June 29, 2022

Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Extension

I’ve had a lovely couple of days recovering from my Birthday bash, and I feel old and stupid. Not least because Nintendo revealed the latest in their external add-on series, this time for the 3DS.

The Circle Pad Extension is a chunky docking bay for the 3DS, that most have reported makes the 3DS a much more wieldy piece of kit. It comes complete with a couple of extra shoulder buttons and an extra analogue slider pad – basically, a second joystick, situated to the far right of the equipment.

There is of course a good reason for this piece of equipment – that is, Monster Hunter. The Capcom stalwart that has Japan and most of the Western world singing Kumbayah and holding hands whilst collectively bringing down mythical monsters and inbred dinosaurs has for the moment been confirmed as an exclusive for Nintendo and their little handheld, and unless Sony are prepared to shell out a largely obscene amount of money to rob this (unlikely now) it’s a dead certainty to be one of the 3DS’ killer titles.

That said, the 3DS isn’t set up for this kind of title – and we’re not talking from a purely aesthetic point of view here. Which is where the Circle Pad Extension comes in – it adds in a few key functions so that Capcom, who are often very close and friendly with Nintendo, don’t have to do much legwork with the control mechanism.

And this is fine – as long as it is kept optional.

The problem will come if too many companies start to depend on this extension for whatever reasons. It will leave Nintendo with a serious dilemma – should this then be a default, packaged item and something they may have to give away, much like they did with the Wii Remote sleeves a few years back? Or – here’s the awkward bit – should they redesign the 3DS?

I’ll talk more over the weekend about the idea of redesigning the 3DS so early on in its lifespan and the legal complications that could arise from it, but for the moment take this for what it is – something that had to be done to secure one of Capcom’s largest franchises. And for all the mocking over it – the simple truth of the matter is Monster Hunter sells, and if it comes bundled with this extension (which is a 99.99% certainty) then it’s simply an optional extra for one title, and a clever one at that.

The problem will come if too many companies start to rely on it – and that could be very bad for Nintendo if they do, because it could mean an ugly reality…

A 3DS Redesign. And considering their recent quarterly loss, it’s perhaps not something they’d be wholly keen on embracing…

At least, not yet, one would hope.


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