“It doesn’t even have any games.” “What’s the online support going to be like?” “What about the connectivity issues?” “I hear the screen can get scratched or at least, like, the black edge part around the screen.” “Dead pixels.” “Frame rate issues of the wild.” “Name a good switch game you can’t get on Wii U.”
There are a lot of reasons people may recoil after reading this title. I hear you. I acknowledge it. Believe me, I didn’t expect this to happen either. I’m the kind of gamer who is into games first, hardware second. The difference between Xbox One and PS4? I don’t care. All that matters to me is exclusives. I bought The Switch because I want its upcoming library. And I thought it’d be nice to (finally) get a console on its release day.
But The Switch hype is real and it continues on. Its been almost two weeks since the console came out and I’m still enamored. And no, it’s not just because of Breath of the Wild here so I’ll spare you the Zelda talk (but if you’d rather not be spared you can read my latest piece on Nerd Much?: More Loot, Less Direct Combat: My Breath of the Wild Play Style).
The Switch is becoming my favorite console because the machine itself is something to talk about. And it’s fascinating in a way that’s accessible to most people, unlike the Xbox One and PS4.
Intrigue and Accessibility
I own a Xbox One and a PS4. Both are great consoles that are more powerful than The Switch and, with the PS4 Pro out and Xbox Scorpio on its way, that gap is only getting bigger. I appreciate what the Xbox One and PS4 can do but, like most gamers, I can’t talk about it at length. I’ve been playing video games since 1999; While this technology is a big part of my life, I don’t “get” how it works.
For this reason, I can’t tell you much either machines. Outside of UI differences, controller differences, etc all I can tell you is they play games. They have some exclusives but outside of that they’re just boxes to me. Boxes I love and have fond memories with, boxes you couldn’t pay me to enough to ever trade in, but boxes nevertheless. The Switch is different.
The Switch is something I can talk about and enjoy. When it comes to the technical side, I can’t explain how The Switch works any more than I can explain the PS4 or Xbox One; however, the Switch gives me more “surface level” things to talk about. I can be amazed at the seamless transition between docked TV mode and handheld mode. I can show off and (on a basic level) explain table top mode. I can discuss the merits of the joy-con grip vs the pro controller.
The Switch is fun AS a console. At its worst its a novelty and at its best it changes my entire gaming experience.
This is what I mean when I say The Switch is intriguing in a way that’s more obvious (and thus accessible) than the other consoles of this gen.
Usually when a game is available on all the platforms I default to Xbox One because I love that controller; now my default is The Switch because I can go from TV to handheld and because table top mode is surprisingly comfortable. It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s different. While other consoles go for sleeker and more powerful versions of what came before, Nintendo goes experimental. The results always vary but The Switch gets it right. The enjoyment I get from my Xbox One and my PS4 comes from the games they offer; but my love of The Switch is most firmly rooted in the variety the console offers. Call it a gimmick if you want but I love going from exploring Hyrule on the big screen in my living room to playing some Shovel Knight, in handheld mode, right before bed.
It’s a piece of tech I can geek out about even if I can’t explain the intricacies of HD Rumble.