Hori is a well-respected Japanese video game accessory maker that’s been pumping out solid fighting sticks, gamepads, and screen protectors for pretty much as long as such things have existed. But I’m sorry, Hori, your new officially licensed Nintendo Switch keyboard is a deeply pointless product, and I’m here to suggest some improvements.
To be clear, a Nintendo Switch keyboard isn’t altogether a bad idea — at least not in Japan, where popular MMO Dragon Quest X is coming out soon. It’s just that this one has some... issues.
- It’s almost certainly just a rebranded white label model with a Nintendo Switch logo stuck on top. That isn’t exactly unheard of in the video game peripheral market, but it’s not worth the premium Hori is charging, especially when its design makes no sense for the Switch itself.
- It doesn’t have USB-C, which means the only way to plug it in is through the USB-A port on the dock, which means you can only use it when the Switch is hooked up to your TV with a cable running across your floor. There’s no way to use it with the Switch in portable mode.
- It’s 2,980 yen, or about $30 with tax, and you can find essentially identical products for a third of the price on the first page of Amazon search results for “USB keyboard.” They should all work just as well.
It’s not like no Japanese accessory maker has ever created an incredible keyboard for a Nintendo console before. This useless Hori effort made me think of ASCII’s awesome Gamecube controller keyboard, designed for Phantasy Star Online:
Just look at it! Now that’s a Nintendo keyboard. And with the Switch’s detachable Joy-Cons, you wouldn’t even have to make a full controller — just a keyboard with the rails for the Joy-Cons to slot into.
Isn’t that better? I’m sure Hori could work with Nintendo to allow wireless input, or just include a wireless USB-A adapter for the dock. Throw a USB-C port on the keyboard itself and you could even get rid of the need for Nintendo’s really-should’ve-been-in-the-box Joy-Con Charging Grip, too.
But why stop there? This solution would still only work with the Switch in TV mode, robbing the system of its biggest selling point: versatility. What about those who want to play Dragon Quest X at Starbucks?
I think I have the answer. Lots of people use split keyboards for ergonomic reasons, and there are even gaming-focused models like this one from Kinesis. Inspired by that, and a suggestion from my colleague Rich, I’ve come up with the ultimate Switch peripheral:
Who wouldn’t want such a thing?
“Everyone in the world except like 17 people,” you say?
Okay, well, maybe. But dare to dream a little. It’d certainly bring more happiness to society than Hori’s actual Switch keyboard.
Which is coming out in Japan this September, in case you’re interested.