The community springing up around modding Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons is brilliant. I now have a sweet 90s-style transparent purple Joy-Con pair. It’s bad-ass.
At first Joy-Con mods were a case of buying parts off slightly shady eBay sellers, but since a bunch of replacement Nintendo Switch console shells and Joy-Con shells are now easily available on Amazon, I finally decided to take the plunge by modding a set of Joy-Cons – and I love the results so much I just had to take a moment to post about it. I mean, just take a look at the results:
I’m an eighties kid (just), so I have fond memories of the craze of cramming technology into slightly-gaudy semitransparent plastic shells in order to show off the circuit boards underneath. Indeed, I had that classic see-through purple Game Boy Color at one point (later, I got the equally awesome Lime Green model) and I ended up deciding on the semitransparent purple Joy-Con as a tribute to that classic model Game Boy.
So, I hear you inner-monologue: sure, they can look cool, but how much of a pain is it? The answer: not as much as you’d think. While doing this will definitely void your warranty and totally could result in a broken Joy-Con (undertake this operation at your own risk, obviously), I actually found it remarkably easy. Modding the console case is considerably riskier and has heftier warranty ramifications – but Joy-Cons, which I did, are a doddle.
You’ll need a Tri-Wing screwdriver and a very small Phillips Head screwdriver, and for your sanity’s sake you’ll probably want them to be magnetic for ease of getting the screws into place. It’s fiddly but not entirely difficult – you just need time, good light and a bit of patience. It’s certainly no harder than, say, putting together a complicated Lego set, and there’s no soldering or anything like that required – you’ll just need to transfer the parts from one Joy-Con to your new shell.
This doesn’t just have aesthetic benefits, of course: I made one particular choice with my replacement left Joy-Con which answers something Nintendo fans have been crying out to the company for – a proper, plus-shaped D-Pad. This is obviously less convenient for when you’re snapping off a Joy-Con to play multiplayer with a friend as one person will be stuck with a D-Pad instead of buttons, but I have multiple Joy-Con sets for that purpose, and when I’m playing in handheld having a more traditional shape of D-Pad is honestly just better – I’m really glad I made the change.
If you want to go for an even deeper change there are also full backplates for the console to allow for a whole-body colour transformation – though I’m personally happy with the Joy-Cons for now. There’s a huge range of colours now available from reputable retailers like Amazon – so if you’re tempted, it’s well worth a look.
If you only want the official gear, Nintendo is still of course pumping out new designs all the time – most recently with Pikachu and Eevee-themed Joy-Con included with a new limited edition console. I really want those – hopefully they consider selling them separately.