Let’s Talk About Nintendo Switch Accessories
The Nintendo Switch is an accessory monster. Its inherent design as hybrid home and portable console, combined with a few design quirks, makes it a console whose experience can be improved with some outside help. Let’s cover what’s worthwhile and what might be junk.
One of the biggest benefits to the console is that you can play it on the go. However, without the clamshell design of the 3DS, your screen and console is at risk when you travel with it. There are a ton of different cases out there. I like the one I have, which is the official Nintendo case (pictured above). It has a nice, understated design, with 5 game slots on the inside, a pouch for Joycon straps and a soft flap meant to protect the screen. My brother has the official Nintendo hard case and that one is good too. Whichever way you go, it’s probably a good idea to protect your investment!
With the open-faced nature of the screen, it’s a great idea to protect the screen. Even if you don’t play on the go that often, concerns about the dock scratching the screen as you insert or remove the device are valid. I used the official one that came with my case, but I’ve heard good things about glass-based protectors.
The two Joy-Cons work admirably as a controller when attached to the Joy-Con Grip. For the first few days of my time with the Switch, I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Fast RMX just fine on it. However, once I got my hands on the Pro Controller, there was no question which I would be using when the system is hooked up to a TV. The build quality is great, as its comparable to a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller. In particular, having the d-pad is great for certain games, such as the upcoming Puyo Puyo Tetris. I wouldn’t say this is essential, but it’s highly recommended if you’re going to spend ample time playing on a TV.
Extra Pair of Joy-Con Controllers
I like the idea of the Switch being a party machine. However, to get the most out of that experience, such as four-player split-screen Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’re going to need extra controllers. At $80 US ($100 CAD for me and my northern friends), it’s hard not to feel a sense of sticker shock. My brother took the plunge, allowing us and the rest of our family to play 8-player Bomberman R, which was great. However, if you don’t have an immediate need for multiplayer beyond two players, I’d say hold out as long as you can. Hopefully, your friends who have their own Switch consoles can bring their own Joy-Con controllers for some multiplayer action.
Extra Digital Game Storage
The Nintendo Switch seems like an ideal system to go all-digital with regards to your gaming purchases. However, with only 32GB of on-board storage, you will fill up the fridge sooner rather than later. Having additional storage through a Micro SD card is key in this case. I have no recommendations regarding which type of card to get, but make sure it’s a size you’ll be comfortable with for a while.
The Switch has a kickstand of its own, but it sucks. It only has one viewing angle, is flimsy, and you can’t play it in this mode while charging. This became really problematic in my first week of using the console on the go. To address this, try the official Hori stand. It’s a sturdier stand solution that has three different viewing angles and raises the screen to allow for charging during play. If you plan on playing in tabletop mode and want to have the ideal setup regardless of surface, this is an excellent addition to your collection.
USB-C Extension Cable
Word on the street is that the Nintendo Switch dock will scratch your screen with repeated use. One potential solution to that is by simply using a USB-C extension cable. Run the male end into the Switch, then plug the female end into the male port on the dock. Presto! You’re now in TV mode without putting your screen at risk. Paired with the play stand above, and you’ve pretty much have an alternative docking solution that should keep your screen out of harm’s way.
The Joy-Con controllers have an estimated battery life of 20 hours. For many, this should be fine, as you’re probably going to attach them to the console more often than not. However, should you feel the need to give them power without being docked to the console, then you might want the charging grip. Personally, I think this is a frivolous investment unless you need a grip for your extra pair of Joy-Con controllers. Otherwise, using the console as a dock during down time should be sufficient.
Despite how cool controller skins may look, you may want to hold off on getting them for your Joy-Cons. Multiple companies who make controller skins have cancelled their plans for Switch skins as they ruin the surface of the controllers when removed. dbrand in particular noted that the materials on the Joy-Cons aren’t compatible with any type of adhesive. Despite some brands pulling their support of controller skins, others are still offering Nintendo Switch skins. Until someone can prove otherwise, avoid these at all costs.