Are you feeling a bit of FOMO because you didn't get in on the Nintendo Switch preorder window? You can still game your arse off with one of these alternatives!
When Nintendo officially announced its upcoming hybrid mobile/console gaming system, Switch, you had to be fast if you wanted to preorder one in limited supply. I was one of the lucky ones that preordered during the second round a half-hour later.
If you weren't as lucky, and you're feeling left out, you don't have to take your toys and go home. In fact, you can fit right in with one of these great gaming alternatives while you wait for the Switch to be available on store shelves!
Clearly the best alternative to the Switch is Nintendo's most recent full console system, the Wii U. It comes with a Game Pad that, while nothing like the pull-out display for the Switch, is its own unique device that everyone else you're playing with will covet. You can get hundreds of awesome games, including such Switch-familiar titles as Mario Cart 8 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is also backward-compatible with the original Wii games. It isn't even that much more expensive than the Switch.
The thing is, though. It is more expensive, which makes the Wii U something you would pick up instead of the Switch, not something to keep you occupied until the Switch is available in stores. That is, unless, you have an expendable income. In which case, have at it.
Most Nintendo fans probably already have the Wii U. So, you're golden. Pick up a copy of Mario Cart 8 on the Wii U right now and make your Switch-having buddies jealous that you are already playing the game while their still waiting for their version to launch.
The most expensive, but clearly best alternative to the Switch while you wait for it to arrive on store shelves is the Wii U
NES Classic Edition
Nintendo's retro bundle is a mini version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It comes preloaded with 30 classic games, like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and the first installments of The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. It looks like a shrunk-down version of the NES of our childhood and even has that iconic classic rectangular controller (though the cord is a little short).
Believe me, if you have the NES Classic Edition, your Switch-having buddies will throw it on the ground and come running to you. The NES Classic Edition has been sold out since it first went on sale and it's still hard to find. Though, you could luck out and find one at your local retail store for its official price of $60. Otherwise, it'll cost you two or three times as much on the reseller market until Nintendo produces more.
It costs about $160 at Amazon and Walmart right now, though the price has been known to fluctuate. It ranges between $100 and $120 on eBay.
I personally suggest holding out for the official price. Retailers continue to restock the NES Classic Edition every few weeks.
New Nintendo 3DS XL
If you want some mobile Nintendo action, the latest and greatest 3DS is where it's at. You can get your Super Mario Cart on right now, instead of waiting for a month after the Switch launches. Plus, you can travel down memory lane with classic versions of some of your childhood favorites, like Pokémon Red or Blue and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Newer games feature local multiplayer options, so you can connect your 3DS with your friends' and race, fight, or trade them all the live long day.
Unlike the Switch, everyone gets their own screen (if everyone owns a 3DS), and it's more likely that your buddies all own a 3DS than a Switch, so you can throw a way better party than that one Switch-owning friend you have. AmIright?
When it comes to gaming on the go with Nintendo, 3DS XL is a win, hands-down.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money, and you're not a heavy gamer in need of the most advanced gaming technology, you might want to consider the fourth-generation Apple TV. Now, I'm not trying to say that Apple TV is somehow comparable to the Switch. One is a dedicated gaming console and one is a set-top box that also has games. If you can't get your hands on a Switch by March 3 or shortly afterward, though, Apple TV is a decent option when it comes to price, content, and living room multiplayer playability.
There are hundreds of Apple TV compatible games, and some of them are darn-near console quality, like Leo's Fortune, Oceanhorn, and Dungeon Hunter 5. Some of the LEGO games are also available on Apple TV, which are part of the family friendly console gaming universe.
Apple TV costs less than most console systems, and the games are a fraction of the price. Plus, you can watch TV shows and movies on it, too!
If you are jonesing for some solid living room family gaming while waiting for your Switch, but don't want to spend too much money on an alternative, Apple TV will satisfy your craving. Don't forget the game controller!
As an alternative to Nintendo's Switch just until you can actually pick one up, I'm only recommending an iPad to those who already own one. Here's why: LEGO. You can play pretty much ever LEGO game on iOS, and they are Mfi compatible. Many of them you can download the first few levels of for free, plus, even at full price, they are still significantly less expensive than console cartridges (or discs).
In addition to access to the LEGO game franchise, there is also a bevy of fantastic platformer games, puzzle games, and action arcade games, right at your fingertips. If you have a MFi controller, you can really get a gaming experience out of your iPad. This tablet is pricey, in relation to gaming devices I'm not suggesting you go out and buy one to stave off your desire to play Switch for a couple of weeks until you can get one. I'm just saying, if you already have one, and if you're reading iMore, there is a pretty good chance you do, then pick it up, play some LEGO: Batman, and relax while everyone else is itching for their Switch.