Shmups (short for “shoot ‘em ups”) were a mainstream genre decades ago, but have since become a persistent niche. Some of the more popular and notable shmups include Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga, M.U.S.H.A., and Raiden. Certain classic consoles including TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn are popular for being “shmup machines,” as there are a high concentration of excellent original titles and arcade ports for these systems. Shmups usually consist of vertically (“Tate” in Japanese) and horizontally (“Yoko” in Japanese) scrolling titles, though there are exceptions. While horizontally scrolling shmup arcade ports translate well to the home, many vertically scrolling arcade ports only take up a small part of the screen if viewed in the proper aspect ratio, akin to watching video taken in portrait mode on a smartphone on your TV. While some vertical shmups do allow for a proper full screen mode, it requires the user to rotate a television vertically to play. Some shmup fans have gone to great lengths to play in Tate mode, but it has been a hassle until now.
Enter the Flip Grip, a $12 piece of plastic that turns a Nintendo Switch into a Tate shmup fan’s dream machine. Setup is easy: insert the Switch screen vertically into the Flip Grip’s dock and slide the Joy-Cons into the Flip Grip’s rails and start playing. It’s that simple. Certain buttons and ports are obscured while using the Flip Grip such as those used to control volume, but there is a way to manipulate sound while playing. Once assembled, you’ll notice how solid the Switch feels and looks with the Flip Grip attached. It’s
very handsome and sturdy, and feels as if it were a first-party product brought to market by Nintendo. If I were to offer some criticism, inserting the screen into the Flip Grip feels a little too snug for my taste. It
seems as though Flip Grip is leaving faint marks on top of the Switch after inserting and removing it a few times. This may be a design flaw or it may be an error on my part. Regardless, it didn’t detract from my
enthusiasm for the product.
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