Nintendo recently unveiled an Animal Crossing: New Horizons-themed Nintendo Switch to go along with the game’s impending March 20 release, and chief amongst its incredible qualities are its immaculate, splendid joy-cons. Just look at them. The great impressionists of Normandy could not select a more delicate color pairing. One could argue that such resplendent hues have never before been available on the console market. In a world awash with grays, metallics, and neons, these joy-cons stand apart with a gentle composure that rewards your attention, rather than demanding it.
Unfortunately, if you live anywhere other than Japan, you cannot buy these joy-cons on their own — anyone that wishes to touch the hand of God must purchase the full, $300 Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch bundle. This is a mistake, and it is my moral imperative as Fanbyte’s least-supervised contributor to speak truth to power about this issue.
First of all, Nintendo should be thanking its lucky stars that people even want to buy joy-cons in the fist place. I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that joy-cons are, indisputably, the worst standard controller situation of the three major console manufacturers. Disregarding for a moment that the lack of a proper d-pad is still a constant source of consternation, joy-cons are both more expensive and less reliable than Microsoft or Sony’s standard controllers, both of which happen to be available in a broad array of colors that one might actually want.
Joy-cons, by contrast, are only available in what is easily the worst selection of colorways on the console hardware market. The vast majority of Nintendo’s official color options are genuinely hideous, and I’ve yet to encounter a single person who has purchased additional joy-cons out of anything other than absolute necessity. People just don’t want to spend $70 or more on what may end up being their ticket into a class-action lawsuit.
But these Animal Crossing joy-cons are different. People actually want these. There is legitimate demand at work in the market for this product, and for the first time in the Switch’s lifetime, it comes somewhere other than “well, I dropped these incredibly fragile controllers and now I guess I have to spend $80.” I will (gladly!) give Nintendo its ludicrous joy-con MSRP of $79.99 in exchange for a pair of these elegant controllers, and upon their arrival I will place my existing red and blue joy-cons in a drawer and forget about them for the rest of time. (Provided, of course, that the Animal Crossing joy-cons I receive are free of drift.)
I think Nintendo’s hesitance to sell these joy-cons on their own would be more understandable if it were consistent, but the controllers are already available to pre-order in Japan, as is the adorable Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch dock. The manufacturing pipeline already exists! Just put ’em on a dang boat!! If you’re thinking that I’ll spend this $80 on something else that you’re trying to sell me, Nintendo, well, I won’t. This $80 is earmarked exclusively for the Animal Crossing joy-cons, and if they are not available it will be spent on Monster Energy Rehab beverages and OnlyFans subscriptions. I already have a Pro Controller, so this is your last chance to get me to purchase Switch hardware. Don’t waste it.