I've Been Politely Boycotting Nintendo Switch JoyCons For Over Two Years
And the results are ruddy marvellous, actually
The Nintendo Switch has been a beloved part of the gaming landscape for long enough now that the idea of there ever having been a segregation between handheld and at-home play almost seems a quaint notion.
The machine's impact on gaming and its evolution, with the fine tradition of other companies iterating on the eccentric trail blazed by Nintendo as always, is pretty plain to see.
Yet the spectre of a seemingly insoluble problem haunts the Switch to this day -- and if you've ever had your loveable bobble-headed freak wander off to moonwalk against a wall in Animal Crossing or had Mario saunter off into the abyss for no adequately explained reason while your thumbs remained both bemused and static, you probably know the issue of which I speak.
Stick. Sodding. Drift.
While the JoyCons are splendid inventions, the known faults in the all-important stick-ish bit of them is well documented, widely criticised, and casually ignored whenever possible by Nintendo. For a business well known for ridiculously durable and high quality technology, it's a pretty glaring fault -- made all the more inexcusable by a lack of hardware revisions to fix it.
So I simply don't use official Nintendo JoyCons any more. Because I write for a living, presumably having done something terrible to someone important in a past life or something, I'm often low on funds -- and selling off JoyCons became a weird semi-tradition for me to make ends meet, even long before their faults arose, back in recent times. It was like I was beating them Cons to the, well, con by getting rid of them before they became an issue.
Also, I have this dreadful habit of having to consume nourishment to perpetuate my existence, which is all rather pricey.
Anyway. One day, I simply... didn't buy a new set of Cons. They're expensive, they demonstrably have a short service life and, as became apparent, alternatives like the Hori SplitPad Pro and other solutions were becoming more readily available.
I'm not shilling Hori products, by the way. I'm just saying it's the choice I made, courtesy of the gift of a SplitPad from my girlfriend. But this is the world we built and live in, kids -- a world where I have to tell you I'm not actually trying to sell you a product after referencing it in an article and that I'm conveying a genuine life experience.
God, isn't the internet terrible now?
Anyway. The SplitPad works well and its sticks are, of course, actually made with a modicum of quality. The super wide limousine Switch form factor that emerges is amusing at first, and far more comfortable once you adapt fully.
It's also accidentally prepared me for the form factor of the Steam Deck, which all you cool kids seem to be jolly into.
For docked play? Pro controller. It's comfy as heck, built well, has all the amiibo functionality and wafty motion gubbins and rumble and such my chosen solution otherwise misses out on, and it has a stick that seems to have had intelligent design put behind it in some way. That always helps.
Are there caveats to this decision I've half-accidentally made over the last two years? Yes, a couple. It mostly has to do with things like that cardboard gubbins whose name I can never remember, or that big wheel fitness thing.
You know, all that stuff we buy when Nintendo makes it, use a few times, and then leave it a cupboard somewhere. So you'll forgive me if I don't feel as though I'm missing out overly by literally leaving JoyCons out of my Switch gaming setup altogether.
Did I do this as a conscious boycott or a big middle finger to Nintendo? Not really. I just chose the most viable and convenient solution for me and then woke up the other day and realised how long I'd been able to leave official controllers that came packaged with my 2017 console out of my setup to no adverse effect.
And it works, fantastically in fact. I don't miss JoyCons at all, and investing in a SplitPad and a Pro controller is far cheaper than having to replace the let's-face-it-it's-usually-the-left JoyCon every six to twelve months.
Two blissful years of drama-free play have now passed, and I simply haven't looked back. The Switch is incredibly versatile, up to and including the sheer number of controller options out there for you.
So my advice to you? Unless you're into any waggle-games specifically, if you're tired of buying JoyCons over and over, just... don't. And if you're stuck with those drifty bunkum-sticks because you have a Lite, then... oof. You have my love, my condolences, my sympathy and my support, probably.