So this past Friday was a pretty relevant day. In case you haven’t heard, Nintendo’s newest console, the home/portable hybrid called Switch was released. Today, I just want to talk about the system itself. What I like and dislike, etc. And I must say, while it is exciting for any company to come out with a new system, it is a whole lot more exciting when it happens to be a Nintendo console, strictly because they offer something different, new and exciting. It gives gamers a chance to experience something they really haven’t before. It isn’t all about graphics. It’s about the experience, about the gameplay. I seem to be in the minority when I say, I buy video games to play them, not look at them.
Any who, let’s get back to talking about the Nintendo Switch.
To start off, I was amazed how small it is. Even though I knew how small it was from videos and such, I was still completely shocked, for it is much smaller in person than you would expect. The whole console is a screen slightly bigger than the screen of the Wii U Gamepad. I’ve actually seen some of the ridiculously large cell phones come close to the size of it. Once you slip on the Joy Con controllers, that adds like 2 inches (if that) to each side. That is your entire console. By far and away the smallest home console ever made. Placing it in the dock, which connects it to your TV, only fattens it up by another inch or two. So the whole console is roughly 9 inches long with the controllers connected, four inches high, and about 2 inches wide. Those are some nice dimensions.
Wii U Gamepad and Switch Console
Switch Console with Controllers and Dock with Wii U Gamepad
It is welcome news for someone like me, who has an entertainment stand a bit on the small side. I’ve already got a Ps2, PS3, PS4, SNES, N64, 2 Wii’s, Wii U and a DVD Player hooked up to the TV and I’ve more or less run out of space to put anything else in there. The small size of the Switch couldn’t have come at a better time. I can easily fit it anywhere. It makes me pray that every console in the future should downsize. While the Switch isn’t the most powerful machine out there, it is mighty impressive how small they made it nonetheless. Microsoft and Sony should follow suit, downsizing the technology before throwing out these clunky machines, only to resell them smaller years later. But those slimmed down versions are monstrous compared to Switch.
Now I just talked about how small the console itself is, but what really is shocking is how small the controller is. And I’m talking about when you slide the Joy Cons on the controller dock to play it like a normal controller. It is this tiny little guy! It took a bit to get used to using it, because the buttons are closer together than normal. But after a minute or so, you get comfortable with it. Even playing with one tiny Joy Con becomes comfortable after a short while.
Standard controller set up in my hands
PS4 and Swtich controllers
While there are many ways to play the Switch, my personal favorite is having the console docked to play on the TV and just holding each Joy Con in each hand, without the controller dock. It gives you a satisfying feeling of freedom. Imagine it is like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but without the wire tethering them together. You are not restricted to one space like you are using any other controller in the world either. You can rest your arms anywhere, have each hand in different positions and still play normally. This is especially welcome, since I have two cats that love to sit all over me when I play games, thus forcing me to move my controller to an awkward position to play around the cats, or having to adjust them so I can still play. Now, thanks to the freedom of the Joy Cons, I can have my arms where ever I want, and the cats can lay however or where ever they want.
And you know what else is small? The game cartridges. The cases are tiny, smaller even than a PSP game, or thinner, but taller than a 3Ds game case. And the actual cartridge is about half the size of a 3DS cartridge!
Now I haven’t had too much time to play around with the Switch, but I will talk about what I’ve noticed once the system is on.
Firstly, just connecting it was a problem because the included HDMI cord is too small. It’s about maybe three feet long, but when you have to weave the thing all over the place, it ended up being a few inches short.
So what’s it like when you turn it on? Right off, I don’t like how they set up the app selection in the main menu of the console. It is now like the PS4 or 3DS where everything is just lined up in one long line. I know in the 3DS you can change this to have multiple apps appear on screen in 4×4 blocks or more. I don’t know if you can do it on PS4 or not, but it’s really annoying to have to scroll through 20 different things to find an app or game you haven’t used in a while. I loved the method the Wii U and Wii used. There was like 16 apps or so on the screen. One button scrolled to the next page, where 16 more things would show up. I have a lot of digital games on my Wii U, and they are all confined to 3 or 4 pages. That’s close to 100 apps you can choose from in no time. With the Switch, it looks like you would have to scroll through each one, one by one until you find what you are looking for. I despise doing it in PS4, and I will here. You may be able to change this though, I haven’t looked into it yet.
Another thing that bothered me is there is no music in the main menu or on the eShop. The eShop itself is rather pitiful. You only have the option of buying 9 games, but hey it’s brand new, so I expect both the menu and especially the eShop to drastically improve once more games and updates come out.
Now speaking of games, how did the Switch do with launch titles? Well, I’ve got to say, it’s terrible. Zelda is the best launch title you could hope for, but other than that, there is nothing particularly a must have. There isn’t really anything at all. 1,2 Switch looks pretty cool, but the other games aren’t really my cup of tea, so whatever. What makes it worse, is Zelda isn’t even actually a true Switch title. It’s just a more advanced version of a Wii U game that was supposed to release almost 2 years ago! What were they doing this whole time? We’ve been hearing about the code name NX for like four years! They couldn’t make some good games for it by launch?
Lack of launch games don’t really bother me though. Games will come and when they do, I’ll get them. I don’t need to have everything right out of the gate, but it’s important to most people, so I thought I’d mention it.
But speaking of launch titles, this whole argument you can find between gamers on the internet with the importance of launch titles really cracks me up. Most anywhere, you will find someone say “I won’t waste $300 on a console with no games. I’ll wait until they come out with more before I buy it.” Or they’ll say things like this… especially pertaining to Wii U, “there aren’t enough games to justify buying the console.”
This argument really makes no sense. I understand what they mean, but it honestly translates to “I can’t waste $300 because it doesn’t come accompanied with 5-10 $60 games I can buy alongside it.” The other example with Wii U translates to “I don’t have money to waste on the console because there isn’t enough money for me to spend on it after I buy it to justify it.”
What sense does that make? If you aren’t going to jump into the console immediately, then yes, it is smarter to wait for a good bundle or price drops in games, but if the argument is you don’t want to waste money, that is just stupid. If you know you are going to buy it eventually and there are games you want, then you might as well get it. But to each his own. I don’t really care what people do, but don’t bash a console for stupid, nonsensical reasons.
Well, I’m getting off topic here. That is everything I have noticed with the short time I’ve used the Switch. It can only get better from here! If you are one of the people who want tons of games, then I would suggest waiting. If you don’t care, then pick one up, you won’t be sorry.
But remember, the more support for a console, especially early on, the more likely more games and support from developers there will be!