Nintendo has been a cornerstone of the video game entertainment community since the 80’s. Games like Super Mario Brothers, The Legend Of Zelda, and Donkey Kong, played a major role in laying the foundation of the video game world. With the release of the NES and SNES, it was immediately clear Nintendo would be here for generations to come. With the release of the Playstation and Xbox, Nintendo began to lose their commanding lead in the video game world. I won’t go into a full length history lesson but most gamers know that Nintendo has gone from a primary console, to a secondary console in relatively recent years. The Wii, while widely popular among the casual gamer crowd, was not fully embraced by more serious gamers. The Wii U seemed to have loads of potential when it first released but it feel victim to poor third party and even first party support. Being in a clear 3rd place, Nintendo knew they had to do something if they were to remain relevant 2017 and beyond.
The Nintendo Switch was released in March 2017 and is a handheld/console hybrid that can be played as a stand alone hand held device, or a home console when docked and connected to a TV. It features a 6.2″ capacitive multitouch 720p display with detachable controllers on each side Nintendo has dubbed “Joycons”. Each Joycon features rumble and motion control functionality and can be used as a single unit, or paired together for a traditional controller experience. After several weeks of using the Joycons in different configurations I have to admit that playing with one Joycon is not particularly pleasant. A single Joycon held sideways is very small and makes playing most games in any serious manner a chore. This of course will come down to preference however, I cannot stress how small the Joycons are and how it is generally much more comfortable to play with the traditional controller set up using 2 Joycons paired.
Upon opening the Switch for the first time and attaching the Joycons I immediately felt that the console felt a bit flimsy in my hands. When attached to the Switch the Joycons feel as though they have a bit of play. Holding the Switch with one hand on either end will feel like the Joycons might even snap off the console. At $80 a pair, the Joycons could have been much more robust in feel. Nintendo also released a pro controller for $70 which abandons the Joycons for a traditional controller model complete with gyro control and Amiibo functionality. Both control options come at a hefty price. The pro controller is a must for any serious gamer looking to spend numerous hours with the console docked.
At the time of this writing the must have games for the Switch are; Zelda Breathe of The Wild and Mario Kart 8. The games MSRP is $60 (or $48 with Best Buy’s Gamer’s Club Unlocked which you should all have at this point). Instead of reviewing every aspect of the games and the Switch itself I’d like to answer the question people ask me the most about the Switch; “Is it worth it?”
The short answer is yes, if you can find it in your local stores. $300 is a fair price for what you are getting here however, many re-sellers out there have taken advantage of the low stock situation and are actively selling Switches for $200 more than the MSRP. I was lucky enough to find one at my local Walmart. The same day I went to Best Buy to pick up a few games and they had 5 Switches in stock sitting on a display table right at the entrance of the store. As a life long gamer I’ll admit I was very skeptical of the Switch at first. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would be getting a more expensive Nintendo DS. Thankfully I was wrong. The Switch is a very capable console that allows me to take major console releases like Zelda with me on the go. Playing Breathe of The Wild on the big screen and then undocking the Switch and playing at a friend’s house has been a fantastic experience. I purchased a travel bag made by Hori that features 2 slim cases to carry your cartridges. I currently have NBA Playgrounds, Metal Slug 3, the demos for Blaster Master and Snipperclips installed and have about half of the 32GB internal memory left. I will obviously need to invest in a MicroSD card eventually but with the ease of carrying my games in the Hori case, I suspect it will be a while before I feel the need to pick up more digital only games.
Will the Switch knock PS4 or XBOX One off of their thrones? No. But it is a must have companion console for any serious gamer.