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Nintendo Switch: A review from three different types of gamers

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

Russell Holly, Lory Gil, and Luke Filipowicz have all been drooling over Nintendo's latest console, the Switch, since the first murmurings of its existence. As soon it was possible to get one, they rushed to make sure they had a lock on it, even going to midnight sales events to stock up on everything they could.

One week later and we all have strong opinions about what we think of the Switch, but for different reasons. We are all gamers of a different ilk. Here's what we think of the Switch, and why.

First off, what experience do you have with video games, in general?

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

Russell: I'll play just about anything, and often do play just about everything. I love playing fun party games with my kids, wasting a sunday to a massive open world adventure, and while I'm usually not very good at them I do occasionally enjoy a good first-person shooter. Puzzle games are usually my happy place, but I really do try a little bit of everything. My living room is home to an Xbox One, PlayStation 4 Pro, Wii U, NVidia Shield TV, and now a Nintendo Switch. Back in the office I keep all of the Virtual Reality hardware, as well as my gaming PC and gaming laptop to power it all. I don't really have a favorite game, but I have been known to blow off plans with friends so I can play through Myst or Riven.

Lory: You might call me a casual gamer in the sense that, for the past few years, I'd been focusing so much on mobile gaming that I stopped playing on consoles altogether. I used to spend hours every day at my PC and hours every evening on my XBox, but working as an app and game reviewer kept me from being able to make extra time for gaming for fun. Thanks to a shift in my career, I finally invested in my first console in years, a PlayStation 4. I love big console gaming. I love how epic these monstrosities feel, and how they take me out of the real world and into an adventure. I'm back to playing games for hours at a time, but not with the fervor I had in the past. I've always loved Nintendo's flagship titles, Pokémon, the Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros and have kept up with those series on my DS or 3DS, even when gaming for fun was hard to come by. So, while I've been playing video games for most of my life (I got a ColecoVision the year it came out when I was eight), I fit best into the casual gamer category.

Luke: Being a millennial, I was fortunate enough to always have at least one (usually multiple) gaming consoles in my house. In fact, some of my earliest memories are of me sitting in front of the TV, playing Sesame Street 1-2-3 on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Gaming has always been my biggest hobby, it's what I sink most of my spending money (and sometimes a little savings money, whoops) into and to say I enjoy it is probably a huge understatement — I absolutely love it. Over the years I have collected a wide variety of consoles. I have owned every Nintendo system except the Wii U, I have every generation of Playstation, and I even have all my old Sega consoles, including a Dreamcast. Where I have fallen off the gaming path is in handheld gaming. The last handheld gaming platform I held in my hands before I got my Switch, was a GameBoy Advance SP and that's because I felt a disconnect with mobile gaming since with invention of smartphones. My iPhone has been my go-to mobile gaming device for years, and systems like the Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita never appealed to me. My favorite games are typically story-driven adventures or RPGs. The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, Final Fantasy XV, and Resident Evil 7 have all taken up a significant amount of my free time, but I still have a love for Nintendo's franchises such as Mario, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda.

What goodies did you get with the Switch right away?

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

Russell: I grabbed an extra set of Joy-Cons for the kids, a Pro Controller for myself, the collector's edition of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and a copy of 1-2-Switch. A day or two later I downloaded SnipperClips and Fast RMX.

Lory: When the Switch first went on sale for preorder at 9AM on January 13, I rushed to stake my claim for the Switch. Unfortunately, the neon Joy-Con model was already sold out, so I opted for the gray model instead. I can always buy a set of neon Joy-Con controllers later. I also ordered The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (AKA: BotW), since I knew I'd need a game to play right away. So far, I haven't spent any more money on my Switch, but I'm already eying a couple of sweet accessories, like the RDS Travel Deluxe System Case (opens in new tab) and the HORI Compact Playstand (opens in new tab). Oh, and I'm definitely getting Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (opens in new tab) when it launches on April 28.

Luke: I pre-ordered a Nintendo Switch the day they went on sale, but for some reason Best Buy Canada wasn't able to send it to me until a few days after launch. I decided that wasn't good enough for me, so I waited for five-or-so hours in line, outside in the cold, to hit up a midnight release at my local EB Games. For hardware, I have two Nintendo Switch consoles — one with grey Joy-Cons and one with neon — a Pro Controller, a cheap carrying case (opens in new tab), and I recently ordered a tempered glass screen protector (opens in new tab). As for software, I picked up a hard copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at launch and then I downloaded Super Bomberman R the next day.

What do you think of the tablet portion, AKA: The Switch?

Russell: It's fantastic, in fact I use the Switch more in tablet mode than I do in TV mode. Being able to pull the tablet out of its dock as I walk out the door to take my daughter to Gymnastics is exactly what I wanted. It's better visuals and greater comfort than a 3DS, and it just plain looks nice.

Lory: I find myself using my Switch in tablet mode more often than I use it in TV mode. The screen is clear and bright, and the graphics of BotW look amazing on that size of screen. I actually remove the Joy-Con controllers and play split-handed with the Switch on my lap, propped up on a pillow. I'm not sure why Nintendo chose to make the screen touch capacitive. It almost seems like an afterthought. The touch screen is very responsive, but it's a secondary element to the system. There are a lot of items on the screen that aren't touch capable at all. It doesn't hurt my gaming experience, but it makes me wonder if the Switch might have been a little less expensive if Nintendo opted for a non-touch capacitive screen, since it doesn't make a difference whether I touch the screen or use the buttons on the controller.

Luke: I love it and hate it at the same time. The screen is big and bright and games look great on the 6.2-inch screen. Plus, the ease of carrying it around with the Joy-Cons attached is fantastic; however, portable gaming has never been my favorite way to enjoy games and the Switch hasn't convinced me otherwise. My hands cramp up after an about an hour of playing, and the tiny Joy-Con buttons and thumbsticks don't offer the most enjoyable experience for my large digits. I have come to the decision that tablet mode is best used for short periods of play, like on my 25-minute bus ride to the gym or the 15-plus minute wait I experience at the doctor's office.

How do those Joy-Con controllers feel? Are they all they're cracked up to be?

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

Russell: I've got larger hands, and find they cramp up a little more frequently than I'd prefer when using the Joy-Cons on the tablet. The lower joystick on the right side isn't great for me. I much prefer grabbing a Pro Controller or even putting the Joy-Cons in the included Grip so my hands don't cramp up as easily.

I love the flexibility, though. Everything you can do with these controllers is crazy. Being able to split a Joy-Con so my kids can play together is amazing. The motion controls are really slick. We don't even have games to take proper advantage of all the sensors yet, so this experience is going to keep getting better and that's incredible.

Lory: I recently wrote about how I feel about the Joy-Con controllers. I absolutely love them. Specifically, I love that I can play games with the controls separated. I, personally, haven't had any issues with hand cramps or uncomfortableness, and I'll play BotW for hours at a time. The only awkwardness I've noticed is that, because the - button on the left Joy-Con is right above the thumb stick, I have to reach over the stick to press the button. It's a minor issue, but an issue just the same. Other than the awkwardly placed - button, the separated Joy-Cons are the best gaming experience I've ever had. I rarely place the controllers into the Grip, and when I do, it's only for purposes of comparing my experience.

Luke: Overall the Joy-Cons have been a pleasant experience when I play for short amounts of time. I love the versatility of using one Joy-Con for multiplayer games like Super Bomberman R, even though they are very small and simple, it's awesome to be able to play with a friend locally right out of the box. That being said, the layout of the Joy-Con controllers do make for some awkward reaching, specifically for the "-" button on the left one, and is a source of discomfort.

Do you use the Grip or the Pro Controller, or both, or neither.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (Image credit: iMore)

Russell: I lean more towards the Pro Controller at home, but would rather take the slimmer Grip with me when I'm out and about. It's a reasonably similar experience between the two for me, and I like having the options available.

Lory: As I mentioned above, I use the Joy-Con controllers almost exclusively, so I don't have much to say about the Grip, other than I was surprised at how comfortable it feels. We've all seen the pictures of how it looks. I mean, really? It looks like it would be super uncomfortable to hold. It's not. It's very familiar feeling, not entirely unlike a traditional gaming controller. Again, I've only used the Grip for small periods of time, so I'm not an expert in its overall satisfaction.

Luke: If I'm in TV mode or tabletop mode I'll be using my Pro Controller. It's a much more comfortable and familiar feeling experience for a serial console gamer like myself and it has great battery life (approx 40 hours). Plus, it has all the goodies the Joy-Cons have like motion control, HD rumble, and Amiibo support built-in with no connectivity issues to date.

I have used the Joy-Con Grip on a few occasions and I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was. The Joy-Con Grip is good enough that I wouldn't call the Pro Controller an absolute necessity, but it certainly is useful and well worth the extra cash for serious gamers.

How about that TV Dock? Is it easy to use?

Nintendo Switch Dock

Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

Russell: It doesn't really get easier. The TV Dock is the absolute definition of "it just works" when it comes to quick on and off use. The switch between tablet mode and TV mode is just about as instant as you can get, and I've yet to have a single problem with it.

Lory: Just like Russell said, it just works. Even though the Dock is your conduit to full-screen gaming, it really just feels like a charging dock. All you have to do is rest it in the slot and you're good to go. The connection port is so perfectly designed that sometimes I can't even tell whether I've set it in right (that's probably a bad thing). I'm not sure how anyone can scratch the screen by taking it in and out of the Dock. There is about an eighth-of-an-inch of room on either side of the slot. You'd really have to be mashing it around to press the screen against the Dock forcefully enough to cause it to scratch.

Luke: I dislike the TV Dock a lot. The fact that it stands up, makes it extremely hard to fit into my entertainment cabinet, so much so that I have to unplug the Dock and take it out of my TV stand to be able remove my Nintendo Switch. Plus, I disagree with Lory about scratching your screen. While there is clearance on either side, even being careful, I find it easy to drag my Switch across the cheap plastic when placing or removing the console from the dock. Although I haven't gotten any scratches yet, I ordered a glass screen protector because you can never be too safe. At the end of the day, I would have preferred that Nintendo just shipped the Switch with a USB-C dongle that had all three ports you need on it, inside of a cheap plastic box that essentially houses a dongle awkwardly.

What games have you played and which one is the best?

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo eShop (Image credit: iMore)

Russell: While I know Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is actually the best game, there's a special place in my heart for SnipperClips. I absolutely love this simple little puzzle game. The multiplayer aspect is flawless, the puzzles are unique and require a lot of thought and communication, and it's just plain fun no matter who you are playing with.

Fast RMX is also a pretty great racing game, and handled multiplayer very well. It's got a great classic Nintendo vibe to it, and the races are plenty challenging.

Lory: The clear winner, so far, in the very limited launch release of titles is BotW. It is, hands down, the best Zelda title ever made. I don't care what you say about Ocarina of Time or A Link to the Past (believe me, I LOVE those games), Breath of the Wild is everything a Legend of Zelda title should be, and more.

As far as other games go, I've demoed SnipperClips and, contrary to how Russell feels, I was not into it. It is a spacial puzzle game. Players use adorable little half-Twinky shaped characters to fill in designated shapes by snipping away at parts of their construction paper bodies. It's cute, but not my type of game. To put it harshly, it's a $20 game that feels more like a $2.99 game you can play on your iPhone.

Luke: Unless you've been living under a rock this past week, you've probably already heard and read the overwhelmingly positive reviews of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It's truly the best game out of the rather week launch titles, in fact, it's quickly becoming one of my favorite games of all time.

I'm glad I have Bomberman Super R lying around because it's a great multiplayer game that's easy to pick up-and-play with a group of friends. Plus, it lets you use the Joy-Cons as separate controllers in the best way possible because Bomberman only uses the thumbstick and one button and the games go by quickly. You can have a lot of fun with your group of friends in 20 minutes with Super Bomberman R.

What other games are awesome and worth buying right away?

Nintendo Switch

Russell: It's hard to go wrong with 1-2-Switch as a party game. This is basically a collection of minigames, but the execution is a lot of fun and the desire to compete with friends is instant. This is the game you bust out when friends have come over and need to do something silly, and I love it.

Lory: I haven't had the opportunity to play any other Switch games yet, but I've been watching some gameplay videos of I am Setsuna. That one looks like a really fun JRPG that I might spend some time with in the future.

Luke: Although I don't personally have it, 1-2-Switch seems like the best way to introduce people to the Nintendo Switch and it looks like it recaptures some of the magic that Wii Sports brought to the table. Plus, there's no better way right now to experience the awesomeness of HD Rumble feature in the Joy-Con Controllers.

If someone were to ask you why they should buy a Switch, what would be the one thing you think is its most important feature?

Russell: The most important thing here is fun. This console is a lot of fun, the games you can play on it are a lot of fun. It takes the things that were great about the Wii and the Wii U and makes it highly portable. It's also fun, not sure if I mentioned that.

Lory: To me, the biggest selling point of the Switch is the fact that you can transfer from TV gaming to tablet gaming seamlessly. I might be playing a game on the big screen when my significant other comes home, to which I used to stop playing – at least for a while so I'm not totally bogarting the TV all night. Now, when he wants to watch a horror film, I just grab my Switch from the Dock. No disconnecting any cables. No game saving. I can just continue right where I left off the very second it comes off the Dock.

Luke: Nintendo is the most important feature of the Nintendo Switch. Consoles don't sell themselves, games sell consoles. As long as Nintendo keeps putting out new franchise games like The Legend of Zelda and Mario, the Switch is worth having around.

What is your overall opinion of the Switch?

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

Russell: I am thoroughly enjoying the console, and the rest of my family is as well. So much so, in fact, that it's likely we're going to grab a second console before Splatoon 2 comes out this summer.

Lory: As far as hard specs of console gaming goes, Switch is clearly a huge step behind the likes of PlayStation and Xbox, if for nothing more than the fact that there are only a handful of titles available right now. That being said, the unique hybrid aspect of the Switch makes it my new favorite way to play video games. Before, I had to choose to either play big games on my TV or smaller titles on my 3DS. Now, I can play the same exact game without missing a beat on my TV or handheld device. It's like I've got my cake and I'm eating it too. Om nom nom.

Luke: I have enjoyed my overall experience with the Switch, but a big part of that has been the sheer brilliance of the new Zelda game. The Joy-Con Controllers and the portability have been pretty fun to experience, but they still have shortcomings. The longevity of the hardware is in question and the direction they want to take the Switch is a bit of a blur. I still can't figure out if this is a replacement for the Wii U, the 3DS, or both; however, I'm very excited to see what Nintendo does with this system and am more than happy to go along for the ride.

Should I go out and buy one ASAP or should I wait until later this year?

Russell: If you're able to find one right now, and really like Zelda games, you should pick one up as soon as you can. If you love the idea, but aren't super excited by Zelda games, you'll be happier to wait for the Summer.

Lory: I'm glad I got my Switch on day-one, but I don't think it's a necessary purchase right out of the gate. There are too few titles available to make it worth investing in right now. I suggest waiting until Christmas time. By then, a lot more games will be available, the online game section will probably be full-swing, and some of the minor issues with connectivity will likely be fixed. If you're a huge Zelda fan, and have the Wii U, just get it for that console for now.

Luke: Waiting till there's more titles and a clearer direction of where Nintendo plans on taking this crazy hybrid machine is the smartest choice. I will echo Russell's sentiments though, if you're a huge Zelda fan, get the Switch now and play Breath of the Wild. You will not regret it.

Closing thoughts

What do you think of the Switch? Did you preorder one, or stand in line in the freezing cold at midnight? Are you hoping to get one when they come back in stock? Or are you planning on waiting until there are more games available?

Russell is a Contributing Editor at iMore. He's a passionate futurist whose trusty iPad mini is never far from reach. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Reach out on Twitter!

  • This was one of the most positive reviews I have seen. But I do think some critical things were missed; first, the lack of power means 3rd party software support will be minimal. Sorry, EA is not going to spend money to dumb down Battlefield or Madden NFL to put it on the Switch. Rumors are that the FIFA game is actually a port of FIFA 2016 with updated rosters. Keep in mind, the game cartridge is capped at less than 20GB and games like NBA 2K are 45-50GB on a PS4 or XB1. This lack of 3rd party support doomed the Wii U. iMore also forgot to mention the poor if not embarrassing onboard storage of 32GB. This is pathetic Nintendo. If you plan on storing your games digitally, you need to buy an additional SD card. Considering the size of games, a 64GB card won't get you more than 3-4 games (if they are on the low size of 20GB). Pretty pathetic. XB1 and PS4 ship with a minimum of 500GB. I get they use traditional HDD's and flash storage is more expensive, but even an iPad at least has the option for 128GB or 256GB of storage. In addition, the console also lacks the ability to communicate/talk online without the use of a smartphone; this is a feature most consoles have had since 2003! Most reviews have said and in my opinion I agree, 1-2 Switch was and should have been a bundled in game but to keep costs low they are selling it. Don't waste your money. I love the Nintendo IP but I couldn't recommend getting this console until December at the soonest. Honestly, the 3DS is a better buy as the catalog is big and soon enough Nintendo will have Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart which could make this a more reasonable buy. Another key fact, the online play will require a subscription. I can accept that, but Nintendo's online offerings have been awful at best. Currently, no Netflix, no HBO Now/Go, no Apps is general. I think the console has some potential, but it is a beta product. I would read some reviews from IGN, Gamespot, and others. This is a total wait and see product.
  • Nintendo consoles, at least from the Wii onwards, have been beta products, this is unfortunately just the nature of Nintendo consoles these days. People buy the consoles solely for Nintendo's games, if Nintendo didn't make fantastic games then their consoles would be a complete flop; the hardware quality is poor, and they're very underpowered. My sister hadn't used her 3DS in ages, until the new Pokémon games came out and then she started using it again, just to play that. I wish Nintendo would just stick to what they're good at, which is video games, and just release their games on PS4/Xbone, but for as long as people continue to buy their consoles they'll keep making them, and most likely keep making them cheap and underpowered too. And I certainly don't accept the online subscription model, I frowned upon it when the PS4 did it, and Nintendo's just doing it now to make up for lost Wii U sales and because they can make it seem "normal" since the PS4 and Xbox are doing it, but it's not "normal". The PC continues to allow online gaming for free, and if that ever changed online PC gaming would die rapidly.
  • You don't have to use a smartphone to communicate/talk online, it has wi-fi. The Wii was underpowered compared to the offerings at the time and it sold over 100 million systems. Being able to expand the Switch with a SD card is perfectly fine. I doubt a lot of gamers are going to go for digital downloads and will just get the games physically, and even if they do a 200gb card can be had cheaply on Amazon. The last Nintendo system I owned was a Nintendo 64. However, they did a demo at our work of the Switch and after playing it I really liked it. I picked one up on launch day and have been 100% pleased! It doesn't have to compete graphically with Xbox One and Playstation 4 as it's a hybrid device and the expectation really wasn't ever there that it was going to compete with the more advance systems. Personally, I think BOTW is great and as long as other titles perform on that level I think the Switch will be just fine. Not sure why people would really want Netflix, HBO Go, etc on this. It's a hybrid game console. I have a phone laptop and tablet for those things, it should focus on gaming, not being a catch all device. However, Nintendo did say those things were in the works.
  • Not everyone can connect their smartphone to their TV wirelessly to watch Netflix etc. Many people use their consoles to do this, so the Switch should do it too
  • EA will do whatever they think makes them money dude, if the Switch gets a good market share, EA will target the **** out of it.
  • As a new PC gamer, recently built my own PC, a PS4 and mobile gamer, I find the Switch to be an exciting product. However, this thing is a wait for me. Let's see what Nintendo, and more importantly, what developers do with this devices. Currently there's not much to justify buying the devices. We have Zelda, yes, but that's about it. I'm not getting a Zelda machine for almost $400. I will watching the progress of this devices pretty intently to see if the battery gets larger, the storage increases. It would be great to play those games on the go. For now, I'll stick with emulation and full controller support for other games on my Surface, iPad, PS4, and PC.
  • I skipped the WiiU, but have owned every console Nintendo has made since the original NES/Famicom. Was planning to wait it out a few months, but the lure of Zelda: BoTW was too strong, so I caved and managed to get a Switch. As far as hardware is concerned, in terms of quality, it's deteriorated since the Gamecube. The Switch is so far off the ergonomic standards Nintendo set in the past you wonder if it's even the same company. I haven't experienced any Joy-Con connectivity issues - the system is placed on my desk connected to my external monitor's second HDMI port, surrounded by other Bluetooth emitting hardware, cables and a router a few feet away - but the overall balance of the system when in tablet mode just feels off for me. The grip to attach is also weird feeling, and I wouldn't call the button layout ergonomic either. Don't have the Pro controller yet. My single biggest beef with the system is the complete lack of connectivity to Bluetooth headphones. For music, I continue to maintain that a wired connection offers superior fidelity and will keep wishing epilepsy on whichever moron at Apple came up with the idea to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone, but for gaming, wireless wins for convenience, and releasing a serious gaming device (and no, I don't consider iOS games serious in that regard) with no Bluetooth headphone connectivity in 2017 is simply nuts. Second issue would be battery life with Zelda. Seeing how the world simply goes black whenever I play that wonderful game and am easily able to spend 5 - 6 hours in a session (losing sleep as a result), the ~3 hours I'm getting is rather disappointing. Like I said, the Lure of BoTW was too great, and turns out the game is everything those hyperbolic reviewers said it was, so I'm willing to live with the system's flaws in order to experience what's possibly the best Zelda I've played since Ocarina on the N64. Currently about 40 hours in and am nowhere near close to being done with it. After I'm finished with the game (and all the promised future DLC offerings), I have no idea what will happen tomy Switch. Might sell it, might not. Would depend on the game lineup, I guess. TL;DR = Not impressed with the Switch, but the Zelda:BoTW experience more than makes up for the system's shortcomings.
  • I can tend to agree with most of the reviewers' opinions about the system. I bought mine, and 3 more to sell and pay for mine, along with Zelda and a pro controller day one. I can say each one of my purchases is 100% worth it to me to play Zelda as it is probably my favorite game of all time, even surpassing my previous favorites of The Last of Us and Zelda Ocarina of Time. The hardware is kind of meh, the kickstand is awful, the Joy Cons are decent when hooked to the system but are not a lot of fun to play with on the grip. The screen on the console is relatively crisp and the dock for the TV works very well despite it having to stand up. The Pro Controller is definitely worth the purchase if you can find one. 40 hours of battery, more ergonomic feel to it and it includes the gyro controls and Amiibo support. I can't see myself spending the $420 I would have spent had I not gotten 3 extra systems to pay for it. A friend of mine bought his normally and disagrees. Zelda is an amazing game and is 100% worth the purchase if you were already planning on buying the Switch and the fact you can take it anywhere and play it, albeit for 3 hours, it does charge with a USB-C cable which is becoming much more prominent and people likely have or will have smartphones with USB-C car chargers. I think Nintendo could have done better with a more "pro" console but that isn't what they're about. They like family fun and make enough money on Amiibo's, Pokemon, Zelda, Mario and their Virtual Console games to continue to make consoles even if they lose money. I don't buy a Nintendo to play Madden or Call of Duty (truthfully I don't buy Call of Duty or really any games in it's genre) and use my PS4 or Xbox for those types of games. I understand I am likely in the minority of people who own all 3 of those but the Switch is meant for everyone. TL;DR = Love the system and Zelda, don't buy it if you're a serious gamer looking for games like COD or Madden.
  • Does this thing run iOS, macOS, watchOS, or anything else from Apple? Why in the **** is iMore so obsessed with it? Sent from the iMore App
  • Thank god, its not just me!!!!
    First I had to put up the Pokemon bulls***, now this . I said something to him on twitter , and he told me " if you don't like it , you don't have to read it "
    so happy I'm not alone
  • Probably because it gets people who wouldn't usually have any interest in the site such as myself to give them tasty clicks. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • It's i-"More", they do "more" than just Apple products, but Apple is the main focus
  • It's a Mobile Nations thing. Windows Central has the XBox, Android Central matters on about the PS4 and iMore has the Pippin. Sorry Switch.
  • This concept could be used by Apple for its smart connector on its ipad! It would be a great way to play a game on ipad and the smart connector would find another use besides keyboards. Though it may come in the way of apple tv sales
  • I have already spend what feels like a gold mint on this thing so I hope the games start rolling and are awesome. I preordered a Switch, BotW, Pro controller, and Mario Kart which is still a month and a half from launch. When I picked it up, some fool didn't want his special edition of BotW so I swapped my standard edition, added a season pass for BotW, and bought a cheap carrying case with screen protector (non Nintendo brand) only until I can get my hands on one of the special edition Zelda starter kits. I do plan to buy Shovel Knight from the download store. The clerk at GameStop couldn't stop raving about it.
  • So, several questions were asked here: 1) What kind of gamer are we, 2) do we have a Switch, 3) if yes, did we pre-order, or wait (or luck out and find one), 4) if no, are we gonna get one first chance or wait a bit (how long / til when) - and then several more questions geared towards those who have the system: 5) What goodies did we get with the system, 6) what do we think of the "Switch proper", 7) feel of Joycons, 8) grip, pro, etc, 9) dock, 10) do we mostly played docked or undocked, 11) which games have we played, 12) best game we've played, 13) other great / recommended games we've played, 14) most important feature, 15) overall opinion, and 16) do we recommend you buy ASAP or wait? I "intendo" ;-) answer every one of these questions - plus address the matter of the system's power and respond to some of what I saw while skimming the comments section. Some of these questions I can answer in only a few words, while others will take many more words. So, in the interest of this not just becoming one huge monolithic wall of text, let me stop here for this initial comment of mine, and over the course of subsequent replies to my own comment, I'll progressively answer the questions. Now, good manners would dictate that since I've told you in advance I was going to do this, that you'd let me finish before responding. So we'll find out who here flushes in public restrooms, and who pees all over the toilet paper rolls instead, won't we? :-)
  • 1) I think of all the questions, this is the one I'm going to be the most long-winded on by far. So please bear with me. What kind of gamer am I? An ever so slightly Retro-leaning Omni-school gamer who has roughly 40 distinct gaming platforms spanning from a cheap knock-off pong clone, which predates the Atari 2600, all the way up to a Kaby Lake i5 / GTX 1070 equipped DIY gaming PC, and yes, the Nintendo Switch (question 2 answered). Between these systems, just counting hard copy games, I'm sitting at almost exactly 950 games, with the three systems I have the largest libraries for being the NES (130), Sega Genesis (115 or so), and Atari 2600 (about 80). When you add digital download games, then I'm not even sure how many I have - AT LEAST 250, and possibly as many as 500. The system I have the most digital downloads for is PC (101 on Steam, a handful of UPlay games, and a similar amount of AAA UWP Windows 10 store games). I can't hard commit to a top-five systems of all time list, but I think I can at least commit to a triad of two-way ties (made up entirely of Retro systems): tie for first: Sega Genesis and Turbografx16. Tie for third: NES and SNES. And tie for 5th: Atari2600 and Sega Mastersystem. My favorite system of the current generation is hard to say (more on that later), but even though I genuinely do love the thing, I can pretty confidently say that my least favorite system of the era - is the PS4. So, I was born in 1980 (which being two years before the launch of the Colecovision tells me that Lory is six years older than me), and we spent the first several years of my life very poor. Whether Des Moines had a super tame ghetto or no ghetto at all, I'll let you guys debate, but in either case, that's where I lived. So I didn't have a system in my house til the summer of 88, an Atari2600, several years past it's relevance, but we were still so happy to have it that my grades immediately went into the toilet over it, and never recovered til college. We got an NES for Christmas 89, a Texas Instruments TI994a sometime in 91 or so just because grandpa found it at a Goodwill, an SNES for Christmas 92, a Genesis just because in Sept 93, a Sega CD sometime in 93 or 94, a 32X Christmas 94, I got a Saturn with my first ever paycheck summer of 96. I got a PS1 the very next check. I pre-ordered the N64. And I got the Dreamcast less than a week after launch and it was the first major purchase I made as a married man (still married to the same lovely lady these almost 18yrs later). I've kept all these systems - minus the PS1, which I gave away to my sister-in-law when I got the PS2 and it played PS1 games as well. Then in my early 20's, when I had "more dollars than sense", and Retro collecting was cheap, I went on a rampage to get the systems I wanted to have as a kid but never could, or discovered as an adult and found interesting. I know I'll forget some, but among these systems were the likes of the Atari 5200 and 7800, the Intellivision, yes Lory, the Colecovision, an Odyssey2, that afore-mentioned Pong clone (specifically, an APF TV Fun), a Commodore 128, a CD-i, a 3DO, a Jaguar, both a Neo Geo AES and Neo Geo CD, and a Turbografx16 (specifically, a Turbo Duo). In more recent years, I've also added a Game Gear, a Commodore Amiga, and most recently, a Game Boy Advance to the list. In fact, I was a GBA owner for less than 36hrs when I became a Switch owner week before last. And after the Dreamcast, between systems I've bought for myself, for the kiddo, received as Christmas, birthday, anniversary, or just because gifts, be them new or 2nd hand, I have acquired -EVERY- major system* released since that time (and also a Gameboy Color for Christmas 2000). *=I don't have a PS4 Pro, but do have a PS4, and I don't have a "'New' 3DS", but do have a standard 3DS (XL). So I've been able to keep up, and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. Maybe I'll get a Pro, maybe I'll get an N3DS, and maybe I'll get a Scorpio. But even if I don't, I do still have a PS4, XB1, and 3DS, so we can probably count on less than two hands how many games I'm locked out of as a result. Even though I had a couple, I, like Luke, never really had the handheld gaming bug bite me....until a couple years ago, when I finally saw the light, and now I'm a believer. Also, since we were too poor to have a PC growing up, I mostly missed out on the PC gaming thing too. I had a DIY AMD K6-2 / Voodoo3 2000 PCI powered gaming PC that I built in or around the year 2000 and did a little bit of PC gaming for a few years, but that would be my first foray into PC......and my last....until 2016, that is. So that means historically, I've been almost exclusively a console gamer. That's my pedigree, that's where I cut my teeth, learned the ropes, and is still to this day the paradigm that's i'm the most comfortable/familiar, though between the raw power of the PC and the amazing functionality/flexibility of the Switch, my XB1 and PS4 both are getting pretty seriously neglected, and for the first time EVER, I've started to wonder if I really need them anymore, since they're far weaker than my PC, and far more tethered / 1-dimensional than my Switch. I said I was slightly Pro-Retro, but am becoming more and more of a fan of current gen all the time, and both my PC and my Switch are making huge inroads towards that (though thanks to the sheer magic of Metroid fusion and the "nothing's more portable" nature of the GBA SP, I think my time spent playing GBA this past week and a half actually slightly edged out the amount of time I've spent with the Switch. Fact is, in more ways than not, I think there's never been a better time to be a gamer than right now. Never has the play field been more diverse, AAA, huge graphically intensive epics peacefully co-exist with mindless mobile games and retro-ish indie games. Also, the options just in platforms are so diverse beyond what we had before, with each platform not just being iterations of the other, but all branching and going vastly different directions so that they're becoming less and less direct competitors with the others. The abailability of gaming in an instant with digital downloads and streaming. The rise of set-top box gaming like Apple TV or nVidia Shield, and now the ultra-hybrid, groundbreaking genre-smashing novelty of the Nintendo Switch! It's a phenomenal time to be a gamer! The biggest reason Instill call myself Retro first is actually not familiarity, though that's a close second, not nostalgia, which is a close 3rd, but rather, that the give and take of competitive hardware, particularly in the 4th gen, and the totally different soul possessed by each system and it's output (think SNES vs Genesis be TG16), and the fact that (as a video game music podcaster) we had in the 4th gen the magic recipe of sound hardware advanced enough to do amazing things when handled right, but basic enough that nothing came easy or could be taken for granted, plus the totally different character the ADPCM vs FM/PSG vs Wavetable synthesis all was a glorious thing! Same was true with the graphics. Also, I still prefer (and miss) how each new generation back then saw an immediately apparent and tangible quantum leap paradigm shift in graphics and sound over the previous generation, whereas now, you have to get a few generations into the software before you really start seeing stuff hay's more than only a modest improvement (which is why I feel that we might be being too hasty to call the Switch underpowered - more on that later). In any case, I truly love both words, and I feel that pendulum in my heart inching ever closer to being "modern-first", and it may indeed happen. But for now, I'm still calling myself a "Retro-first, console-first Omni-school gamer". Finally, in terms of my play habits, I can go weeks without playing at all, and then I binge. I spend less time playing the old stuff because it's in the basement and has to be hooked up to play it. And I've just been too lazy to install roms and emulators on my PC. Plus, they're getting older, so I'm always afraid they're going to break, or the old CRT I'm using to play them on is gonna crap, and so on and so on. So I spend most of my time with the newer stuff on the new 4k tv upstairs. When I get downstairs, more often than not, when it's not to do laundry, it's to work on my video game music podcast - called "Nerd Noise Radio" for anyone who's interested. :-) And anyway, that's what kind of gamer I am. I'm sorry that was so wordy. I don't anticipate my answer to any other question to be anywhere near this long! :-) Cheers!
  • Since I already answered question 2 in the affirmative while answering question 1: 3) I tried - and failed - to pre-order the Switch. Now, under ordinary circumstances, having failed to secure one in advance, I would've just waited until they were available through customary retail channels. But there were extenuating circumstances. The Switch released Friday, March 3rd. My wife had big surgery Monday, March 6th, and no lie, it was actually her who was so insistent that I get it for launch so that I had it to pass the long hours in the waiting room and the recovery room and for the next few days while she was in the hospital - everything went fine, she's doing beautifully! But I digress.... So, I checked everyday for the month - usually more than once a day - leading up to the launch on the Best Buy site for the unclickable grey "coming soon" button to turn into a happily clickable yellow "pre-order" button. My 37th birthday was precisely one month to the day before the launch of the Switch (and precisely one day to the day before the release of Nerd Noise Radio - Channel 1 Episode 3: The Actraiser soundtrack, in case this comment was deficient in shameless plugs for my podcast). ;-) For my birthday, I received a $300 gift card to Best Buy with the explicit instructions that I could only spend it on a Switch. The bad news was I was now exclusively tethered to Best Buy, meaning availabilities at Game Stop and the like were totally meaningless to me. The good news was that all I had to pay for my Switch was tax.....a very good thing since I put every penny of my portion of the tax return into the new gaming PC! :-) So. a day or two before launch day, I resigned myself to the fact that I would be waiting a long time outside on the evening before launch day at one of the five Best Buy locations in the greater Des Moines metro area. So it turns out it was the Jordan Creek location in West Des Moines. I arrived at about 4:20pm, and was 3rd in line. 2nd in line arrived no more than 5 minutes before me. 1st place, the only name I remember (Steve) got there at 8am! So for that I called him "Sunrise Steve". Anyway, by the time that all was said and done, there were a good 40 people, and I don't think anyone got turned away. But everyone showed up at the end, so for most of that time, it was just about eight of us sitting out in blustery, sub-20-degree weather for hours, all wearing multiple layers and multiple blankets, and taking turns going into the store to warm up. Perfect strangers, yet for that one evening it was like we were best friends, a fraternity. It was both a horrible experience because of the weather, and yet, a wonderful experience because of the people. I'll cherish the memory forever - and, of course, the happy ending is that I walked out of there with a Neon Nintendo Switch - the only time I've ever waited in line for a game system! So even if the system tanks, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for it because of this.
  • Since question 4 is N/A for me.... 5) Accessories: I got the most generic carrying case that was not from some no-name. I wish I had gotten a nicer Zelda one. I got a screen protector, which a I majorly screwed up in applying, lots of bubbles, so frustrating. The good news is the carrying case also came with one, so I can have a second chance at it. And then of course, I also got a 128gb sd card. So, pretty light on accessories. Also, not really an accessory, but since I was so early in line, I did get one of those special BotW posters they were giving out to a few people.
  • 6) What do I think of the "Switch proper", (or the "tablet itself")? Well, I'm deliberately holding off til the end to talk about my impressions on how much or how little processing power this thing has, and what I think we can expect from it, and I'm saving my bigger picture views of the Switch as a total package until I get to that question, so just looking at the tablet portion itself, I really only have so much to say: I think it's a handsome, comfortable appliance with a perfectly decent screen (720p is enough for the tablet - more on that later) and perfectly decent sound for a tablet. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how loud it is. Game card access as well as volume and power are all readily accessible, although I do wish they had a way to do full shut-down in software. Ah, system software, now at last I do have an area I can be critical about - gah, how dull! Overly simple, quiet as a tomb (no music - even in the eShop) and almost entirely lacking in that indescribably but blatantly tangible "Nintendo Charm" that made navigating the WiiU, 3DS, DSi, and especially, the Wii such a joy. Instead, the interface looks and feels more like some cut-rate version of an Android experience. Hopefully this will improve in future updates, but Nintendo has never completely "reinvented the wheel" in software updates for any of its previous systems, so i'm kinda torn on whether I want them to here. Which is worse, bad interface (well, not bad per se, just dull, and un-Nintendo), or bad precedent? The only other complaint I have is the that the kickstand feels very cheap, and is not very cooperative if you don't like the one angle it gives you. But beyond the dull menus and the chintzy stand, I have nothing but positive feelings about the tablet portion of the system. Comfy, handsome, really nice screen, and quite decent sound.
  • 7) What do so think of the JoyCons? My list of gripes is much shorter than my list of praises, so let me start with the gripes: I estimate that I have very ordinary sized hands, the kind where I can comfortably play bass guitar, but can't grip a basketball in one hand. The Joycons are perfectly comfortable for me, but I can see anyone else with bigger hands having a rough go of it. Shaq's gonna have a bad time. So that leaves a large group of large people who will have large problems with small controllers. Also, they are not as easy to detach and reattach as they should be - without accidentally pushing a bunch of buttons. The worst of all is getting the wrist strip zr/zl extender strips back off the controllers once you get them on. They're easy enough to put on, but good luck taking them off! Also, make sure you match plus to plus and minus to minus or else you'll have a REALLY hard time....sadly, yes, this is the voice of experience talking. :-) They're also very expensive if you want extras or replacements, and one could wish that you had more color options than just the gray or the neon. Beyond that, I love the blasted things! Never before has a gaming interface been so versatile! You can use the L and R Joycons in tandem as a single "complex" controller, or use them separately as a pair of "simple" controllers that though more compact, essentially function as Super Nintendo controllers. Also, the HD Rumble feature is fantastic and I expect only more amazing things to make use of it as time goes on. Plus, perhaps the most mystifying thing to me is how in addition to being a million other things, the Joycons are also essentially Wiimotes, only able to track movement and position and angle much more accurately - and without any kind of IR bar! Incredible devices, these Joycons! Plus, they just look so neat - especially the Neon ones!
  • 8) Do I use the grip, the pro, both, or neither? Well, I do not have a Pro, so I don't use that, though i would like one! They may not be the most stunning to look at, actually, even the WiiU Pro controllers in my opinion were better looking! But they're soooo feature rich! They make the "pro" in the WiiU pro controllers feel like a joke.....but once again, they're outrageously priced! Not XBox Elite expensive by any means, but still - hard to rationalize! As it concerns the grip: I'll just say that outside of the Pro, I have used every configuration of Joycon currently available. A lot of the time that I play it undocked, I just leave the cons right on the tab and go for that iconic looking "handheld" mode. But when it's undocked and the Joycons are not attached, I've only seldomly used the grip. I don't know why, either, it just didn't "feel like the right thing to do", and the Joycons do feel great to game on in "free hand" mode. However, when I'm playing docked, I usually use the grip. I'm not even sure why. I guess it's just because it makes it feel more like a console that way, completes the package, I guess.
  • 9) The dock. I love the thing! It's handsome, but not garish, and the system doesn't look silly in it. As Russell said, it is the very epitome of "it just works"! As one who uses multiple apple products (in addition to Windows and Android products, and even an Ubuntu one), I've found that the "it just works" reputation, while indeed better than the competition in this regard is still totally overblown, with frustrating quirks aplenty! But not so with the Switch dock! You pop it in, you pull it out, BOOM! Magic! In my experience, when it's docked and you undock it, the transition is instantaneous. There is a second or two delay when re-docking it, but he'll, you'll never make it back to the couch and retrain your Joycons in that small amount of time. So it too is essentially instant. But there's no other action required than to set it in the slot or pull it out. Presto! I think the thing I like best about the dock though, is that although it is technically a passive dock, containing no processing power of its own, you still get a performance boost while docked! How? Well, it's ingenious, I think: The Switch can tell whether it's docked or not, and when undocked, it clocks the GPU down to 40%. This reduces performance - which is why only putting in a 720p display isn't an issue because 1080 isn't feasible at the 40% clock anyway - but it also reduces heat, extends batter life and longevity, reduces cost (since they didn't have to invest in 1080p screens), and preserves a performance divide between "console" and "handheld" modes making the console experience feel more substantial (and even undocked, it's still more powerful than WiiU, PS3, and XB360, which is a tremendous feat for a handheld, if you ask me) When docked, the GPU kicks back up to 100%, greatly increasing the potential performance of the system, and creating a more "console" experience. The CPU is unaffected by the dock since in order to preserve that instant and seamless transition, you need to have the logic processes uninterrupted and undisturbed. This is what makes the docking and undocking transition so seamless. The dock also does have a cooling fan to keep the system from overheating while fully clocked, and of course, it's on constant charge so battery concerns aren't a problem either. Like I said, it's ingenious! Also, the Switch and the dock are not bound to each other, so any Switch will work in your dock, while any dock will work with your Switch! This makes taking the game to a friend's house a breeze! Or, what I want to do, buy a few more socks for the other HDTVs in my house, and leave the docks hooked up. Then I can take the Switch with me around the house, and I can dock it just anywhere without having to change any settings on the system as I go! Also, I visit my parents on the other side of town roughly every other weekend, so maybe set up a dock there as well! The only problems with the dock are - as with every single other Switch accessory, it's so flippin' expensive! $90 for a passive dock! $90 for a fan and a slot! Yaow!!! And then there are also reports of people scratching their screens on the dock. That's worrisome. But with a screen protector on, I feel safe. So yeah! The dock's AMAZEBALLS, and i plan to buy more....only ow! Pricey!
  • 10) Do I spend more time docked or undocked? In terms of how much time have I spent in both modes? Well, because of the time spent in the hospital with the Mrs, I've actually probably spent a little bit more time with it undocked than I have with it docked. But for several reason, I prefer docked: 1) I get the full power of the Switch that way, the best graphics on the biggest screen, 2) No battery concerns, 3) I still just spend more time in general with handhelds than portables, so it's a more comfortable, familiar experience for me. But in terms of the long term, I still expect myself spending no less than 40% of my time playing Switch playing undocked, since a I have more opportunities to play that way. Also, not hard and fast, but the general trend is that I tend to go undocked for short playing sessions, and docked for long ones. And I do think I'll get more opportunities for the quick play. Like when's I'm bedding down. I keep it by the headboard most nights, even though I usually pass out too quickly to get good use out of it, nor wake up in the middle of the night very often. Still, it's right there if I need it! Take that, PS4! :-)
  • ... and I thought my post was overly long.
  • Oh, so you're the guy who peed all over the toilet paper roll (read the last paragraph of my first comment if you're missing the reference). I figured there'd have to be at least one of you. Thank you for doing your part to prevent me from developing too much faith in the Netizens...... ......troll! :-|
  • 11 (which games) 12 (best game), and 13 (what other great games).....,, 11) Well, it turns out that Russell and I did the EXACT same thing starting out. We both bought BotW and 1-2 Switch in hard copy, and then proceeded to download Snipperclips and Fast the man has VERY good tastes, what can I say? :-) I've gone on since this writing to add two more games, the Shovel Knight bundle, and King of Fighters 98 (Neo Geo virtual console) for a total of six games - two hard copy, and four digital. Over the course of my time with the XB1 and PS4, and then Steam, and OUYA, at some point along that journey, I eventually came to actually prefer digital downloads over hard copy. So my digital Switch library will grow much larger and much faster than will my hard copy Switch library. 12) On this one, I'm with a majority so overwhelming that there are practically no dissenting voices at all. Zelda. Without doubt, Zelda is the best game currently in the Switch in my opinion. It is such an amazing and magical game! It has all the scale and scope of a Skyrim or GTA V, yet perfectly paired with all the charm and wonder of a Zelda game! It is so not-Zelda, and yet, so PERFECTLY Zelda! In fact, this is the most faithful game to the vision of the original.....since the original! I've logged several hours in this game, and have only just arrived in Hateno village, because alive been so busy climbing mountains, looking for shrines and other goodies, and have also survived my lone encounter with fully functioning guardians by way of evasion. Those things are TERRIFYING - but also EXHILARATING!! :-D I can't wait to more fully plumb and explore and experience this most amazing of all renditions of Hyrule! Truly a masterpiece! I am absolutely in love!!! 13) 1-2 Switch is the ultimate example of superficial party-environment gaming done exquisitely! I hope my choice of wordin won't offend, but it is "totally and completely retarded in all the most charming, fun, and delightful ways!" I love the mini-games, and I love the aesthetics! I also love how in the little demo videos, each actor gets their share of wins or loses. 1-2 Switch is also an amazing tech-demo for the Joycons, and some of its usages truly are astounding! Despite my belief that BotW is far and away the best game for the system available to date, it is actually my belief that Fast RMX, and not Zelda is the best tech-demo and showcase of the system hardware in terms of what the machine is capable of, what we can expect over time, and where exactly between the WiiU and the XB1 the system lands performance-wise (more on that later). Snipperclips is a truly innovative, unique, and engaging puzzle game wrapped in so much fun, and so much aw shucks wholesomeness! It's a great time for two! Shovel Knight is....well....Shovel Knight: the most excellent Neo-Retro indie I've ever played! Rock solid gameplay, big in its scope, just the right amount of humor, graphics that don't stray too far from NES-fidelity, and a soundtrack that actually makes use of the 2A03 (standard NES sound chip) and VRC6 add-on for amazing and completely authentic old-school 8-bit video game magic! I bought this, even though I already had it for PS4 and's that good!
  • I'm going to punt on question 15 - overall impressions til the end. But here are 14 (most important feature), and 16 (do I recommend you buy now, or is waiting okay). 14) I think Luke said it best: Nintendo themselves are the most important feature of the Switch. All the first party IPs that are the best in the industry, the insatiable drive to do something totally unique and off the beaten path, the fact that they successfully run parallel to the competitors, rather than going directly against them.....Nintendo, man! Outside of that, I think the most important feature of the Switch, even more important than those amazing Joycons, or the totally revolutionary, paradigmatic approach to gaming it represents as the first truly "transgenre" my the space it makes for itself in the grand scene of the gaming world at large. You have PC for the super high-end gaming, you have XB1 and PS4 for conventional consoles that are powerful enough to give you a solid taste of high end, though weak enough to still be easy to afford (and not pose a real challenge to the PC's elite status). Plus, you have the benefits of a traditional console with them (level playing field, consistent experience, pop-in and play, no need for configurations, no need to slog through a full desktop OS to get to them - and so on and so on. You have 3DS and Vita for more casual on-the-go gaming..... ......and then you have the Switch. A system residing somewhere between WiiU and XB1 in performance, that can be a portable, a tablet, a tabletop, or a console with ease! It's not quite as powerful, but it's plenty powerful enough and AMAZINGLY powerful for the form factor. It manages to occupy its own unique space by occupying all the spaces (except for ultra-high-end performance). Even though I love my XB1 and PS4, and even though I don't ever intend to get rid of them, between the "bookends" of the PC on one end, and the Switch on the other, I find they are being almost completely neglected, and for the first time ever, I'm really being faced with the tough question of whether or not I even really need them anymore. As I say, I'm not getting rid of them, but for the first time ever, they sorta do feel disposable to me. That's the power and the beauty of the Switch and the power and the beauty of the PC, and in my opinion, it's greatest asset outside that one Japanese name starting with N. :-) 16) Let me answer the question indirectly: I think you need to get ZELDA now! I think you absolutely should not wait another second to get ZELDA!!!! It's that phenomenal! That important! Now, if you already have a WiiU, then I think the WiiU version is 90% of the experience of the Switch version (other than being tethered to the couch to play it). It will do plenty well to get you by til there are more plentiful and compelling reasons to acquire the Switch. And if you're not interested in Zelda (gasp), then there's not much here yet that is what I'd consider "essential compulsion" to draw you to it yet. And yes, some people are experiencing bugs with it. Praise God that hasn't been my experience, but it is something else that tempers my zeal to get you on board right this minute. However, if you have any interest in Zelda at all, and do not have a WiiU, then it makes no sense to buy a WiiU to get Zelda....and if that's the case.....BUY A SWITCH RIGHT NAOUGHW!!! :-)
  • Now, still setting question 15 aside, I wanted to address the matter of power and performance on the Switch. But first, I wanted to say that although I didn't fully read the other comments, but just skimmed them, I still observed that there were a lot of people who have seemingly never even touched a Switch having an awful lot to say about it - particularly those who were being negative....... ......le sigh........ ........what is the Internet, after all, without the doctoral expertise of the completely non-initiated? (eyeroll). What follows is a copy/paste of a reply I made on a "My Nintendo News" article where one of the co-founders of Factor 5 divulged that the performance of the Switch lands "somewhere in-between a WiiU and an XB1". Please keep in mind that the following tech analysis is just the conjecture of someone who is not a true expert, and that I don't presume to be otherwise. It is quite possible that I could be shown to be in error, and that such revelation could even possibly come by someone else in this thread. Who knows? However, the following is 100% relevant to this discussion, and are assertions that I feel pretty darn confident in making. So here goes: ........ This sentence taken by itself “the Switch is somewhere in-between the WiiU and the XB1” is not news at all on the order of telling us the sun will go down tonight. Everybody knows that! The important question is where along that spectrum is it? Unfortunately, this article doesn’t really do anything to answer that question, and we’re left conjecturing since both specs detailed enough to answer the question definitively are not yet forthcoming, nor are reliable benchmarks that would likewise settle things for us. Now surely, somewhere, someone knows for sure, but I’m supremely confident that no such representative of that elite small group is to be found anywhere here in the comments – though I’m sure we have our fair share of self-styled impersonators. So then that still leaves us with nothing but conjecture. Mine? Somewhere on the higher end of that spectrum rather than on the lower end. I mean, while docked of course. Undocked, I think the Switch is basically identical power-wise to the WiiU, only with an extra pinch or two of salt added to push it just over the line set by the previous console. Docked, I think, if developers can figure a workaround for big games on small storage, then with the GPU running at 100% clock, there should be little problem producing visuals that, maybe not equals, but at least approaches what we can expect out of the XB1 – ESPECIALLY when we factor in the PS4-level ease of programming, and better support for the latest hot APIs than even the PS4 and XB1 themselves have. Now, what do I base this on? Is it just wishful thinking? Indeed, it is wishful thinking as I am a specs guy and power-junkie who’s hoping for the best. But it’s not wishful thinking of the sort that is not tethered to anything. Here’s what I’m basing it on: First, the assertion that the UNDOCKED performance is only a hair better than WiiU: both run at 720, and both run in the same frame rates for each game – more or less. But the Switch runs those experiences more smoothly, with less stutter and frame drop, and sometimes even while retaining certain graphical tweaks over their WiiU counterparts, such as better, more GPU intensive lighting and what have you, albeit still at only 720p. Still, a portable handheld system that is more powerful than a WiiU, a PS3, or a 360…..not too shabby!! That’s not me complaining at all! Next, docked: There’s a lot of broughaha over how I am Setsuna runs at 60fps on PS4, while only running in 30 on Switch. People see that, and assume that spells the falling of the sky for the system, or at least for our hopes of it being powerful enough for AAA titles. Here’s the problem: gone are the days where we had the leaps from Atari to Nintendo to Super Nintendo to N64 to GameCube, where the hardware boosts were paradigmatic and bearing immediate fruit. Nowadays, it takes a few software generations to really start reaping the true “generational leap” potential of the hardware. And the reason that I believe the I am Setsuna thing is not the bomb fall that people think it is and have blown up the internet over is that it’s not a fair comparison. We’re comparing a 4th generation PS4 title to a 1st generation Switch game. Might I remind everyone of just how few of the launch-window titles for PS4, and especially XB1 ran at 60fps, or even how many ran at less than 1080p? Most of them ran in 900p and/or at 30fps (and with terrible anti-aliasing to boot). The full 1080/60/AA thing didn’t really start becoming commonplace until later on in the system’s lives. Furthermore: what was one other curious feature of the launch-window library of PS4/XB1? That’s right, moderately enhanced up-ports of PS3 and XB360 games – better enough that they were certainly the version to have if you had both systems, but not so much better that the new rigs became instant must-haves just to get them. Well, it just so happens that we see just that same phenomenon at work in the launch-era titles for the Switch. Consider Fast RMX. It’s just a graphically upgraded version of Fast Racing Neo on the WiiU with all the DLC bundled in, and some new goodies as well. But they are both the same game. The fps are the same in both (60), the textures are basically the same but adjusted for screen resolution. However, not only is RMX running at native full 1080 vs 720 of the WiiU, which in turn, was itself not true 720, but 600-something with upscaling. The Switch (docked) is able to run FastRMX in full 1080 at a steady 60fp AND also include enhanced lighting effects, etc, which would be much more GPU intensive than the not-bad, but much less impressive / demanding ones on the older version. In any case, this is PRECISELY the kind of differences we saw between the PS3 / PS4 versions of games in the beginning, and now we’re seeing it happening on the Switch as well. So, yeah, when you compare launch era Switch games to 4th year PS4/XB1 games, the Switch doesn’t hold up very well. I admit it. But that’s cheating. When we compare launch era Switch games to launch era PS4/XB1 games, the Switch is actually fairing well, and even following in many of the same footsteps of its more conventional stablemates. Now, of course, these early showings are no absolute guarantee that we’ll see the exact same thing happen on the Switch. Perhaps the system doesn’t have as much “ceiling” under which to grow as the others. Or even if the CPU/GPU are indeed up to the task of relatively XB1 performance that the storage constraints and the sd card “musical chairs” it’d take to pull off the blockbuster games may keep developers at bay, and we may end up with a Turbografx16 situation where we had hardware that was at least arguably MORE powerful than the SNES and Genesis, yet due to the strangulating nature of small ROM, mapper-less Hu-Cards, was power we saw little-to-none of in real life. So it may well be with the Switch, theoretically capable of anything, but due to practical restrictions, infeasible to achieve. There’s also the thought that if you can only get 2.5hrs of battery out of BotW, how much would you hope to get out of GTAV, or Rise of the Tomb Raider? Of course, -IF- any of those games ever made it to the Switch, I think the whole idea would be to play them docked to reap the benefits of a 100% GPU clock and the battery concerns would be largely irrelevant. So, I’m aware of all these contingencies that might either a) disprove the higher power narrative, or more likely b) not disprove the narrative necessarily, but render it inert through mitigating circumstances. But as I said at the outset, without detailed enough specs, or solid benchmarks to definitively answer the question, all we have is conjecture, and all I have to go on in my conjecture is what we’re seeing the thing already doing in the wild, and the picture that view is painting for me is looking almost identical to the one we saw at the dawn of the XB1 and PS4 – which is a SUPER ENCOURAGING sign for those who are hoping this thing is on the more powerful side of the spectrum. Four closing points, all minimizing the importance of our level of concern over Switch hardware might – one unfavorable to the Switch, and the others very favorable: 1) Even if this thing were proven to be MORE powerful than the XB1, in the grand scheme of things, that still equates to being behind the curve in 2017. Even if XB1-level performance is within grasp for the Switch, and PS4 performance is almost within reach, PS4Pro performance is not within reach, and the upcoming Scorpio is going to leave the PS4Pro in the dust – let alone the Switch. Heck, Scorpio might even be enough to put the sweats to my KabyLake i5 / GTX 1070 (soon to be SLI) powered gaming PC. So when held in that perspective, yeah, the Switch is no match. So the question is kinda moot – beyond, I suppose, answering the important question of whether or not the Switch is enough of an improvement over the WiiU that like the Wii and WiiU before it, the Switch is roughly one full generation behind it’s contemporaries, or whether the improvement is only incremental over the WiiU, meaning that it has now actually fallen even further behind the competition and is now 1.5-2 generations behind. 2) But to obsess about power on the Switch is to miss the whole point of the Switch. The Switch is not about power, even though I am quite optimistic that it is remarkably more powerful than a lot of the press about it has implied. The Switch is about tearing down categorical walls and enabling us to play games in environments and scenarios that we had never envisioned before. I played Fast RMX out on the deck while smoking a cigar, keeping the Switch and Joycons low enough that the smoke wouldn’t reach them. Even with a Vita or a 3DS, I wouldn’t really be able to do that, because I’d have to have the system closer – “in the smoke zone” to be able to see what I was doing – and even if I could, it still wouldn’t be a console-level performance, like what I got herfing it up on the deck this time. It’s fine to discuss performance – quite good even, especially when it’s being widely underestimated – because it helps us set our expectations accordingly. But never has it been truer of a system than it is with the Switch to say that the power’s not the main thing here. 3) The big fear is that the Switch will flounder because the 3rd parties won’t bring their AAA games to the system because it’s not powerful enough. This is possible. But if the use case is compelling enough, and that’s what draws gamers, and that’s the narrative that rules the day, then even if those games have to be scaled down in detail or in scope, and/or have to create a lot of traffic into and out of our sd slot, then those games may be coming anyway. And even if Skyrim turns out to only be an upgraded PS3 game rather than a downgraded PS4 game, perhaps, than not only does that not definitively put any nails in the coffin of my hopes for this system’s power capabilities because, again, 1st gen, but so what, it’s Skyrim….on the porch, in the car, in a plane, in a house…with a mouse and what have you. Even if it is lesser than the PS4 version, I don’t see that being so damning, as afterallI, being a PC gamer, I get to look down upon and laugh at the PS4 people looking down upon and laughing at the Switch. I’d like to see you jetsetting around with Skyrim on your XB1, eh? Good luck! This facet alone might be enough to draw a fair number of AAAs. Waaaaaaaaaaaayyyy too soon to rule this out, to those of you who so prematurely ********* doom and gloom. 4) In a sense, this is already a victory for the Switch anyway. Consider: we have this tiny little ARM SOC powered tablet, and that we’re even mentioning putting its performance in the same echelon as the big hulking X86 XB1 and PS4…….is a PHENOMENAL feat given the form factor. So, the spectrum of WiiU to XB1 that this system resides somewhere within, if we see it land anywhere XBox of center, or even dead center, then we’ve got something truly incredible in our hands regardless! And if it’s over 80% towards XBox, I’m gonna be ecstatic!
  • Well, 16 chapters later, I finally arrive at the conclusion.......question 15) what are my overall impressions of the Nintendo Switch. And here's the funny thing: After all that I've said and written, taking up entirely too many characters, too many exabytes of internet, talking too much about myself, my gaming habits, Best Buy, Nerd Noise Radio.....and yes, even the Switch itself, I'm left at the final moment........with nothing really to add. :-D So, I's my summary: The Switch is glorious standing all by itself, all on its own merits. But it doesn't TRULY shine the brightest it possibly can until it's held in the context of where it fits in with the panorama of current generation gaming as a whole, in contrast to all of the other systems out there. Meaning: while it's not as powerful as the XB1 or PS4........and DEFINITELY not as powerful as any worthwhile gaming PC, and while it's not as portable as a GBA or even a Vita, and while its launch library outside of Zelda is not staggeringly impressive - the System itself -IS!- And even when it comes to Zelda, the only thing that TRULY stands out about the Switch version relative the WiiU version is not that it's 900p vs 720p docked (though that definitely does improve the look), nor that it's stutter and lag free undocked where both the WiiIU 720p and even the Switch 900p docked stutter (though I'll bet after the GPU lag firmware fix the docked Switch lag won't happen either) - but rather, that there is a docked and undocked state in the first place - that with the Switch, you can play it on the big screen with a comfy controller, be that the Joycons in their grip, be that the Pro controller, or heck, even be that the Joycons floating freely in your two hands in a meaningfully, but not radically better graphical and auditory presentation ------ OR ------ you can slip it in your coat pocket and play it in the back yard, or on the deck, or in the car, or on a plane, or on top of a mountain, or in captivity in someone's dungeon, or on the moon, or wherever. THAT is the magic of the Switch, that it is BOTH a console AND a portable......AND a tablet.......AND a tabletop! All while being more powerful than a PS3, 360, or WiiU undocked......a flipping tablet! And it's even more powerful yet while docked! Docking the Switch is not simply a matter of broadcasting the tablet screen onto a television, but it is a totally enhanced and more powerful experience on a magnitude of 40% vs 100%. This is what makes the Switch docked a truly console experience, rather than a glorified portable experience, that even though the dock is technically passive, the Switch still becomes significantly more powerful while it's seated in it. While it undoubtedly still fails somewhat to match the XB1 in horsepower, let alone the PS4, PS4 Pro, upcoming Scorpio, or PC gaming, it still should find itself in the realm of comparability to the lower end of those listed systems, as opposed to only slightly rising about the ragtag PS3, 360, and WiiU......and it's a flippin TABLET! Impressive! SUPER impressive! Granted, to fixate on the performance of the Switch is to miss the point entirely....but know that the power is respectable in general, and AMAZING in context! I could wish it were easier to unhook the Joycons, and especially, to free them from those stupid strap extenders, and I could wish we had a more robust launch library, and (sigh)...yes, I could wish it were still more powerful than it is, or less expensive...or both - and I DEFINITELY wish the system menus and eShop weren't so damned spartan, and boring, and......well....."Android". They all but 100% lack the charm and magic that is the system menus and shops of the WiiU, especially the Wii, and heck, even the 3DS and DSi! But in general, the Switch is simply a thing of magic and glory, and tremendous promise, and I'm already in love! Nothing else has ever made me question whether or not I even needed to bother keeping my PS4 and XB1 before....okay, okay...that's the bookended tag-team of the Switch -AND- the PC....I doubt either one of them standing by themselves would accomplish this. But either way, while it's too soon to say definitively, and maybe there's a bit of honey glow still going on, but I am seriously thinking that with the Switch, Nintendo will once again be my favorite system of the generation, like it has been for me in at least the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and (maaaaaybe even) 8th generations (not 4th or 5th, though -sorry SNES and N64 lovers) - DESPITE being EXPONENTIALLY weaker than the PC-challenging Scorpio! I can't take the Scorpio on the go with me.......and I can't hook my 3DS up to my TV and recline on the couch......neither one of these are things that plague this amazing little Nintendo Switch! Will 3rd party support come? Oh, sure, this thing is already taking off like gangbusters with indie games - unlike anything Nintendo has seen before, and maybe, in time, even more than what PS4 and XB1 enjoy....but what about big name companies and AAA blockbuster games? Time will tell. I'm optimistic. But even if not, the Wii did fine without them - because it had a convincing and attractive use-case that didn't depend or rely on the major blockbusters. The WiiU, while not exactly a failure per se, still failed to achieve any significant success, but that was MUCH less because of a lack of 3rd parties, but rather because of not having a convincing, and attractive use case - with the absence of AAA titles to bail it out. Undoubtedly, the Switch will be more successful, and more well respected by lay gamers, and ESPECIALLY by serious gamers with a bounty of big-name 3rd party titles to its name than without them.....but just like the Wii before it, it has a use case that basically sells itself. EVEN IF we get a dearth of high-end AAA titles, the Switch will still be a meaningful success - probably on the order, or even higher than the Wii....but at the most ridiculously barest of minimums, far and away beyond what the WiiU ever saw! We have nothing to worry about with the Switch. It's going to do well. And to those who own PS4s and XB1s who are laughing at the Switch because of the power gap......I have a Kaby Lake i5 / GTX 1070 gaming PC running games at max detail in 4K and with frame rates more or less the same as what your consoles are achieving in what from my perspective would only be about medium detail......please know that I'm laughing at you! Now what? And as only the 2nd system in all of gaming history, in all of my 40+ platforms that I was blessed to have on launch day (the other being the N64), and the ONLY system I ever waited in lines for hours for (the N64 I succeeded in pre-ordering), I will be able to say I was there from the very beginning. And that feels AWESOME!!! What can I say, I have a very high opinion of, and a very optimistic outlook on the Nintendo Switch!!! And even if history ultimately proves me what? - I've still got a PS4, and an XB1, and a 3DS, and a Vita, and a WiiU......AND MOST OF ALL.....a PC to fall back on! I'll be just fine! But I am supremely confident that it'll never come to that. :-) Now, to those who actually read all of this....thank very much!!! You're crazy....and I love you! I'm not sure that collectively speaking, my comments weren't even longer than the article itself. But I wanted to be thorough. If you have been following along, and have been waiting to say something (the one guy wet himself at about question 10 because he couldn't hold it in any longer)....the floor is now all yours. I look forward to your response.....I've said my peace now. :-) Cheers!