The Nintendo Switch released this morning! It comes just a scant few months after we learned the official name of what we previously called the NX, and still with still many details to be learned: what will the online component be like? Where's the Virtual Console? And will Nintendo gain the support of third parties — something they've traditionally failed to do, undermining their consoles' potential?
Despite this dearth of information, I lined up for the Switch, making it my first midnight release. I've owned all seven generations of Nintendo consoles during their lifetimes, having bought the last five — the Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, and Switch — on their launch dates. I love Nintendo's bold innovation and their exclusive first-party games; both are enough to earn my support.
The Switch is Nintendo's first console release since 2012's Wii U, my unboxing of which launched my YouTube channel. While most consoles last longer than the Wii U did, and I've unboxed other generations of consoles since then, I was excited for the opportunity to return to my channel's roots with the above unboxing of the Switch.
The Switch's box was smaller and lighter than the Wii U, and the console was easier to set up. In fact, some people might find the user interface positively Spartan, especially its eShop interface (which is enabled with a small Day One update). Since the shop's offerings are similarly sparse, I found this design easy to overlook for now.
I was, however, disappointed by the presence of friend codes. Each user is assigned an unintuitive, cumbersome, numeric code by which they can send and receive friend requests. The Wii U did away with this CompuServe-era artifact, allowing users to connect via usernames. That Nintendo decided to take a step back with the Switch — especially when we just recently registered Nintendo Account IDs — is inane.
Besides the console itself, I also picked up some software and peripherals. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild was a given, and I unboxed it separately.
But I also wanted a multiplayer game, so I got 1-2 Switch, a collection of minigames loosely in the style of WarioWare. The best minigames are those that demonstrate the high-definition tactile feedback of the Joy-Con controllers; others that rely solely on audio cues or controller positioning feel gimmicky, though they do create an accessible experience for a diverse audience.
Thinking I needed a second controller for multiplayer games, I also picked up a second Joy-Con for a whopping $80. As it turns out, 1-2 Switch needs only the Joy-Con that comes with the console, leaving me with an unused peripheral that I might've bought eventually but regret having in the meantime. A better purchase would've been the the Pro Controller, which also works with computer games.
As soon as I was done shooting the above trifecta of unboxing videos, I boarded a plane to fly across the country. With the last Nintendo handheld I purchased being the Game Boy Advance in 2001, the Switch marked my first time enjoying a mobile Nintendo device in almost 15 years. Zelda worked great; 1-2 Switch and other titles, not so much.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the Switch's success — and retailers seem to be, too. Whether the Switch can maintain its momentum remains to be seen. I predict it'll be smaller than the astounding success of the Wii, but still better than the commercial failure of the Wii U. But those who do take the plunge will be in for yet another uniquely Nintendo experience.