The Nintendo Switch Can Find Your Lost Joy-Cons

3 minute read

If you have the Nintendo Switch with dark gray Joy-Cons, you have my sympathies, because they are quite losable if you happen to have grayish furniture, ashen carpeting or gunmetal seat cushions. If you have the neon red, blue or yellow, on the other hand, they’re arguably refulgent enough to shine like little beacons from whatever crevice they’ve tumbled into.

Either way, by virtue of the newest Switch update out now, your oh-so-clever Nintendo games console can finally rescue your MIA Joy-Cons from household oblivion. It does so by employing the Switch’s nifty haptic feedback system. Just drop into the “Controllers” view, choose the new “Find Controllers” option, and you’ll see a list of all the devices you’ve paired with the Switch, including the Pro controller. Select one, then pull the L or R triggers and you’ll hear an audible tone produced by the controller’s vibratory feedback.

For music geeks, the controllers oscillate at a frequency analogous to a musical “E.” Okay, “musical.” But a note that is consistent in frequency nonetheless.

The range? I couldn’t break the connection within the confines of a capacious house, and the decibel levels were high enough that I could still hear my Pro controller and red/blue Joy-Cons bleating in my office while standing several dozen paces away by the kitchen sink. It’s rather nifty, and the response is instantaneous.

And that’s for starters. The update adds the option to use the Pro controller in wired mode, presumably to mitigate input latency (of possible consequence for competitive, eSports-aspirant games like Arms and Splatoon 2). And no, just because you could plug the Pro controller in before doesn’t mean it was operating in “wired” mode. It was simply charging. The update unlocks an option in System Settings to force it to “wired communication” when it’s USB connected.

Other tweaks abound. You can select to receive news about specific games, add friends from 3DS and Wii U friend lists and receive optional notifications when they come online, shuffle the user icon order, fiddle the volume from Quick Settings and set volume thresholds when using headphones and alter display colors — of potential use, I assume, for those with visual challenges.

Nintendo says it’s also resolved an issue whereby game updates would fail to complete (after which the game would no longer start), and another that could cause the HDMI inputs to wig out on some TVs when the console was docked and asleep.

All in all, it’s the biggest, most descriptive update we’ve yet seen for Nintendo’s hybrid TV-portable game system buyers are still searching high and low to find, in hopes of circumventing scalper-dom’s extortionate clutches.

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