Video game collectible maker Fangamer is now seeking Kickstarter funding for the Flip Grip, a new Nintendo Switch holster that lets you more easily and portably play select games in their vertical “TATE mode” orientation.
The Flip Grip was first publicly mulled last April by Retronauts podcast co-host and classic gaming expert Jeremy Parish, who’s working with engineer Mike Choi on the device. Parish then teased the grip in March as a way to hold the Switch and two Joy-Con controllers comfortably in your hands with the screen oriented vertically.
That vertical aspect ratio lets you use the entire screen real estate on a number of Switch games designed to be played in a “portrait,” orientation, including classic arcade re-releases (Donkey Kong, Pac-Man), pinball emulators (Pinball FX 3, Stern Pinball Classics), shoot-em-ups (Ikaruga, Gunbird), and more. In total, 21 Switch games currently support vertical orientation, with at least seven more announced and coming soon.
The Flip Grip’s “single piece of durable injection-molded [ABS] plastic” locks the Switch screen in place in a holster about half the width of the Switch itself, with standard rails on the sides to slide in Joy-Cons (and slots on the back for propping up a vertical system on a table using standard credit cards). While the grip itself does partially cover the Switch’s air vents, the makers promise that air still flows and that Switch operating temperatures don’t increase appreciably when using the holster.
The Switch headphone jack, game card, and SD card slots are accessible while the device is in the Flip Grip, but you won’t be able to charge the system or turn off the power when using it. The Switch’s system interface (and most game UIs) also won’t rotate before you start playing, which could make navigation awkward without removing the system.
There have been previous 3D-printed homebrew holsters that provide a similar vertical orientation grip for the Switch, and some tabletop stands also allow for easy vertical Switch play. That said, the Flip Grip looks like a more convenient, portable, and professional way to play dozens of Switch games the way they were originally intended, without huge black bars reducing the usable screen size and pixel information.
While we’re always wary of video game Kickstarters promising more than they can deliver, Parish says the Flip Grip is already fully designed, prototyped, and ready for delivery by October or November, should it be funded. The crowdfunding effort is looking to raise $ 45,000 at $ 12 per grip, so we’re hoping at least 3,749 other people are interested in playing vertical Switch titles the way they were meant to be played.