Nintendo’s hybrid games console, dubbed the “Switch” because it can pipe games either to TVs or mobile screens perched between hands, exemplifies the company’s insurgent philosophy. It is both computationally quotidian yet prototypical, unable to match Microsoft’s Xbox One X or Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro teraflop for teraflop. But the Switch is also free of those platforms’ restrictive tethers. It’s a gaming gizmo that goes wherever you do, enabling pickup games of Snipperclips or Mario Kart 8 between strangers on planes, in parks or on subway commutes. It is a repudiation of gaming’s shift to “alone together,” an exuberant backpedal toward in-person cooperation buttressed by millions of years of social evolution.
It is also missing several must-have accessories, which is where this list comes in. The following isn’t a roundup of the most popular Switch extras, it’s based on months of hands-on time with a variety of alternatives from multiple manufacturers. Here are TIME’s picks for the Nintendo Switch accessories you shouldn’t be without.
Arguably the best solo Switch case at the moment, RDS Industries’ officially licensed hardshell option includes a padded divider that protects the Switch’s screen (like Nintendo’s official Switch case) while the divider’s zippered mesh can store extra game cards.
You also get two transparent red game card cases (each one holds four game cards) and a pair of Micro SD card cases (each one holds two cards), if you’re looking for the best possible dust protection.
If you plan to haul your Switch around without the dock, all you need is a case for the Switch itself. But if you only plan to buy one dock, you need a case that can convey that brick-sized piece of plastic real estate, too. PowerA’s padded “Everywhere” bag, tailored for the Switch, does precisely that. Into its snug clutches I’ve managed to stuff my Switch, the dock, an HDMI cable, an extra AC adapter, various USB-C and USB-A cables, a pair of Joy-Cons with tethers, and the Joy-Con grip. The top zipper flap harbors a piece of thin plastic that provides extra frontal protection. Sling the bag’s strap over your shoulder and you’re ready to go.
The bag also comes with a firm carrying case for the Switch, though it lacks discrete slots for your game cards — the only knock against the package. (You can drop them into the bag’s rear zipper pouch, but they’ll be free-floating.) I wound up pairing Nintendo’s…