A Week with the Nintendo Switch

A week ago I got a tip that a big chain store was going to carry the Switch. Woke up way too damned early, did some laundry, and was able to snag the console and a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. As soon as I got home, I opened up the box and set everything up. Since then, the Switch has surprised me and provided much entertainment, yet it also has changed the way I think about videogames.

Originally, I thought of the Switch as a mobile console that can be played like a home console on the TV, this turned out to not be the case at all. The Switch can be played on the go, but it is not mobile in the way I have thought of mobile consoles for the last 20+ years. It does not fit in any pocket easily, being that it is about 9 inches long and over 5 inches wide. Though well built, the Switch probably would not survive a fall unscathed, like say an old Game Boy, or even a 3DS. I’ve asked folks on Twitter if they do play the Switch, say on the bus or train while commuting, and it seems people do play this on public transport. They also recommended and insisted people use carrying cases and screen protectors, and I would completely agree with them.

Docking the Switch and playing on the screen for the first time was a pleasant experience. I had been playing Mario Kart on the Switch in handheld mode and had not tried to dock it for a few hours, when I did during a race in Mario Kart, I was floored. The clarity and graphics of the game on a 50 inch television slapped me hard! The game is gorgeous and of course, exciting and fun to play. Two player mode on the Switch joycons was something that had me concerned coming into the Switch, being that they are small and not really shaped in a conventional way. When I handed my girlfriend a joycon to play, her comment was “this is really small, can I really play with that?” The small control feels a bit strange at first, it takes a bit for my hands to adjust and realize there is nothing missing and that all of it is there. Once playing, all of that goes away, the diminutive joycons just work.

The amount of enjoyment I have gotten with the Switch right out of the box has been amazing. Handheld consoles are now obsolete compared to it. Sure, it does not fit in pants’ pocket, but it is still playable as one friend said, while waiting for laundry, or on a car ride. Two controls, no matter the size, means playing with someone on the couch is immediately available, and I have to admit, I do not want to go back to one controller console boxes after this. The ease of use and immediacy of play on the Nintendo Switch, whether at home or at work or on the bus, is something I have gotten used to and now want to experience with all of my gaming platforms. Playing Persona 5 on the PS4 feels great, Overwatch on the PC feels great, Pokemon on the 3DS feels great, but now I’ll always be thinking “What if I can take this with me? What if I can play this on a big screen easily? What if I can play this with friends right away?” It has been a week, and already I need everyone else to catch up.

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