We learned last week that the rumors were true about the 3DS getting a second analog stick via a bulky attachment. The attachment first appeared in the pages of Famitsu, a Japanese gaming magazine. Now Nintendo has come forth with details on how and when the attachment will be made available, at least for Japan.
Called the "Slidepad," the attachment adds a second analog stick by snapping into the back of the 3DS casing. It also adds an additional trigger button, leaving the handheld with three in total. Nintendo revealed the attachment at a press conference at this year's TGS, saying that it would be available in Japan on December 10 for a price of 1500 yen (about $20), and that it will require a single AAA battery to function, which means it won't draw power from the 3DS battery.
They also announced a slew of games that would support the second analog stick, including "Monster Hunter Tri G," "Biohazard: Revelations" (aka "Resident Evil: Revelations"), "Ace Combat 3D," "Dynasty Warriors" and "Kingdom Hearts."
Also in that list was "Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D," which is interesting given that I recently took issue with the fact that the 3DS was incapable of controlling the game with its limited number of inputs. The addition of a second analog stick should fix that problem.
It doesn't, however, make this whole attachment a good idea. It'd make slightly more sense if the 3DS was re-released with a second analog built-in. Then Nintendo could release the attachment for those who already owned a 3DS. But there is currently no word that a redesign is on the way.
Just a month ago, I spoke with Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime about the possibility of an upcoming 3DS redesign and he gave no indication of a need for a second analog stick. "The form factor, we believe, is quite strong and quite positive. We have nothing else to add at this point in terms of other form factor changes or other color changes beyond the Flame Red that we're announcing today." What a difference a month makes.