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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Putting the Slide Pad Expansion into context

UPDATE: IGN posted these better pics of the slide pad accessory... it looks better than the original pic, which made the 2nd nub look smaller.

So... Nintendo has tersely confirmed that the Slide Pad Expansion i.e. 2nd analogue nub, is a real accessory coming to the 3DS. From the sounds of it, there is only 1 game scheduled so far that will use it: Monster Hunter 3G.

Nintendo has stumbled into the same controversy that dogged Sony's PSP for the life of that handheld. Will making a 2nd analogue nub split the console userbase between those who have it & those who don't? That's the reason Sony always gave to not put a 2nd nub on the PSP, they didn't want some games to only be playable with a 2nd nub making them unplayable to those who have older PSPs. By making the 3DS one an add-on, it's possible for all generations of 3DS's to play games that may require it. I suspect that Nintendo will revise the 3DS to incorporate the 2nd nub. Maybe that $80.00 price drop is starting to make more sense now, hey?

But... one of the main questions has to be, how many games are actually going to use this 2nd nub? I've already talked about the many add-on peripherals for the Wii. I own the Balance Board, Wii Motion Plus dongle (x2), Wii Zapper, Wii Wheel, & the Classic Controller (a third party one anyway)

And most if not all of them only have a few games that support them.

Closer to home, look at the peripherals released for the DS:

The most famous one might be the Guitar Hero button controller. But as far as I know, only the game it came packed with supports it.

It did have the unfortunate luck of coming out just as Nintendo released the DSi which eliminated the GBA slot it needs to plug in to. Activision must've been pissed about that.

Here's one I was sorta interested in, the paddle controller. It seems like it would be really cool to play Space Invaders Extreme with it.... but again, as far as I know, only 2 games support it (Arkanoid being the other)

Here's one that I actually own! This was such an oddball peripheral, when I saw it + the game on sale at Play-Asia a while ago, I bought it for a cheap price. It lets you slide the DS across a flat surface like a mouse to interact with the game. I actually haven't tried it yet.... it's all in Japanese, but when I have time....

So again, with all these peripherals for Nintendo consoles, all of them have one common factor: very few games support them. Perhaps the widest accepted one is Motion Plus which is now incorporated into all Wii remotes. But personally, I only have like maybe 2 games that need it.

Judging by this history, how will this "Slide Pad Expansion" be any different? Obviously, Monster Hunter 3G will support for sure. Right now it isn't even confirmed that game is coming to North America (I hope it does) but what else? If any third party developer wants to support the 2nd nub add-on, they'll also have to provide alternate controls for those 3DS owners who don't have/don't want/can't get the 2nd nub add-on. I bet even Monster Hunter 3G will have alternate controls to allow this.

Although this is the one peripheral I might say I want-- or feel that we as gamers have a need for-- the most, the track record for peripheral support isn't very good. It will be interesting to see if this one has more success than all the past ones.


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