Jennifer Wilber is a teacher and writer. She holds a B.A. in English and an Associate's in Computer Game Design. She is a life-long gamer.
The Nintendo Switch has been one of the most popular home console video game systems out there. Some of the current most popular games for the Switch include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Arms, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Not only does the Switch work as a home console, replacing the Nintendo Wii U, it can also be played on the go as a handheld game system, similar to the Nintendo 3DS. Whether you prefer to play your Switch at home on the big screen from the comfort of your couch, or on the go in handheld mode while traveling, there are several accessories that all Switch owners should have to get the most out of the system.
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
The Nintendo Switch comes with two Joy-Con controllers, which can be used attached to the Switch system, held separately in each of your hands, attached to the included Joy-Con grip, or even used separately in multiplayer games. Some players are content to use one of these default control schemes for all of their Switch games. Serious players, however, often prefer the extra power and comfort of the Pro Controller.
What is it? The Switch Pro Controller is a controller that looks and feels similar to the traditional controllers often used on other consoles, such as Xbox One. It features four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, two analog sticks, rumble, motion control, and a D-pad. This controller will feel very familiar to long-time gamers. The regular black version of the Switch Pro Controller will run you about $70. There is also a Splatoon 2 special edition and a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 special edition version available. A Super Smash Bros. Ultimate special edition version of the Pro Controller will also be available later in December 2018.
Why do you need it? Players who primarily play the Switch docked will benefit the most from the Pro Controller. The Pro Controller is much easier to use and more comfortable than the Joy-Con controllers. It makes long game sessions more enjoyable. Certain game genres are also much more difficult to play using the Joy-Cons than with the more traditional control scheme offered by the Pro Controller. For example, most fighting game aficionados would find fighting games annoying, or even unplayable, with the Joy-Cons.
While the Pro Controller is primarily meant for use while playing docked, I also prefer to use my Pro Controller, rather than my Joy-Cons, when playing in tabletop mode.
PowerA Joy-Con Comfort Grip
The Joy-Con Comfort Grip from PowerA is great choice for gamers who can’t afford the $70 Pro Controller but want a more comfortable gaming experience than the included Joy-Con grip can offer. Like the grip included with the Nintendo Switch, the PowerA Comfort Grip allows you to combine the left and right Joy-Cons together to create a more traditional controller. The Comfort Grip from PowerA has a few key differences from the included grip that make it a more attractive option.
What is it? The PowerA Joy-Con Comfort Grip is a device that you can slide both Joy-Con controllers into to make them feel more like a standard video game controller. It has hand grips on each side, just like most of the other game controllers you might be used to, including those for Xbox One, PS4, or the Switch Pro Controller. While the Nintendo Switch does come with a grip attachment for the Joy-Cons, the PowerA Joy-Con Comfort Grip is superior for a couple of reasons. The PowerA Joy-Con Comfort Grip features a more ergonomic design that includes rubber grips. This makes it much more comfortable for extended play sessions. The Comfort Grip costs between $10–$15, depending on which version you choose. It is available in plain black or red, as well as in special designs to match several of your favorite games, including Splatoon 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario, and Minecraft.
Why do you need it? Because this grip is more comfortable and more ergonomically designed than the default grip included with the system, your hands are less likely to cramp up while playing using this grip. If you prefer to play with a traditional-style controller, the PowerA Comfort Grip is an excellent choice if you can’t justify spending $70 on the Pro Controller, or if you simply want a backup for those times when you are charging your Pro Controller.
The different designs that the Comfort Grip is available in also allows you to customize your Switch for a more personal experience. I use the Splatoon 2 version of the Comfort Grip when my Splatoon 2 Pro Controller is charging.
8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller
The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller is another excellent alternative or addition to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. This controller is not an official Nintendo Switch Controller, but it works great with the system. The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller is essentially a souped-up version of the classic SNES controller. In addition to the Nintendo Switch, this Bluetooth controller is also compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, Steam, and Raspberry Pi. The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller will set you back about $40 on Amazon right now, making it a more affordable option than the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
What is it? The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller is a multiplatform Bluetooth controller developed by 8BitDo. The company is always releasing new firmware updates for their products, so new features will continue to be available for this controller in the future. The SN30 Pro Controller works with a number of different devices and operating systems, including the Nintendo Switch. It is designed to look like an old-school Super Nintendo controller, but with the addition of two analogue sticks, two additional shoulder buttons, rumble, motion controls, and additional navigation buttons to make it compatible with modern games.
Why do you need it? This controller is a must-have for gamers who grew up during the SNES era. Because it is fully compatible with the Nintendo Switch and several other systems, it is a better value than the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Not only does this controller cost less than the Pro Controller, but it will also work with several systems other than the Switch.
This controller is an excellent choice for playing classic games and modern games alike.
amFilm Nintendo Switch Tempered Glass Screen Protector
If you have a Switch and plan on traveling with it at all, you will want a glass screen protector. The amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector for the Nintendo Switch is an excellent option. It is available from Amazon in a 2-pack for about $8, allowing you to try again if you mess up too badly during your first install attempt, or to share with a friend. A glass screen protector is a better idea than a cheaper plastic screen protector for several reasons.
What is it? The amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Nintendo Switch is the best glass screen protector currently on the market for the Nintendo Switch. This screen protector has a durable scratch-resistant surface while remaining super-thin (it is 0.3mm in thickness). It also features a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. Because it is glass, you do not have to worry about bubbles forming under the surface of this screen protector. It is resistant to impact and resists scratches up to 9H (which the manufacturers assure us means it is harder than a knife). It includes everything you need to install it on your Switch: two screen protectors, an install guide, a squeeze card, a microfiber cloth, an alcohol cleaning wet wipe, and dust removal stickers.
Why do you need it? One of the main draws of the Switch is that it is portable, so you can take it anywhere. If you are traveling with your Switch, you run a greater risk of scratching the screen, especially if you keep it in a bag or large pocket with other items. This heavy-duty glass screen protector protects the screen from most scratches, as well as impacts.
Micro SD Memory Card
All Nintendo Switch owners will eventually need a memory card. The system only has 32GB of memory, which won’t be nearly enough for the majority of gamers. There are many different memory card options available, depending on how many games you see yourself downloading in the future. If you don’t plan to use your Switch often, you may be able to get away with a 64GB Micro SD memory card, though gamers who play regularly will likely want a much larger one.
What is it? A micro SD memory card is used to add extra storage space to electronic devices, such as the Nintendo Switch. There are several different brands and capacities to choose from. SanDisk Ultra micro SD cards are the most popular and best rated. These micro SD cards are available in a variety of sizes. These memory cards are generally available at decent price points. If you want an officially-licensed Nintendo product, SanDisk also offers officeially licensed micro SD cards sold in packaging featuring Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario as he appears in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Aside from the limited-edition packaging, these memory cards also feature the Nintendo Switch logo. These officially-licensed micro SD cards will cost you slightly more than the non-licensed ones of similar capacity.
Why do you need it? The Nintendo Switch doesn’t have enough memory to hold many games on its own. If you don’t use a separate micro SD memory card with your Switch, you will be constantly deleting data to juggle storage space every time you want to play a new game, being forced to delete save data you’d rather not lose.
Using a micro SD card also allows you to pop the card into your computer’s card reader to save any screenshots or gameplay videos that you might have saved to your system. While you can share these directly to social media from your system, sometimes you might want to save a screenshot or video without having to post it to Facebook or Twitter first.
Which Accessories Do You Really Need?
Many gamers love accessories almost as much as they love the games themselves. Even if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on extra accessories for your Nintendo Switch, there are still a few accessories that you will likely want to get as soon as you get your new Switch. Though you may want to wait a while before spending the extra money on nicer controllers, you will want to get the screen protector and micro SD memory card when you first purchase your Nintendo Switch, or soon after. Screen protectors are important for protecting your investment from accidental scratches or impacts. The micro SD memory cards makes data management much easier if you plan on playing a lot of different games or saving screenshots and gameplay video.
What other accessories do you think all Switch players should have? Let me know in the comments!
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on February 16, 2019:
Wow, we have a Wii U. I would like to get a Nintendo Switch one day. Everything cost so damn much, lol. Good read Jen.