The Nintendo DS wasn’t just a cool system because it had two screens, Nintendo implemented backwards compatibility with Gameboy Advance games via Slot 2 at the bottom of the console. Sometimes dubbed the “GBA Slot,” this extra port allowed for some creative uses in DS games.
For example, if players inserted Final Fantasy Tactics Advance into Slot 2 when playing Final Fantasy Tactics A2, they would get a bonus; the same goes for Castlevania Aria and Dawn of Sorrow. The Guitar Hero grip was also a really well designed peripheral that used the GBA Slot, included guitar pick stylus and all. Owners of the original Boktai GBA games could also use the solar sensor in the GBA cartridge for use in Lunar Knight, Kojima’s often forgotten DS release in his vampire series.
As nifty as these extras were, nothing compares to the sheer awesomeness of the Taito DS Paddle Controller. Extremely simple in design, this thing is totally unnecessary, completely unexpected, but nothing short of amazing.
When inserted into the original (phat) DS or the DS Lite, players can use the twisty knob to play corresponding Taito released DS games, mimicking an arcade experience on a handheld. There were only four officially released games to support this peripheral: Arkanoid DS, Space Bust-A-Move, Space Invaders Extreme, and Space Invaders Extreme 2. Crafty players can also play Mario Kart DS using the paddle controller via a cheat device but probably would be difficult to pull off drift turns while using items. However, it is still super cool and hopefully the community continues to support this neglected device.
I have wanted this ridiculous accessory for many years and decided to finally pull the trigger on an eBay auction. Even though I paid way too much for this stupid thing, I cannot sing its praises enough. It really does make playing these games fun and it is very well built. Slightly weighted with just enough roll, the infinite scrolling feels perfect, sturdy, but with just enough give. Only released in Japan, this tiny device was available in a few different colors, mine being the pink version you see here. To be clear, my DS is the metallic pink but the Paddle Controller is the different lighter pink so no, your eyes are not deceiving you.
I went ahead and played all four Taito games using this paddle controller. My videos below are short demonstrations of how the Taito DS Paddle Controller is used with each specific game.
It is also important to note that the Taito paddle controller will work with both the Japanese and US released versions of these games even though the Paddle was only released in Japan. So if you are thinking about importing one, don’t let the region of the games distract you – it works on both. From a playability stand point, it is very versatile. Meaning, you can play left handed, right handed, with one finger, or the finger/thumb twisting combo. Whatever your comfort level is, this paddle can accommodate as I demonstrate in my videos below.
Space Invaders Extreme:
Space Invaders Extreme 2:
So what do you think? Did you know of this Taito DS Paddle Controller? Are you going to try and hunt one down on eBay? Do you know of any other games that support this device? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter.