Nintendo Delivers The First Console That Can Go Wherever You Do

Avi Vogel, Columnist

In October of last year, Nintendo finally announced their long-anticipated console, the Nintendo Switch. With it, they promised a home console that could be played on the go. They also demonstrated ease in local multiplayer, something that almost every platform has struggled with since long before the console generation. Since its launch in March, the Switch has exceeded expectations and brought about a revolution in the gaming industry, despite the classic Nintendo issues that persist.

Before purchase, it’s important to know the two pieces that comprise any console: the hardware (the console itself) and the software (the games available at launch). As a piece of hardware, the Switch is a marvel. While the commercial — which showcased gamers playing a game on a television and then undocking it to play on the go — looked hokey at best, the Switch turned out to be a success and perfect for traveling. Nintendo promised a console that could go wherever you did, and they delivered.

The only downsides to the hardware are the appalling prices charged for accessories and the ridiculous level of scarcity that consumers face to even get a hold of the Switch.

Both the controllers and the extra set of Joy-Cons cost $80. The Pro Controller, the closest accessory they have to a typical controller, is $70, which is around $20 more than the current Xbox and PlayStation controllers.

With consumers still struggling to find locations that have it in stock at all, buying the Switch at all is a harrowing task. It is absurd that six months after launch, people are still resorting to alert systems to find out when shops in their area will stock up on the console. Although this is standard behavior for Nintendo and is less egregious than what they are doing with their Classic Edition now, it’s still a big inconvenience and a frustrating ordeal for players. However, if one can overlook these shortcomings and is satisfied with the base unit of a Switch, then this is an ideal buy.

Beyond the console itself, Nintendo has attempted to create a system for their game releases. They release a high production value, highly promoted AAA game every month, and fill in the gaps with smaller-scale independent games.

For the AAA games, Nintendo seems to have stuck to their plan so far. They released Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in March, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in April, Arms in June, Splatoon 2 in July, and Mario + Rabids: Kingdom Battle in August. These games have provided enough variety to cater to a wide array of gamers. Even though some of these games have proven to be less than stellar, others have found substantial critical and financial success.

Initially, the Switch catered to a limited range of gamers. The first month and a half of the Switch’s launch was marked by few indie games, and the ones released at launch didn’t provide the depth that the public was expecting. It wasn’t until a month and a half afterward that developers started to correct their course. Games like Tumbleseed, which has players roll a seed up an increasingly hostile mountain; Severed, which now has touch controls mapped perfectly to the Switch screen; and Graceful Explosion Machine, a score-based bullet hell game, are all games that fill the initial gap in independently-developed content.

The Switch would not be as popular as it is without a stand-out game of its own. What Wii Sports was for the Wii and Super Mario World was for the SNES, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been for the Switch.

Breath of the Wild is a near-flawless experience. The game innovates the ‘open world’ genre that had been searching for new hooks, and can provide hundreds of hours of bliss. To discuss the game adequately is a topic for another article entirely, but suffice to say it has had a major impact on the Switch’s popularity.

Despite some of the more questionable business practices and pricing decisions that Nintendo has made, I still whole-heartedly recommend the Nintendo Switch. It succeeds at providing a console that is excellent for both mobile and home use. Developers are delivering on the independent front, and Nintendo provides enough first party game support to satisfy fans of most game genres. If you want a Switch, I hope you manage to find one.