A year and a half ago, I wrote about the one big problem with the Nintendo Switch. In short, it’s an ergonomic nightmare. Within minutes of playing a Nintendo Switch in portable mode, my thumbs were sore for hours, into the next day due to the tiny size of the candy-bar Joy-Con controllers and the placement of the stubby analog sticks. Being a stubborn old man, I refused to get a Nintendo Pro Controller; I’m unwilling to pay an extra $70 for the privilege of not being able to use any of the system’s portable functions. Plus, every HDMI port on my home theater is in use. I want a portable system. Well, gaming peripheral company Satisfye’s new Pro Gaming Grip for Nintendo Switch may have just solved my problem.
The Pro Gaming Grip is a bit like the official Joy-Con Grip, but for the whole Switch system. The Joy-Con Grip turns your two Joy-Con controllers into something resembling a real controller by giving them the bigger handholds we’re used to on a game controller. The Pro Gaming Grip does exactly that, bringing that improved grip to the Joy-Con controllers without forcing you to leave behind the Switch’s handheld functionality.
The team at Satisfye seems to have put a lot of thought into it, too. The left and right Joy-Con controllers are not created equal, and the Grip doesn’t try to pretend they’re not. This was one of my biggest issues with the Joy-Con controllers – the placement of the analog sticks. I like asymmetrical stick layouts, like that of the Xbox controller, but without that added grip space that those controllers have, the Joy Con’s tiny remotes had me bending my thumb in ways thumbs shouldn’t bend to manipulate especially the right-handed analog stick.
The grip, too, is asymmetrical. It almost looks like a production error at first, but it’s intentional, and I even remember telling a friend that I’d want an asymmetrical grip to compensate for the shifted buttons, and the Grip takes care of that.
Aside from that, it doesn’t block any of the ports, though you’ll have to pop the switch out to use the standard docking station, and it feels sturdy, giving the whole system a little more rigidity while improving the ergonomics of the whole thing.
Being that the Switch hurts to play, I don’t own one yet. So I went over a friend’s and played a few rounds of Mario Tennis Aces and Doom. Almost immediately, I noticed a difference. Doom was suddenly playable. The Switch was suddenly playable. It was suddenly comfortable.
I’ll note here that I haven’t been able to put in an extended period of play with the Grip, because everyone I know who owns a Nintendo Switch uses it regularly, and I don’t have $300 ready and waiting with Nintendo’s name on it. But this initial prognosis is very positive. That I made it even 10 minutes, let alone a solid half-hour and walked away without sore thumbs is a very good sign and I’m looking forward to putting in more time with the Switch. Even if the face buttons still suck.