Is the Nintendo Switch Worth Buying?
The Nintendo Switch has been out for a little more than a year now and it is readily available at every retailer. This was not the case when it was first released. It seems that everything that is hot is somehow scooped up by scalpers and then resold on secondary markets at unreasonable prices. I waited 8 months to get my Switch because I refuse to pay more than retail for something that is going to be on the market for years to come.
I am a huge fan of Nintendo. All of my best gaming memories and experiences have been due to some piece of hardware that Nintendo has released. This is not to say that I have not enjoyed other gaming systems or even owned them (honestly I never got past the initial release of the Playstation or the Xbox). A great game can be delivered on any console or platform, and I will not hesitate to play it, but I am a Nintendo fanboy and will buy just about any console that they release.
Nintendo toyed with the idea of a hybrid console in the release of the Wii U, which had a hand held controller with a large touch screen that could be played independently of the console and TV. The handheld controller could also be used as a sub map or an inventory screen for a lot of games. It could also be used as a remote controller for your TV. There were restrictions on its use. It could not be used too far from the Wii U as it would lose signal. So, no playing in a separate room from the Wii U.
This was the inspiration for the Nintendo Switch. In my opinion, they have perfected the idea of a hybrid console.
The Nintendo Switch is a powerful system that has been crammed into a small console that can be played in docked mode when plugged into a TV or as a handheld system for on-the-go gaming. The specs are as follows:
- 6.2″ LCD screen with touch capabilities
- Nvidia Tegra processor
- 32GB of internal storage
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Near-Field Communication (NFC)
- Wi-Fi and Wireless LAN
- An accelerometer
- A gyroscope
- A 3.5″ headphone jack
- Stereo speakers
- A Micro SD card slot for additional storage
- HDMI, USB 2.0 and USB Type-C
- 1280 x 720 pixels
- 720p in tablet mode and up to 1080p in docked mode
There has been a lot of discussion about how the Nintendo Switch is still under powered when compared to its direct competition in the Xbox One and the Playstation 4. This may be true, but if you are a fan of Nintendo, you will know that Nintendo has never been the leader in the area of graphic capabilities. Nintendo has always been about the gaming experience. They have always made the effort to give their audience great games, innovative gaming options and solid hardware.
Gaming on the Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a versatile game system. It can be played on-the-go or at home, docked in its base. When used as a handheld system, its battery life varies from 2.5 to 6 hours, depending on the game that is being played. While this is not impressive, it is enough for most game sessions when on the move. While being played as a handheld, it does not feel too heavy and is a lot more comfortable to play than the 3DS XL, especially for those of us with larger hands.
If you choose to play the system separate from the dock, but don’t want to hold it as a handheld, it can be placed on a stand and used as if it was a small TV. One such stand that actually does a great job is the Hori Compact Playstand. When being used in this way, the Joy-Cons with a Joy-Con Grip or a Pro Controller can be used. This was my preferred method of playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild when I was unable to use my TV.
The Switch is a game console that is meant to be played at home as well. The majority of my gaming is done at home and with a Pro Controller. I don’t have they type of commute to work where I can be the passenger and take advantage of the portability as often as I’d like. When on vacation or short trips I will use the Switch instead of my 2DS XL, but that’s really it. When at home, the Switch performs as I’d expect, which is nothing short of awesome. I have not experienced the slow downs that people have complained of. Truthfully, I look at my Switch as a console that has the ability to be portable if I really need it.
Availability of Solid Games
Upon its initial release, the Switch only had a handful of games that players could test its capabilities on. In the last year, the game library has grown dramatically. Nintendo has relied upon their popular franchises to launch their new systems and this one was no different. At this time, there is no shortage of great games to play on the Switch. This includes games ported to the system from other consoles or platforms, remakes, third party games, new games based off of longstanding franchises and completely new games made for this system. Some of the best games on the Switch are:
- Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- Mario Tennis Aces
- Splatoon 2
- Diablo 3: Eternal Collection
- Hollow Knight
- Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2
- Dead Cells
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
- Stardew Valley
- Dragon Quest Builders
- Into the Breach
- Mega Man 11
- Sonic Mania Plus
- Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy
- Mega Man Collection
- Mega Man X Collection
- The Messenger
- Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
This list can go on and on. The last year we have had with the Switch has been good for the gamer. There have been so many great games released that no matter what type of gamer you are, there are more than a handful of games for you.
Is It Still Fresh?
The Nintendo Switch is much more available this holiday season than it was last year. It is definitely more available than it was on launch day. For me, this system is just becoming an adolescent in the gaming industry. There was a bit of a rocky start, as there always is, due to availability, lack of great launch games, online issues, etc., but right now this system is hot. It keeps delivering on its promises and has even brought back Nintendo’s charm of innovation over specs. I am referring to its design and accessories, but especially the Nintendo Labo system. Love it, hate it, indifferent… Nintendo is innovating again and the Labo is proof of that.
I think that the next few years will be great for Nintendo, especially if they continue to innovate within the realm of the technology that they have been steadily building with their systems since the Wii was released. They may not need to think about a new system for many years due to the versatility of this system. Since it is a true hybrid system, on-the-go gamers will be satisfied as long as they keep getting great new games to play and at-home gamers will continue to be intrigued by the expanding capabilities of the Switch’s accessories.
The Nintendo Switch is a Hit!
After the maligned Wii U (which I actually loved), the Nintendo Switch is a huge hit. Even Playstation and Xbox fanboys have to admit that the appeal of a hybrid system like the Switch is enough to dismiss the lack of graphic capabilities on par with those systems. This is not to say that the graphics on the Switch are bad, but they are not as good as their competition. Again, this is not a deal breaker when considering what the Switch can do that the competition can’t.
With all the great games in its catalog in just over one year, and more to come, the Switch is a force to be reckoned with. If there was a time that Sony and Microsoft should be worried, it is now. Their systems, although powerful and with a catalog of great games, are becoming stale. They are monuments to the history of gaming. If they do not find a way to innovate, instead of upgrading and replicating their systems as they’ve done, they will lose their foothold and a portion of their audience. They will probably never go out of business because of this, but they will steadily watch as their sales drop and their profits decrease.
I am excited to see what the future brings for the Nintendo Switch. It would be nice to see a software upgrade that would squash the graphics debate, but as long as Nintendo keeps respecting their fans and giving us what we really want, they will stay profitable and enjoy a healthy audience.
I welcome questions and comments. I am very passionate about everything that I write and publish. Thanks for reading!