The PlayStation 5’s Accolades feature allowed users to present prizes to fellow gamers in multiplayer, the idea being that it would help spark kindness and camaraderie in the gaming community. But Sony officially retired the PS5 this week for one reason: no one used it. It seems most people (hello) don’t even know it even exists.
This stimulated a thought exercise: What other game consoles still have useless features? Take the toggle switch, for example. Sure, the Nintendo portable hybrid has plenty of quietly useful little tricks, like the comprehensive zoom function. But it also contains a few things that can probably be removed without anyone paying attention – or even noticing.
Function “search for controllers”
Of the plethora of options in the Switch’s “Controllers” menu, the “Find Controllers” function collects the most dust far and away. Open it, and you’ll see a list with a list of Joy-Cons associated with your console. Press and hold the “A” button above the Joy-Con you’re looking for and it will loudly sound. quietly. In, like, animal hearing frequency. It’s intended to help you locate any separate Joy-Con that might be misplaced, but it’s not really efficient enough to do its one job – don’t care that you actually need at least one Joy-Con on hand to use it in the first place.
Unfortunately, there is no controller function that addresses the scourge of the Joy-Con drift.
Most of the seven permanent icons on the Switch’s home screen are really useful shortcuts to sub-menus. One, however, is only used by people who accidentally click on it: the News app. Open it up and you’ll see a reverse-time feed of digital press releases from the Nintendo Marketing Machine’s logs. (You can also see the three most recent “Stories” on the left bar of the screen when you turn on the console.) But if you’re looking for gaming news, you won’t read them on the game console – which you’re supposed to have turned on, you know, playing games. You won’t read it especially on this console if the text is too small. You are more likely to get your news from a favorite gaming site.
Despite what you may have heard, yes, the Switch does have voice chat! Kinda. It’s a complicated mess. On PlayStation and Xbox, if you want to start voice chatting, plug in a headset and continue with the voice chat. However, on Switch, you have to go through a multi-step process and launch an accompanying smartphone app. Nintendo can cancel its voice chat without anyone caring about it. Really, if you use a smartphone app to talk to your party members, then Discord is it right there.
Everyone hates hitting a password (twice!) to buy something on Nintendo’s eShop, and what with the console’s tiny touch keyboard. This workaround does not work in manual mode, but you can plug a USB keyboard into the dock and use it to type instead. But also: the time it takes to pull out and plug the keyboard into the Switch dock will probably take longer than whatever task you were initially trying to circumvent. (If you must get into the eShop faster, just deactivate the password requirement.) Nintendo will likely lose keyboard support without much fanfare.
Screen lock (or, well, that’s an option)
Yes, the Switch’s lock screen feature is indeed quite useful, I dare say a must. Turn it on, and it will give your console a kind of doom between wake and sleep states. You’ll then need to tap the same button three times to use your controller, which can prevent it from being triggered inadvertently when, say, you’re walking around in your bag. Frankly, it should not be an option: it should be the norm. Ditch the option, I say, and make screen lock the standard.
I’m kidding! I’m kidding. But hey, on that note, wouldn’t it be nice if the Switch had more color themes for its background? Welcome? Hello, where are you going?