A Nintendo Switch Joy-Con adapter that allows players to use the controller pair in just one hand is winning praise from all types of players, after the AbleGamers charity spotlighted the peripheral. Its creator tells Polygon that the response has been validating — but what would be really great is for Nintendo to take notice.
Julio Enrique Rito Vasquez, known online as Vexelius, is an engineer who uploaded his design as a free, 3D-printable download. Vasquez tells Polygon that the idea for the one-handed adapter came from early criticisms of the Switch as unfriendly to those with physical handicaps.
“Unfortunately for the Switch — and my physically impaired hands — the Joy-Con controllers are egregiously small, meaning that it is near impossible for me to even perform basic movement functions within any game,” wrote Grant Stoner in his Nintendo Switch review, posted to his blog that highlights “a disabled gamer’s perspective on the gaming world.”
Vasquez published his first accessibility tool not long after: a stand that extended the Joy-Con’s tiny SL and SR buttons to help players press the buttons more accurately. Vasquenz made the “accessibility stand” available for free, and it has been downloaded more than 300 times.
“When this design was published, some users started sending me e-mails, explaining me their particular cases and providing me with valuable suggestions and feedback,” said Vasquez. “This allowed me to develop other prototypes, which eventually helped me design this adapter.”
Two iterations on his single-handed Joy-Con adapter later, Vasquez has come up with something special. One attaches to the top of each controller, clamping them together; the other encases them side by side and is inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Sheikah Slate item.
After AbleGamers highlighted the adapter on its Twtter account this weekend, a variety of players expressed interest. For those who experienced difficulties using the Joy-Cons in their natural state, it seemed like a useful and welcome adaptation; for those among us who just want to be able to use our phones in one hand and play a game in the other, the adapter helps out there, too.
“I'm surprised to see that there are lots of gamers out there that say they are going to buy a Nintendo Switch or give the console a second chance because this adapter will allow them to play with it and enjoy their experience,” Vasquez told us.
The exposure is great, he added, but what would be really special is Nintendo taking on designing accessible peripherals itself.
“In the case of the Nintendo Switch, you can make adapters that only require you to insert the Joy-Cons and, at any moment, you can take them off the adapter without any issues,” he said. “It would be amazing if Nintendo would notice this, and how benefiting it would be for them (as a company) and for thousands of gamers who are looking forward to [enjoying] their favorite games.”
At least there’s this rad free option for those with access to a 3D printer. Check out the adapter in action in the video below; it features Vasquez’s friend Rami Wehbe, for whom the designer originally created the peripheral.