Nintendo Details 3DS Slide Pad and Upcoming Game Releases

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On the eve of this year’s Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo held a conference to update consumers on their upcoming plans for the 3DS. The Nintendo 3DS Conference brought some good news, some surprising news and some bad news for folks tracking the roller coaster ride that the company’s newest dual-screen handheld has been on.

The Slide Pad add-on–coming to Japan on December 10 and costing ¥1,500 (US$19)–reportedly attaches a second analog control input to the right side of the 3DS and extra shoulder buttons, making it more like a standard gamepad controller.

(MORE: Nintendo 3DS May Get Ugly, Awkward Righthand Joystick)

The new peripheral lets Nintendo poach Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise from the PSP, where it’s been a solidly performing exclusive for the Sony portable. It’ll also be usable with Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3DS and Kingdom Hearts 3DS.

As far as other games in the 3DS pipeline, future installments for the Mario Tennis, Paper Mario and Animal Crossing will reportedly hit Japan next year, but no U.S dates were announced at the confab. That said, two of the most anticipated 3DS games featuring Nintendo’s mascot got firm U.S. release dates: The all-new Super Mario 3D Land will arrive stateside on November 13 and Mario Kart 7 will follow on December 4. However, Kid Icarus: Uprising, previously due this year, won’t be coming to the stereoscopic handheld until March 2012.

Overall, it looks like the software portfolio that Nintendo has planned may help the fortunes of the 3DS, which has seen increased sales since the startling price drop earlier this summer. People who complained that Nintendo’s most popular character was absent from the 3DS launch will soon have all the Mario that they can handle. And while rumors of a controller dock for the 3DS were confirmed, it’s still not clear if the weird-looking appendage will make the system the equal of Sony’s upcoming PS3-like PlayStation Vita.

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