After months of rumours and speculation, today Nintendo finally announced the Switch Lite, a cheaper variant of the existing Switch console that's coming this September for $199.99.
With its colourful casing, compact design and focus on portable play, it's clear this new console is aimed at pulling in younger players and growing the Switch's already impressive install base – but there's one element of it that has me particularly excited: a traditional, old-fashioned D-Pad.
When I first got my hands on the original Switch, I was bitterly disappointed with the four-button directional cluster on the left-hand Joy-Con. Sure, I could see why it was like that – the Joy-Con was supposed to act like a stand-alone pad in certain situations, and for that it needed to have separate buttons – but it didn't make me any less grumpy. When Hori answered my prayers and released a special Joy-Con that featured an old-school D-Pad, I was elated – but now I can have a system which has one built-in, and that's a real godsend in my book.
I can finally play games like Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection with a half-decent directional pad, rather than wrestling with the Joy-Con analogue stick. All of those retro games that are available on the Switch eShop suddenly become a lot more playable, and as for Tetris 99 – well, it was made to be played on a proper D-Pad, as I can attest from clearing endless lines using the aforementioned Hori Joy-Con.
While I know plenty of people will say the Switch Lite isn't for them, given that it removes a lot of what makes the console so special, that D-Pad means it's 100 percent for me.