Its creepy and its kooky, and all together spooky, its Nintendos latest thingy

The latest issue of Famitsu in Japan has been quite the shocker with it revealing not only the existence of Monster Hunter 3G for the 3DS but a ’grip add-on’ for the system. Nintendo’s confirmed that it’s the one making it and the add-on that adds another circle pad to the system also will add weight and bulk to the system. So what does this actually mean for the system? Future games that may or may not support it and more? Well for this debate, we’re joined by Chris Leggett, former editor of New Zealand’s Game Console magazine who’s currently freelancing.

Vook: So Chris, it’s been a couple days since the 3DS Grip add-on cradle was revealed, what are your first impressions on the actual add-on itself?

Chris: Well, based on that Famitsu pic, it’s an ugly, bulky and cheap-looking peripheral. The build quality looks consistent with that of the charging cradle that’s bundled with the 3DS, which isn’t the greatest as any current owner knows. Also judging from the pic, it seems to skew the centre of gravity of the device slightly towards the right, which I imagine will feel odd. All of that said, though, I’m not entirely against the attachment and could definitely see myself making use of it with the right software in the right place. How about yourself?

Vook: It’s certainly an ugly add-on that’s for sure, it screams of an afterthought. I’m sure Nintendo have made it as ergonomic as possible and seamless as possible but it’s still tacking on a second stick to a console that probably could have had one in the first place. If it’s just for Monster Hunter then sure we don’t have to concern ourselves too much with it, the Japanese will be the main users of it, but if it starts splitting the user base with games that do and don’t support it then we’ve got problems.

I don’t have too many problems with the unit itself, because for years we’ve had these GameBooster type add ons for Nintendo’s portables for years; it’s the first time though that it’s actually added functionality to software. Nintendo’s done peripherals for consoles before that have introduced new ways to play mid life but not to a portable console. The Wii Remote Plus for instance is the most recent of example of this. If Nintendo are introducing this simply to get Monster Hunter then fine, but what’s going to happen when some games need it and some don’t?

Anyone actually run into the problem of not having one of these?

Chris: Yeah, this is my biggest concern with the peripheral: if Nintendo and third-party publishers choose to neglect the default control configuration of the 3DS and instead develop mostly software that utilises the second stick, then we’ve got a problem. Like you, I’ve got no problem if Monster Hunter and a few key titles make use of the attachment in future. But if other rumours are true and Nintendo releases a revised 3DS with a second stick, it’s potentially a cause for concern. It puts early adopters at yet another disadvantage, not to mention those who picked up a unit on the back of the recent, considerable price cut.
However, I am personally excited about the possibilities that this peripheral opens up for the 3DS. Goldeneye and Metroid Prime ports, perhaps? Just as long as those disinterested in such titles aren’t left on the lurch.

Vook: Exactly, Nintendo is in no position to lose more (if any) good will people have with the Nintendo 3DS. Most people are happy with their Ambassador Games if they bought one early, but I’m sure most people just want to play great new 3D games on the system, you know what they bought it for. If another device is entered into the equation which means I might not be able to play them all, or without an attachment then it’s going to be even more disappointing. You mention ports of Goldeneye and Metroid Prime, but instead of shoe-horning other systems games onto the 3DS if they’re going to use this stick they should use it for new games. Look at what’s happening with the Vita and it’s second stick. While it’s a great addition the second stick there’s going to be countless PS3 down ports on that thing, it’s already happening. If this second stick becomes the norm on the 3DS, expect to see even more Wii ports. A lot of what we’re talking about here today is just us speculating, we only know it’s going to be used with Monster Hunter so far and it might not be used for anything else, there might not be a system revision with a second stick, but that’s the worry. The platform is fragile as it is, what would happen if Nintendo did introduce a system with a second stick?

Chris: Yeah, I agree entirely. I do look forward to seeing what kind of titles make use of the second analogue stick, be they ports or those developed exclusively for 3DS - just as long as Nintendo and other continue to support those who don’t shell out for the peripheral, or a revised 3DS. And you’re right - this is all pure speculation. Not only are we in the dark as to whether the attachment is a Monster Hunter 3-exclusive accessory, we don’t even know (yet) if the thing will see a release outside of Japan. On a related note, while I’m really looking forward to Resident Evil: Revelations, that’s one game in the upcoming 3DS line-up that could have perhaps benefitted from this attachment. Hopefully Capcom’s also had this one in mind when collaborating with Nintendo for Monster Hunter.

Vook: It’s possible Capcom will use it, especially as it no doubt had a lot of to do with the introduction to the whole add-on in the first place. Tomorrow is the big day, we’ll see what the add-on looks like in real life, there will be impressions of it and if anything else will support it.