Nintendo and Dual Analog

The recent leak showing a second analog stick for the Nintendo 3DS raises a lot of new questions about the future of the platform. The addition of the second analog stick opens the door for new types of games (that were previously unavailable due to there only being one analog stick), but it could also alienate early-adopters who do not purchase the add-on (or the redesign we all know is coming soon).

Nintendo has never been a huge supporter of the dual analog setup. The Wii classic controller was the first time Nintendo ever designed a controller with a true dual analog setup (“true dual analog” meaning two identical analog sticks), but so far they have done little to support it themselves. Metroid Prime 3 was the perfect candidate for a dual analog setup, but instead motion was used for aiming. Even now, the addition of a second analog stick on the Nintendo 3DS could be nothing more than Nintendo trying to make third-party developers more interested.

On the other hand, Nintendo could finally be ready to use dual analog setups for some of their own games. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of dual analog, but nowadays it is hard to imagine some games without it. Furthermore, I cannot think of any game that I could say would be better off without it (though admittedly, I do not play a ton of different games). Simply put, when dual analog is used, it is used well.

Regardless of my own opinion on the setup, I would like to see Nintendo use it. I enjoyed the lock-on system used in Metroid Prime and Metriod Prime 2, but I would have enjoyed Metroid Prime 3 significantly more if it had used dual analog instead of Wii remote aiming.

In the past, Nintendo has shown us that dual analog can be used effectively in their games, but their success did not lead them to create more games using the same control scheme. Instead, they focused on simplifying controls (a noble goal) and creating new innovative control schemes. Neither are a bad idea, but while Nintendo was busy innovating the rest of the industry was busy perfecting dual analog.

There are a ton of possibilities for dual analog on the Nintendo 3DS. I hope to see Nintendo among the developers taking full advantage of those possibilities.

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One thought on “Nintendo and Dual Analog

  1. I thought Nintendo should’ve included dual analog to begin with, but I’m hoping this will make the 3DS more comfortable to hold. I find playing games with the d-pad to be a cramp inducing experience and the 90 degree corners of the system are less than ergonomic, so I’m hoping that this add-on will make the system more comfortable (and provide more options to developers which hopefully means more types of games will see release).

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