Initial Thoughts: Nintendo Switch

nintendo-switchAfter posting a picture of my newly acquired Switch last Friday, I essentially checked out of life over the weekend. I’m not sure how many hours I spent in Hyrule (is there really such a thing as too many hours spent with a Zelda game?), but the playtime lead me to some general observations about the console.

Size

The Switch proves that size isn’t everything. As a console, it’s so small! As a handheld, it’s (almost) just right. When next to my PS4, the Switch is so much more compact and flexible in terms of placement, though a part of me wishes it could lay flat.

As a handheld, the Switch is a decent weight and comfortable enough not to hinder several hours of play on the couch. If it were any lighter, I think the console might feel cheap, but that isn’t an issue. With a proper case or bag, the Switch is fairly portable. At first the Switch seemed a bit wide with the Joy-Con controllers attached, but I’ve gotten used to the look and feel.

Controls

I wasn’t sure that I would like the Joy-Con controllers because of their flatness. In anticipation of this, I went ahead and purchased the Pro Controller. The funny thing is I have spent 90% of my playtime using the Switch as a handheld (more on this later). This is mostly due to my rediscovery of the joy a handheld on the couch can bring, but I’m sure the Pro Controller will pay for itself later on (I’m looking at you Mario Kart).

One of the only minor complaints that I have with the system has to do with the shape of the Joy-Con. This comes down to personal preference, so I can’t fault Nintendo for this. I have small hands, and I’m incredibly picky about controllers. One of the reasons I opted for a PS4 over the Xbox One is because I have never liked the Xbox controllers. The Joy-Con controllers don’t offer much support, and I find my hands getting cramped after awhile. This should be an easy fix with the various covers and guards releasing.

On the other hand, the Pro Controller fits nicely in my hands. Again, I haven’t used it much, but, initially, I am a fan of it’s design.

Graphics

I don’t normally talk about graphical fidelity and the like, because I generally don’t care, but I will say that I was impressed with how good Breath of the Wild looks on the handheld and on the TV. Obviously the graphics take a hit in handheld/tabletop mode but not enough to keep me from playing that way. I know the Switch is not super powerful as current gen consoles go, but it seems powerful enough.

Game Cartridges

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I find the game cartridges to be tiny, like terrifyingly tiny. I’m going to be so upset if I manage to lose one. But hey, it’s cool something as complex as a game can be housed in something so small.

Switch Wishlist:

I haven’t heard or read anyone else saying this, and maybe I just have sensitive eyes, but I wish the screen brightness could be lowered even further.

Give me that Virtual Console! Seriously, I need Harvest Moon and Super Mario World in my life.

I know it’s very early in the Switch’s life, but I like the support Nintendo seems to be showing for indie games and hope to see even more titles released.


Luckily, I haven’t experienced any of the common complaints some users have with the Switch. Oddly enough, the only time the Joy-Con controllers desynced was when I was playing in handheld mode. Otherwise, I haven’t had any technical issues with them or the console. The Switch doesn’t seem to get too hot, I haven’t noticed any scratches on the surface, and I couldn’t find any defects in how the casing fits together.

My time with the Switch over the weekend was overwhelmingly positive, which brings me to a bit of nostalgia. I think the Switch is, in a sense, filling a void I didn’t realize I had. I haven’t owned anything Nintendo in a few years, and it has been even longer since I’ve owned a handheld. I have a lot of good memories associated with the Game Boy Advance and DS I had as a kid. For the most part, they make up my image of Nintendo. The Switch is bringing me back in touch with that part of my childhood.

It will be interesting to see how the summer plays out and if I continue to use the Switch primarily as a handheld. I look forward to what E3 and the rest of this year brings for Nintendo’s newest console.

Author: Tabitha

I game. I teach. I write. Graduate student pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing. Interested in the use of video games in education, digital rhetoric, and literacy.

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