I’ve been wary of Nintendo’s new game console, the Switch, for quite some time.
On paper, there’s a lot stacked against it:
- It’s underpowered compared to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, both of which cost the same amount (or less, depending on the model).
- It’s got a paltry game library compared to the competition.
- Due to its lack of horsepower, major games released on multiple platforms (think: “Assassin’s Creed,” “Call of Duty,” “Grand Theft Auto,” etc.) won’t ever come to the Switch.
Still…there’s something kind of magical about actually using the Switch.
The gimmick of Nintendo’s new console is simple: It’s both a home console and portable device, with the same game experience at home on a TV or in your hand on-the-go. But that gimmick is transformative in practice.
Indulge me for a moment while I explain what this means in my daily life:
Last night (Sunday evening), I played a few hours of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” before dinner. I used the Switch Pro controller to play the game from my couch on my TV. Around 7PM, I paused the game and put the console into “Sleep Mode” (the equivalent of closing a laptop or turning off a tablet screen — “off,” but not really all the way off). I ate dinner with my wife while watching season two of “The Great British Baking Show,” and fell asleep a few hours later.
This morning (Monday), I woke up and showered and got ready for work. When it was time to leave my apartment, I grabbed my MacBook and the Nintendo Switch and threw them in my bag. While waiting for the F train, I took the Switch out of my bag and did some in-game errands I wanted to take care of (got that sweet black dye job on my armour). The subway arrived, and I tapped the power button on the top of the Switch, putting it into sleep mode again as I found a seat on the subway car. The subway left the station, and I started playing “Breath of the Wild” once more. A few moblin fights and one shrine later, I was at the 14th Street stop on the F train and, thus, near Business Insider’s main office in Manhattan’s Flatiron district.
I put the Switch to sleep once more and put it back in my bag.
I detail this not to brag about my thrilling morning routine, but to depict how the Switch has quickly, easily fit into my life.
There are a few reasons for this:
- It’s incredibly fast to turn the Switch on and off, which is tremendously meaningful in the living room and on-the-go. The faster I can get in and out of a game, the more likely I am to play it.
- The gimmick of the Switch is legit. It really is as simple as sliding the console in and out of the dock (seen above). No caveats. It’s genuinely impressive and seamless.
- The biggest launch game on the Switch, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” is an outrageously good game. I’m thinking about playing it right now while writing this (seriously).
There are problems with the Switch, no doubt. It’s a far from perfect console, but its benefits far outweigh its problems. I wasn’t expecting to like the Switch this much — I’ve outright stated that you should wait to buy it until later this year, when there are more games and the system’s online service lights up, and I stand by that — but here we are.
The Switch is far more delightful than I expected. I’m so, so glad to have been wrong.