From the original Game Boy, with its myriad magnifiers, lights, and attachable joysticks, to the Wii, with its attic’s-worth of racquets, baseball bats, machine guns, and other fun sports paraphernalia into which you could shove Wii remotes, I’ve lived a life replete with console accessories that I’ve invariably ended up having trouble recycling. I’ve…grown weary of console accessories. I can’t imagine actually needing them anymore. And yet, with the Nintendo Switch, I’ve bought a console that actually comes packaged with one. Perhaps I should have seen this as a warning.
Playing Enter the Gungeon in handheld mode, I found my right hand was wildly twisted to position it over the triggers and buttons in the right combination, with the entire console resting on my pinky. I could tell I was playing poorly because of the ergonomics of this device, and my hand hurt like hell after a good run, so I did what any good consumer would do: I spent a hundred hours researching the best grip I could find.
What I found was an as-yet unreleased product by Satisfye, called the Pro Gaming Grip, which looked solidly-built and had a cleverly asymmetrical grip design. All-told, I paid $25 after shipping, and, to put it succinctly: this thing rules.
The Satisfye Pro Gaming Grip has a slender grip on the left, roughly the size of the grip on the Joy-Con Grip packaged with the system, and a thicker, wider-set grip on the right. The grips are lightly rubberized, and are connected by a thick plastic bar that stretches across the rear of the console when it has been inserted into the grip. The console is framed by two vertical ribs that hook under the unit, and the interior of the slot is lined with silicone, to keep the console from slipping out. Aesthetically, it looks pretty good, and it feels sturdy as hell, like a single piece of injection-molded plastic. I also like the rubberization, which doesn’t feel cheap or sticky, and I haven’t had any issues with sweating or anything.
Obviously, the asymmetry of the grip position is the star of the show here. I don’t know of any other grips that look this way, and it feels like a bold design decision. The intention of this design, they say, is to position the thumbs over the asymmetrical joysticks on the Joy-Cons. Now that I’ve spent just about all of my time playing Smash on this thing, my opinion is that it actually puts my thumbs more readily over the buttons, but the difference is so marginal that it doesn’t really matter. That is to say, the asymmetry of the grips doesn’t seem to make a huge difference, but the thing is very comfortable and a huge improvement over holding the bare console. The hallmark of good design is how little you end up thinking about it, and this grip meets that criteria. It feels so natural and well-made that I hardly think that it’s an accessory. It feels necessary, and it feels great.
I read a complaint for someone who had trouble with their console staying in place. I haven’t had this issue, though every 20 or 30 minutes I feel compelled to use my thumbs to push the console down into the grip. There is always a little bit of give to this move, indicating that it has shifted some, but at most it’s like, a millimeter or two, and I’m not doing it because it feels like I have to. It’s just compulsive and feels kinda good to do. So, your mileage may vary.
The Satisfye Pro Gaming Grip is $23 through Satisfye, and it’s easily worth it. It’s sturdy, feels well-made, and most of all, it makes me wonder why Nintendo didn’t make this. I would absolutely never go back to playing the Switch in handheld mode without this thing.