We really need a Nintendo Switch tate mode grip attachment

One of the most interesting things to emerge from Nintendo’s complex multi-modal hardware design for the Switch is the fact that it’s the first game system since Bandai’s WonderSwan in 1999 to support a vertical screen orientation right out of the box. Yes, I know, pedants: The DS had “book” mode, but only one developer was insane enough to try and use that for an action game (Team Ninja with their ambitious but kinda disastrous Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword). With Switch, though, you can simply disconnect the Joycons from the core unit, place the core sideways on a stand, and play with a rotated screen — an arrangement that would require prodigious effort with other consoles.

This, of course, has its practical limitations. You can’t easily use vertical mode when the Switch is docked, since the system feeds out to a television in that mode. This of course introduces the same issue involved with any other system, i.e. you don’t really want to turn a 60″ flatscreen television sideways unless you’ve had a pivoting mount installed at great expense specifically for that purpose. And it’s not as though a lot of Switch games use vertical mode. But it’s a great option for classic arcade games that originally shipped with vertical monitors, and as we all know, Switch is quickly becoming a favorite destination for publishers to stow their classic games and compilations.

Case in point: Yesterday Bandai Namco announced a new Namco Museum anthology specifically for Switch, due out this summer. While you’ll find some of the usual suspects on this compilation, such as Pac-Man, it also contains some unexpected inclusions: Splatterhouse, for one, and the more or less forgotten arcade version of Rolling Thunder 2 (which I don’t believe the company has ever included on any compilation to date). It also includes the option to use vertical — or tate, if you prefer — mode for the games that originally ran on vertical arcade monitors. Galaga, for one.

That’s rad, but it does raise the issue that the system’s vertical orientation only really makes sense when you set the core screen on a stand and use a detached controller. Games of the type packed in with Namco Museum seem like a natural fit to the system’s default handheld mode, yet there’s no way to treat the system as a handheld while using the screen in tate mode. So this is my earnest request to peripheral manufacturers: Please, dudes and ladies, someone out there needs to create a third-party Switch grip that will allow us to use the system in vertical mode while still holding it as a compact, self-contained handheld device. Some sort of snap-on cradle to enclose the screen and slide the Joycons into seems like a pretty simple and inexpensive thing to create; ideally the cradle would include wired connections to allow the Joycons to physically plug into the console, but it would also work just fine if it simply had a pair of rails to slide the Joycons into and let the controller dongles connect wirelessly, as Koizumi intended.

Can I get a “hell yeah” from the choir?

I doubt this peripheral would see a ton of use, but I also suspect we’ll be seeing enough classics with tate mode support to make it worth many people’s while. Heck, someone with more confidence in CAD software than I have could probably bang out of these out with a 3D printer in the space of an afternoon. So anyway: You, the peripheral makers of the universe, may have this idea for free. All I ask is that you send one along for a Retronauts review once you’ve created it.

25 Comments

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25 Responses to We really need a Nintendo Switch tate mode grip attachment

  1. Greg

    Does Namco Museum offer a vertical mode? If not, it definitely should, since it’s something fans could easily take advantage of by propping up the tablet against a couple books or whatever.

  2. Wow. This is so much better than turning my CRT on its side back in the day.

  3. Emre Motan

    Wouldn’t this orientation make sense once DS is brought to the virtual console?

  4. Greg Falkingham

    My ideal vision of this is either a simple tabletop stand, or a faux-arcade cabinet style of holder (like the ones they used to make for the iPad).

    My first exposure to tate-mode was Galactic Attack on the Saturn. This was definitely before thin flat panel displays were popular, and there was no way I could turn my CRT on its side, but the idea of it was tantalizing given how much for the game filled the screen in that mode. My almost-clever solution was to play it that way while lying on my side.

  5. I get that it’s probably not ergonomically ideal, but couldn’t you hold the Switch vertically using just one Joycon for the controls? I just tried it with mine. I wouldn’t want to hold it that way for hours, but arcade classics rarely last that long unless you’re going for a world record.

  6. pimento

    I was hoping that it would have a vertical mode since the first reveal (for DS ports/VC, mainly) but now that I have it I can see that having the joy cons attached to the unit that way would block the cooling vents. I guess they could have designed it differently to work around that, but now an adaptor could cause some serious overheating issues.

  7. neufel

    I don’t have the Hori stand (or any other one). Does the switch, without joycons, hold in place when put in vertical mode ?

  8. John Learned

    Apropos of nothing, I didn’t know that Rolling Thunder 2 had an arcade version until the NM announcement. I always thought it was a Genesis joint

    • Of all the Gen joints in the world, she had to walk into mine…

    • Moroboshi

      Rolling Thunder 3 is Mega Drive exclusive (and it’s not very good). Rolling Thunder 2 thought started out in the arcades and it’s a fair bit better there than on the MD.

      Weirdly Namco never got around to porting Rolling Thunder 1 to the MD however.

  9. James Couche

    Crazy idea, on the subject of DS virtual console possibilities… could Nintendo remove the GAP between the screens for dual screen games like Contra 4 and Sonic Rush?

    It rarely inhibited my enjoyment of the games on the original system, but it’d be awesome to have a seamless gameplay window now that there’s no physical obstruction.

  10. Moroboshi

    Whilst I’m all for more retro games on modern systems, I worry this (along with the Neo Geo stuff on the Switch) is muddying the water for a potential Virtual Console down the line. Assuming there will be a VC on the Switch, will future Neo Geo games be sold as stand alone Switch games (as they are now) or will they be in the VC store?

    • James Couche

      Virtual Console always sounded traditionally limited (based on heresay). Maybe SNK detaching itself from a service controlled by Nintendo will lead the way for more, higher quality re-releases.

      Either way, can’t be worse than what we saw on Wii U (and its lack of Neo Geo games lol).

  11. unoclay

    neat idea, but with nintendo afraid to confuse consumers / add more odd options to an already complicated peripherals situation, I doubt it will arrive anytime soon.

    BUT this is Nintendo we’re talking about–so perhaps its not so ‘crazy’ after all!

  12. Kevin

    All I can think is how a Tate stand could really make the Switch an excellent place for shooters. More than it already is, even; someone get Taito and Cave on the line!

  13. I honestly cant wait for the virtual console, I finished zelda and have been playing a lot of fast rmx and shovel knight to keep me busy but I really want to play wind waker or metroid prime on my switch

  14. daftman

    The one instance I can think of where you could turn a system for a vertical orientation was the PSP with those two classics compilations Capcom put out. There was an option with the shmups (like 1942) to play vertically, which was pretty cool. You couldn’t detach the controls, of course, so it was weird playing with your hands above and below the screen but it sure looked good on the PSP’s screen!

    • Yeah, that was super awkward. You could also turn several DS games sideways, and the WonderSwan was designed to allow free orientation switches — the controls worked in both vertical and horizontal mode.