Nintendo Switch: One amazing year later

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

In a world filled with tech pundits with thinkpieces about how Nintendo should move its massive catalog of unique games to phones and tablets, the Nintendo Switch was born. This console could be easily played on the TV or with you wherever you are, and offered graphics much better than any other portable console available today. It was the exact opposite of everything critics said Nintendo needed to do to survive, and one year later the Switch is outselling the current consoles and continuing to defy expectations.

More important than that, it's a great console with a ton to offer a lot of different people. Here are some of our thoughts on the Nintendo Switch over the last year.

Luke's Take

My Nintendo Switch has become my main gaming console; in fact, I haven't touch my PS4 (other than to access Netflix) in about 4 months! As excited as I was about the Switch when I got it, I really never thought it would eclipse all my other consoles. Why has it beaten out everything else? Games and portability!

We all know that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey were fantastic hits, but I have a lot of games for my Switch, and there isn't a title I don't enjoy. From the ink-splattering chaos of Splatoon 2 to the tactical mashup of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle to the incredible JRPG Lost Sphear, Nintendo hasn't missed a step in my opinion, and every month new games are launching on the system and improving the catalog for all types of gamers.

The other key reason I'm still so in love with my Switch is how easy it is to take the console anywhere. I know I'm being a hypocrite; a year ago when Russell, Lory, and I reviewed the Switch, I said that I fully expected to very rarely use the Switch as a portable system, but boy was I wrong. I bring my Switch with me everywhere: on the bus, over to friends' homes, and to game night with my family, and I have a ton of fun every time I pull it out. Even the Dock and all the cables you need to hook it up to a TV are pretty compact compared to other systems. This portability has become crucial to my life and has made gaming with my friends a hell of a lot easier.

The only thing I really dislike about my Switch is the same thing I hated when I first got it: the Dock. The Nintendo Switch Dock is certainly functional, but just not ideal. When you have as many gaming systems as I do (that all lie flat) the upright rectangular space the Nintendo Switch Dock needs is hard to find. I realize not everyone will have this issue, but the Dock also can scratch your Nintendo Switch screen if you're not carefully. I invested in a screen protector for my Nintendo Switch and it was a really smart decision.

Lory's Take

Oh Switch, how I love thee. So much so that I now have two of them. When I first started playing on the Switch, my favorite aspect was the ability to switch (no pun intended) from the big screen to tablet mode without missing a beat. That's still my favorite. I'll be grinding through Skyrim in TV mode when my significant other wants to watch a movie. No problem. I pull it out of the Dock and continue playing without even having to save.

WaterField Design's Arcade Gaming Case

Arcade Gaming Case

It turns out, the Switch is the perfect road console. I didn't think I'd take it with me out of the house as often as I do. If I'm going on a road trip or headed to visit family, my Switch is at my side. I've invested in a number of travel-friendly accessories to make it a truly mobile gaming experience. I have a travel kit that I take with me on every adventure.

If you're wondering, my full travel kit for Switch includes the following:

I always take these with me on the road. They all fit in my Arcade Gaming Case along with the Switch. It's pretty rad.

As far as games go, one of the biggest complaints people had about the Switch when it first launched was how few titles were available. Guess what? There are now more than six dozen (77 at the time of this writing) physical game card titles and somewhere around 350 digital-only games including about 45 NeoGeo titles. So. Yeah. Lack of game options is not a problem on Switch any more.

Fe on Nintendo Switch

Other than the obvious major titles that came out in the past year, like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I've also found some fantastic indie games that really impressed me. Like Fe and Perception. One of my favorite past times on Switch is to play Jackbox games with friends. I can do this at anyone's house, too - because I can connect my Switch to anyone's TV set using the HDMI adapter.

The Switch has been the best game console investment I've ever made. It doesn't compete with the heavy graphics fast-paced environment the likes of Xbox or Playstation, but it doesn't try to either. It does, however, offer a rich variety game styles for all types of people. It's a well-rounded console that keeps getting better. Next stop: Jailbreaking Nintendo Switch!

Russell's Take

I have a house full of gamers, and the thing that routinely surprises me about how we use the Switch is how communal it is. There was a real concern that it may be necessary to buy multiple Nintendo Switch consoles for our house, because some of us are into long-term RPG games that suck up a lot of time while others prefer shorter bursts of fighting games that work best when out and about. But it hasn't been a problem, even with upwards of seven people interested in doing a lot with the Switch.

A big part of that is how well done the multiplayer is on a lot of games. As cool as the portability of the Switch console is, the Joy-Cons are the real MVP for me. The ability to split one controller into two is incredible, and makes packing for a trip or planning activities for my kids infinitely easier. My kids love playing these games together, occasionally breaking into fits of laughter in Snipperclips as they try to cut the other's shapes for example. Local multiplayer has taken a backseat with the other two consoles this generation, and it's something Nintendo not only made a priority but also made it so that experience can go anywhere we go.

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch

Amiibo on Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

I'm also a huge fan of the accessories Nintendo has slowly rolled out this year. Colorful Joy-Cons and custom Pro Controllers are a nice touch, and they make it easy for your Switch to stand out a little when you're out and about. That proved to be a far more important detail than I initially thought when taking my Switch to big conventions. When I was surrounded by other gamers and nerds this year, it seemed like everyone had a Switch. This made big local multiplayer matches of Splatoon 2 a lot of fun, but it also meant telling the difference between my Switch and everyone else's was complicated. It's also worth pointing out Nintendo Switch fans seem to have a small but constant problem with losing or having their Switch stolen as a result, so personalization and the ability to track my Switch quickly became a priority.

More: Tips to keep your Nintendo Switch from being lost or stolen!

As much fun as I have been having with the games available for the Switch so far this year, as a long time Wii and Wii U owner I have desperately missed the Virtual Console I've enjoyed for so many years. Nintendo has made some cool moves by adding what feels like the entire NeoGeo catalog to the eShop, as well as more than a few of the arcade classics from my childhood, but waiting for Nintendo Online to launch for some of that classic Nintendo flavor has been rough. King of Fighters '98 on the Switch is awesome, but I need some Earthbound and Kirby's Avalanche in my life. I'm hoping that becomes a focus for Nintendo's second year.

With things like Nintendo Labo, Nintendo Online, and the massive list of crazy games headed to the Switch this year, it's clear Year Two is going to be a blast. That's great news for everyone, especially those who wanted to wait until it was clear this console was going to be a success to pick one up.

What's your take?

Did you grab the Switch on day one or are you a recent adopter? Share your thoughts about the Switch's anniversary in the comments below!

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).