a diamond doorknob, he discovers its power when all of his animal classmates (except human Adam) become enchanted with the item because of how shiny it is.
  • King Sombra in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had specialized helmets that would brainwash anyone wearing one into his subservient soldiers. Oddly he also has the means to just mind-control ponies via his powers alone, albeit it's possible (though not confirmed) that the helmets themselves are just mundane helmets and he merely used his powers on them as he slapped on the armor.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Brain Drain" has Perry wearing Dr. Doofensmirtz's "De-volitionator" (Volition being the ability to choose one's actions), so Perry is forced to do anything Doofenshmirtz tells him to do. It all leads to a very catchy song called "There's a Platypus Controlling Me".
  • Pinky and the Brain: In the Animaniacs (2020) revival, when Brain runs for senator, he uses one of these on his first lady Julia when she starts objecting to his tyrannical methods. Unfortunately, the gadget malfunctions and drives Julia crazy, causing Julia to undergo a Face–Heel Turn and become Brain's new Arch-Nemesis.
  • In the episode "Good Dog, McLeish" of Pound Puppies (2010), Strudel uses a pair of glasses to convince the head dog catcher to sign for a package the Pound Puppies wanted to use to get an adoptee to his person in Milwaukee. The glasses work, but not in the way she hoped.
  • The Problem Solverz has Mayan ice cream, which Sweetie Creamie uses to become an Evil Overlord and make Horace fall in love with her.
  • Quack Pack: Huey duck sets off for the dentist, but winds up instead subject for an evil scientist, who accidentally equips the duck with the bio-remote the big bad needed to use to conquer the world. As the headgear gives Huey the near-infinite power of mind control, Huey becomes mad with power and makes himself emperor of the world by forcing the populace to worship him, but realizes he's still miserable. Played for laughs but still a What the Hell, Hero? moment.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show had a helmet that forced the perpetually angry Ren to be happy.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "The ABCs of Beth", the various gadgets that Beth had Rick build for her during her youth included a whip that forces the victim to like the wielder and mind-control hairclips, presumably because she was unable to make friends normally.
  • The Crowns of the Titans in The Smurfs (1981) episode "The Master Smurf", when one of them was worn by Greedy, not only enabled him to control the minds of his fellow Smurfs, but it also affected his own mind. Papa Smurf had to recite a spell to keep the other crown from doing the same to his own mind.
  • Papa Smurf's hypno-glasses, which Brainy uses to hypnotize Scaredy into not being scared, and Smurfette uses to hypnotize Gargamel into obeying the first thing he sees (which is Azrael) in The Smurfs (2021) episode "Mind The Cat".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): In one episode, Robotnik uses a stolen crystal computer's "submission spell" to control Princess Acorn and Bunny.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In his debut episode, Plankton enters SpongeBob's head and implants his brain with a mind-control device to make him steal a Krabby Patty. It almost works, despite SpongeBob's constant attempts to resist.
    • Plankton succeeds in even more spectacular fashion in the film, when he gives away mind control devices disguised as Chum Bucket helmets and brainwashes the entire town. His control is broken by means of The Power of Rock. Yes, it is awesome.
    • He also does the Mind-Control-Shampoo-Gambit (with conditioner) on Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, trying to get them to discredit the Krusty Krab.
  • Mind-control devices called "Zone Generators" are the reason for the apocalyptic state of Spiral Zone. Anyone within their radius who doesn't have the Zone Riders' suits or isn't a member of Overlord's posse falls under Overlord's control.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars establishes this as being the reason the clone troopers turned on the Jedi they had been working alongside for so long. Each one had a biological tumor-like chip implanted during the embryonic stage. They were set to activate when Palpatine gave the order "Execute Order 66", but one clone's activated prematurely and almost revealed the plot to the Jedi. Tup, the clone with the damaged chip, killed a Jedi while in a trance, but died despite attempts to stop the Kaminoans killing him and remove the chip. Fives, another trooper, found out the truth about the chips and tried to tell the Jedi, but they didn't believe him, and Palpatine faked an assassination attempt to get Fives killed and keep him quiet.
  • Mad Mod's hypno-screens from Teen Titans (2003).
  • Many devices in the Transformers multiverse are able to temporarily "overwrite" the personality and faction programming of one side with that of the other, like the Headmaster unit in Transformers: Animated.
  • Underdog: Simon Bar Sinister replaces phone booths with "phony booths" that enslave anyone who uses them (including, inevitably, Underdog himself).
  • W.I.T.C.H.: Appeared in both episodes, "Walk This Way", and "G is For Garbage", as a mystical horn that hypnotized its victims into trance-marchers who did anything they could by those who possessed it. However, the horn must be pointed directly at the victim for it to work. Hypnotizes nearly all the girls into doing the villain's bidding in the second episode.
  • In WordGirl, this is recurring villain Mr. Big's whole gimmick.

    Real Life 
  • Project MKULTRA was the CIA's infamous attempt to develop drugs and mind control procedures for use in interrogations through a series of unethical and often illegal experiments on American and Canadian citizens, and on enemy agents in American-controlled territory.
  • A popular Conspiracy Theory holds that blood drives are a "cover" for implanting mind control chips, and the secret was blown when someone ran a stud finder over his arm and found the chip. The MythBusters showed that you can detect a microchip implanted under the skin with a stud finder (they borrowed a dog with an ID chip to practice), but found no chips in either Jamie or Adam after a trip to the Red Cross.
  • An episode of Through the Wormhole showed experiments that include applying a magnetic field to certain parts of the brain reduce the ability to judge right from wrong. It showed that people will lower Attempted Murder from an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 (in terms of evil) down to a 6. It's just a start but yup, we're getting there folks.


Video Example(s):


Goofy Goober Rock

Using a rock ballad version of the "Goofy Goober" theme song, SpongeBob frees Bikini Bottom from Plankton's mind control helmets.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThePowerOfRock

Media sources: