This monstrosity is the Nintendo 3DS Slide Pad add-on. It’s probably the biggest news out of TGS, even though Nintendo announced it before the event and pictures were leaked out before that. If you’ve never seen a 3DS before and you’re wondering why it looks so bulky and lopsided, let me tell you what’s new. The Slide Pad add-on grips onto your 3DS, surrounding your previously sleek system’s lower half, adding new shoulder buttons and, notably, a second circle pad. Never mind that it laughs at symmetry and aesthetics, new buttons!
When I first saw this thing, I was flustered, but I took solace in knowing that its announcement was in conjunction with the new, 3DS-exclusive Monster Hunter game. That franchise is massive in Japan, it turned the PSP into a success over there. So I could understand Nintendo bending over backwards to secure what could become its new console’s biggest hit. But, when Nintendo showed the Slide Pad off at its pre-TGS show, it confirmed that the add-on will be used by multiple upcoming games. And the news just got worse from there.
Probably the most remarkably terrible thing about the Slide Pad is that it takes a battery. You’d think with something stupid like this, they could at least build additional battery power into the device, helping to overcome the 3DS’ most obvious flaw. But no, Nintendo expects me to find a freakin’ AAA battery for it. And I can’t use my sweet 3DS dock with this monstrosity either. Boo!
More importantly, the Slide Pad goes against the concept of the 3DS. It doesn’t need a second analogue stick because it has the touch screen. Every single DS game compensated for that, and that limitation made DS games unique and popular. With a second analogue stick, developers don’t necessarily need to use touch anymore. What does that leave us with? A less powerful PlayStation Vita with headache power.
But as someone who bought the 3DS after Nintendo dropped its price, I feel betrayed. When I bought the system, I knew battery power was an issue and I knew a new iteration of the system was inevitable. I accepted that. Now my handheld has to either become an abomination or incompatible with the future of its software lineup. Now when they come out with a new 3DS revision, which they haven’t announced but you know is coming, it will essentially be a relaunch of the system. As a consumer, I have never felt so completely fucked over by a company that I previously trusted. I can think of no other peripheral in gaming history that is as damning as the 3DS Slide Pad. So I’m pretty pissed. Nintendo’s going to have to come up with something pretty extraordinary to make this 3DS Ambassador come back home.