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  • The 3DS Circle Pad

When playing some 3DS games, it suddenly becomes obvious: there’s something missing from this console. That missing part is a thumb controller or “thumbstick.” The missing thumbstick is something that Nintendo has known about for awhile (given the loads of consumer complaints), but the company wasn’t quick to fix the console. In fact, instead of adding a thumbstick to 3DS consoles or offering one for free for those who purchased the console, Nintendo will be sending thumbstick attachments to store shelves in February.

The new 3DS Circle Pad will be available in North American on February 20th, and this essential part of the 3DS will retail for $20. As welcome as this announcement is, there are a few questions that 3DS owners are now asking. One of those questions being why Nintendo will sell the Circle Pad at Gamestop stores exclusively. The other being: why now?


I’ll tackle the second question (why now?) first. Nintendo recently announced that the company will release new 3DS games within the next few months. There’s a long list of games that will soon be available for the 3DS, and some of those games will, no doubt, work better if a user has a thumbstick. Of course, this creates another question: why has Nintendo developed any games that require a thumbstick without including the thumbstick in the first place?

Well, the answer to this might be that Nintendo wants to make money from the new thumbstick or it could be that 3DS games (most of them) don’t require (or might not require) a thumbstick.

Back to the first question: why Gamestop? This one is harder to answer. There’s no really good explanation as to why the thumbstick will only be available at Gamestop.

Possibly, Nintendo doesn’t see the need to widely sell an attachment that many people won’t buy. Another reason might be that Nintendo has made some kind of agreement or arrangement with Gamestop. If you have any idea why Gamestop will be the exclusive thumbstick reseller, please let us know in the comments. Otherwise, you’ll just have to find the closest Gamestop near you or wait until third-party retailers sell the attachment online.

Do You Need It?

The answer to this question really depends on the types of games that you play. Resident Evil and Metal Gear are two games that may require a thumbstick. You can play both of these games without a thumbstick, but having more thumb control when playing either of these games means more overall control, and that’s always a good thing in the gaming world. As mentioned, you may also need a thumbstick for the future 3DS games.

Twenty-dollars to purchase a thumbstick isn’t a ridiculous amount, but I’m betting some 3DS owners won’t be thrilled that Nintendo decided to label the thumbstick as an accessory and not as an essential 3DS item. Nintendo should also consider the fact that PlayStation has just announced the impending release of the new Vita, which may give Nintendo a run for its 3DS money.