The Nintendo Switch Is Still My Favorite Console Three Years Later
Handheld games have always intrigued me, and I’ve owned more than I care to list here. Yet the one I’ve grown obsessed with in the last 3 years is easily the Nintendo Switch. I remember being absolutely impatient waiting for it to launch way back in 2017. I was lucky enough that it launched close enough to my birthday, that my parents actually bought the console for me. And now with the console turning three years old (already!), and Animal Crossing looming on the horizon, it feels like a perfect time for me to gush over the astounding handheld.
The Allure of A Hybrid
Before the console had even launched, I remember being absolutely in love with the idea of a hybrid gaming system that part home console, and part handheld. The ability to take the same games you play at home, on the go anywhere with you is by far the biggest reason I love the switch as much as I do. Not only does the system support major first party Nintendo games such as the excellent system seller (and main reason I bought the console on launch) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8 among many others, but the system has strong support from third party triple A studios, as well as a ton of indies to boot. This combination makes for a system that is full of games that appeal to a large audience, as there’s something for everyone. This is also before we even mention the built-in multiplayer capabilities that other major consoles seem more than happy to largely ignore.
A More Personal Console
With games like Super Mario Party, Mario Kart 8 and a countless number of other titles both first- and third-party releases, the consoles focus on couch coop through its use of the detachable Joy-cons, is quite a refreshing change of pace, as most modern multiplayer games are usually just online. While tabletop mode may not be perfect due to the smaller size of the screen, being able to play coop at anytime is a ton of fun. As someone who isn’t a huge fan of competitive online games, I tend to focus more so on the split screen multiplayer functions, as that tends to be more fun to me.
This combined with the ability to play massive games, such as The Witcher 3 or Breath of The Wild anywhere you go, makes them feel much less insurmountable. The ability to pick up and play in small bursts makes the titles much more accessible than standard home consoles. As someone who prefers to play the system near exclusively in handheld, whether I’m at home or not, there’s something about playing a big game like Diablo 3, The Witcher 3, Doom, or even much smaller games like Stardew Valley or Minecraft on the system that makes it feel much more personal than its PS4 and Xbox one counterparts. That not to say I don’t enjoy home consoles at all, I just prefer to play games on the switch instead.
But even after all that gushing over how much I love the system; I can’t outright ignore its shortcomings at the same time. From its rather basic UI (which isn’t honestly the worst), a lack of streaming services, an odd online subscription service, and no party system on the console itself, the Switch isn’t absolutely perfect. The online service is honestly my largest qualm with the console, as its far behind what PS+ and Xbox Live offer. Granted it also only costs $20 a year, I can’t say I fully see the value in it. Not all games support cloud saves, the free games on offer through the NES and SNES apps aren’t regularly updated, and having to pay to play games online feels somewhat at odds with console. This also comes with the small caveat that the system doesn’t have a built in Trophy or Achievement system, which isn’t a major complaint for me, but I could see how many may not like it. None of these issues are enough to truly detract from my overall appreciation of the Switch, but they’re issues I’d like to see Nintendo address in the future.
The same grievances could be aired against the pricing of First party games as well, while not a new complaint, still is a bit annoying. In classic Nintendo fashion, first party games launch for $60 and almost never go for a lower price, as do controllers and accessories. Frankly, $60 is a lot of money for most consumers, even if most Nintendo games are very good games, the price of entry can be a deterrence for many players on a budget. This can be especially egregious when the Joy-cons (at least in my experience) can eventually degrade, resulting in the need to be replaced or repaired.
All of these grievances aside, there’s still no other gaming console that gives me the same joy as the Nintendo Switch so often does. The graphics may not be up to par with home consoles, but the strong performance and portability of the console more than make up for the systems shortcomings in my opinion. And now, three years into the consoles life and its easily become my favorite console to date, thanks to its large suite of games and strong support from both first- and third-party developers, as well as its loving community of fans comprised of all ages. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the hybrid console, and if the first three years are any indication then the future is rather bright for system.