Ask anyone who bought a Nintendo 3DS launch day about its launch, and they’ll give you a list of complaints. The battery life is terrible, the 3D sweet-spot is tiny, there are no games for it, it was overpriced, the eShop took over two months to be up, there are still NO GAMES, etc. In Nintendo’s attempt to get the 3DS out before the end of their fiscal year, they basically screwed everyone over with the 3DS’s launch.

Equally Horrible?
Another prime example that Nintendo botched the 3DS’s launch is that dreaded second analog stick attachment, the Slide Pad. When it was first announced alongside Monster Hunter 3G, a lot of Nintendo fans freaked out, me included. Here was another accessory that 3DS early adopters would have to get for their 3DS to make it what it should have been at launch. And besides, the thing looked gigantic and hideous, uncomfortable, and it seemed to warn that Nintendo would release a revised 3DS even sooner than expected. However, as more news came out about it, I started to see the Slider Pad not as a failure, but as something that will bring nothing but good to the system. Here are five reasons why:

5. The Design's Actually Not That Horrible. 
At first glance, the Slide Pad seems like the worst possible peripheral that someone could possibly make. It adds over a centimeter to almost all the 3DS's dimensions, and makes it look horribly loopsided. Quickly after it was announced, people started calling it the "3DS Boat." So, it should feel terrible to hold, right? Not exactly. While it definitely won't feel as nice as if the 3DS had the second analog stick built in, there are several sites that are saying the Slide Pad is actually kind of comfortable. The device is said to be surprisingly light, and because it has a curved back, pretty natural to hold. Some people (with particularity large hands) are even saying it would feel better than a normal 3DS, as it could act sort of like a grip.

Slightly Less Horrible.
4. The Price Is Reasonable
This reason's a bit shaky, as some people are crying that 3DS "Ambassadors" shouldn't have to pay anything for the Slide Pad because of the inevitable re-design of the system to include this. But honestly, that's not going to happen. People who bought the system knew it came with only one analog stick, so to complain that they need to get this peripheral for free is kind of ridiculous. As it stand, the Slide Pad will cost about ¥1500, or about $15-20, and is made by Nintendo. That's really not that bad of a price considering the manufacturing costs, and what it adds to the system. Speaking of what it adds to your system...

3. It Adds More Than Just a Second Analog Stick
If all the Slide Pad added was an extra slide pad, it would be an okay peripheral, albeit a bit limited one. But contrary to its name, it doesn't just add a slide pad. In addition to adding the second analog stick to the right of the system, the Slide Pad also adds ZR and LR triggers to the system as well. These are the equivalent of triggers on an Xbox 360 or Classic Controller Pro. Having not only a second stick, but two new buttons as well adds a lot to the potential. The 3DS will now have basically all the control inputs a regular console controller has, along with its touch screen and gyroscope.

Actually kind of sexy.
2. It Will Actually Make Games Better
Here's the really important one. It doesn't matter how comfortable, cheap, or whatever the Slide Pad is if it doesn't add something to the gameplay expierence. Luckily, all signs point to this being a very useful gadget that will make a lot of 3DS games better. Nintendo has revelaed the games that will first be compatabile with this device, and it's full of AAA titles. Resident Evil Revelations, Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D, Ace Combat 3D Cross Rumble, Dynasty Warriors VS and Kingdom Hearts 3D, along with of course Monster Hunger 3G will all support the Slide Pad.

What a lot of these game have in common is that in previews written about them, they're often criticized for having bad controls. IGN called Kingdom Hearts 3D a bit too chaotic, saying "you can't see [Sora] because the camera can't keep up or doesn't know how to properly track the action." Kotaku wrote a whole article about how using the face buttons for camera movement in Metal Geal Solid Snake Eater 3D just "doesn't work." And one of the main criticisms of the Splinter Cell remake for the 3DS was how terribly it controlled. With a second analog stick, the problem of controlling the camera with the face buttons and cramming the rest of the control anywhere else would totally vanish.
The Slide Pad will make high-profile games like Metal Gear easier to play.
The Slide Pad might also cause new games to come to the 3DS that wouldn't otherwise. Activision has recently said that the Slide Pad is "a great move and it opens up that platform to more styles of games." Giving developers more tools to use with the 3DS can only translate into more great games for the system.

But what if you just hate the Slide Pad and the idea of sticking something onto your 3DS? That's okay too, because...

1. It's Completely Optional
At the end of the day, the Slide Pad is nothing to get scared about. It's just another peripheral. In a lot of ways, it's like Wii MotionPlus: a few games supported it, and were better for it, and even though Nintendo eventually replaced the standard Wii Remote with MotionPlus, the vast majority of Wii games still don't use it. And so far, no developer has said that their 3DS game will require the Slide Pad.

Even though Nintendo repackaged the Wii to automatically include MotionPlus, there are still only a handful of games that use it.
While that could change, it would seem unlikely that developers would want to split their audience by making the Slide Pad mandatory. Case in point: at TGS the demo unit for Monster Hunger 3G (the original game that was unveiled to use the new device) still uses a standard 3DS without the Slide Pad attached. That shows that while the device may make some games control better for some people, developers will still include a control scheme that works without the Slide Pad too. And besides, some people actually like the controls of Metal Gear Solid 3D, so it might never even be a problem for some people.


At the end of the day, the Slide Pad is another option for gamers and developers. As for me, I'm excited to get one and try it out for myself. Yes it would have been way better if Nintendo had just released the 3DS with two analog sticks in the first place, but this is the next best thing. I'm actually hoping that Nintendo will support this with at one of their own games, namely Kid Icarus: Uprising. That game has also been criticized for having poor controls, and the game was recently pushed to 2012 because of developmental reasons. Will Nintendo use the extra time to include a two analog-sticked control scheme? I sure hope so. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...