As the year winds down and we all settle-in for our New Year’s festivities, I find myself looking back a bit. Now that I’ve gotten onboard the current generation with an Xbox Series S, I can’t help but ponder a bit on how the last one started. In particular, I find myself thinking about the Switch. Before I got it, I was reluctant to accept it. After I got it, I was wowed by its convenience. Now, after five years or so, I find my thoughts at the time rather interesting. After all, it’s not features that make the console, it’s the games. Yet, features are what won me over. Read on, and then let me know what your take on the Switch is.
[The following was originally posted on November 5, 2017]
It was inevitable, I suppose. While I’ve never counted myself as a member of the hardcore Nintendo fandom, the fact is that I practically grew up with Nintendo. My first encounter with video games came with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. My childhood dentist had an NES in his waiting room, and my orthodontist had a dozen Gameboys in his lobby. I took a GameBoy wherever I went, marveled at the N64’s 3D majesty, was there with Luigi’s Mansion on day 1 for the GameCube, and even did my best to give the Wii and Wii U the best chance I possibly could. I’ve always been a sucker for Nintendo, and despite my reservations I guess I always knew it was only going to be a matter of time until I jumped on the Switch train too. The thing is, I’m really glad I did.
I was certain that the Switch wasn’t going to be for me. Nothing about it sounded particularly exciting. Why would anyone want an under-powered hybrid console when they could have something to rival the Xbox One or PS4? Why would anyone want another mobile Nintendo device when they already had a darn good one in the form of the 3DS? These are the questions that kept me from feeling any sort of real enthusiasm for Nintendo’s latest console…that is until I went to PAX West earlier this year.
One of my friends bought the Switch on day one. They’d shown me the device before so I’d already seen several of its more unique features before going to PAX. It just never registered with my just how useful and convenient those features were until I saw people starting pick-up Mario Kart 8 races in the various lines at the show. One minute there just a bunch of people standing line, and the next minute several them had taken seats and were having a grand ‘ol time at the races, Switches out and Joy-Con in hand. Now that made an impression. “Okay, I guess I should try it for myself,” It thought. Time and money prevented me from jumping onboard right when I returned from the trip, but the time finally came last weekend, and I went for it.
I still didn’t think I’d get all that much use out of it as a handheld device, but it turns out that being able to just pick it up out of its dock and keep playing encourages all kinds of things one wouldn’t consider otherwise. I’ve really been enjoying the ability to play Super Mario Odyssey while having movies on in the background, or finding something cool in the game and being able to just pick the console up and bring it into the next room to show my roommate. It’s wonderfully convenient and I’m already looking forward to flexing its local multiplayer muscles! (that’s right, LOCAL multiplayer!)
Oh and regarding Super Mario Odyssey, the game really is just as excellent as everyone is saying it is! Turning into various objects and enemies has real and fun purpose. The worlds are colorful and filled with fun challenges to find an conquer. Mario controls so well that it becomes second nature almost immediately! The levels reward outside the box thinking and platforming rather than work to undermine it! It’s just…sublime. Add a solid library of smaller and independent games and you’ve got yourself a gaming device that’s absolutely worth having (quick shout-out for Knight Terrors, the most entertaining “endless gauntlet” game I’ve ever played)!
I didn’t think I’d like it. I didn’t want to like it (for some reason), but now I love it! Nintendo’s hit it out of the park this time and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone still sitting on the fence. I’d say wait for Metroid Prime 4 since we all know they’re going to do a totally sweet version of the Switch for it…but we’re probably not going to see that game until 2020 at the earliest. If you can’t wait that long, then I say go for it!
Man, I really thought 2020 was going to be a safe bet for Metroid Prime 4! Hahaha…. Anyway, what do you think of the Switch? How has your opinion of it changed over the years?
Image from the eShop page