Dear, Nintendo Switch,
First of all, happy birthday! Congratulations on all your success! I can’t believe it’s been one year since you came into my home on March 3rd, 2017. Since then, I’ve watched you grow up from a fledgling hybrid with a stellar launch to a robust competitor. I’ve spent a lot of time with you. Almost an entire year to be exact. You gave me a lot of memories and a lot of great single player and multiplayer experiences. I stretched my legs with you and made relationships with developers through you. You went almost everywhere with me, and you still will. Sorry you didn’t have Monster Hunter: World… That was enough to pull me away.
In one year, these were:
10 things I loved about you and…
10 things I hated about you
No hard feelings. Journalistic integrity, you understand.
#1. I never thought I’d appreciate your portability as much as I do.
You now know that I only have one TV in my house. Yeah the one you sit next to. Sometimes when Kal wants to watch Sesame Street or when it’s a nice day out or if I know I’ll have time on my lunch break, I can take you with me so we’ll never be apart. I initially thought that was just a gimmick. I’m sorry. Turns out I get more use out of it than I suspected I would. Now I wish I could do the same thing with my PS4.
I think your kickstand is stupid. It’s off center so it can be hard to stand you up on weird surfaces. You’re stable enough if someone doesn’t bump you but God forbid there’s an earthquake in California. That’d probably send you hurtling through the stratosphere.
#2. When I got a Pro Controller for Christmas, I instantly fell in love with it.
It felt like the right size and weight in my hands. Much more so than with the Joy Cons, the Pro Con seemed as if it was tailored for my palms and fingers. I like that it holds a charge for quite a while. It’s super reliable!
There are a few things about the Joy Cons themselves that bother me.
They’re a really cool concept and all, the idea that you can use them as one or two separate controllers on the fly. They’re stylish too, but I’ve had de-syncing issues with the left Joy Con for a while now. I haven’t had the motivation to send it in for repair, either. Maybe that’s because it’s a new controller and I shouldn’t have to. So I’m stuck with it occasionally leaning my characters to the left or disconnecting entirely. How could you let this happen?
#3. “There’s nothing to play on the Switch!”
I tell those people to “get out”. That’s silly. Your first year saw a steady stream of very well-received exclusives, which we both know is the reason why people buy Nintendo at all. Imagine if they didn’t have all those innovative IPs??? I didn’t even have time to play all of them but what I did play I thoroughly enjoyed. Everything else is icing on the cake but that icing itself is incredibly rich, the Nindies and hidden gems.
I had to pass on some of your exclusives because, let’s face it, some of them were hideously overpriced. I still think Super Bomberman R was a stinker and I resent having paid so much for it. C’mon… you think $50 for 1-2-Switch was a fair price??? Who knows if this was a matter of corporate aloofness or the unfortunate side effects of sticking with cartridges. Either way, you taught me to be frugal and that big name games don’t always equate value (I’m looking at you with my big, clichéd anime eyes, Xenoblade Chronicles 2).
#4. What about that icing?
Nintendo embracing indies with you was genius. Another complaint I hear from people (typically those who don’t own you) is that owning a Switch means playing games everyone else played years ago. Has everyone really played all of the ports coming to your eShop? I doubt that. The average adult player doesn’t have a ton of time to play so many games. I certainly don’t and being able to finally have a chance to play these diverse and varied games I missed upon initial release has been really satiating my inner retro gamer. I shouldn’t have to be shamed online for not having played these earlier. Axiom Verge, amirite? Or Shovel Knight, SteamWorld Dig 2, VVVVVV, Wulverblade, Golf Story, GoNNER… not to mention double-dipping on Stardew Valley.
I thought you were handpicking these things? Some Nindies aren’t worth the title. Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas was one of the worst games I played last year and when I visit your eShop there are a lot of titles that are all too easy to pass on. Because why get worked up about that dumb-looking snake game when you could’ve had some really incredible indies like Hyper Light Drifter?
#5. You were the best-selling product on Black Friday 2017 and you outsold indisputables Sony and Microsoft’s consoles in December 2017, despite the release of the “X.Xbox One-Two XXX HD4kREMIX1.1 .hack//box pi”. To top it all off you outsold the Wii U’s entire lifespan in less than a year! That’s a lot to be proud of coming from the underdog company!
Almost anything could outsell the Wii U…
#6. Fair enough. Well, you recently added Hulu to your capabilities. I do hope that this is a sign of more to come in regards to streaming services. Why? Because while I have Hulu on many other devices, it seems you stream it pretty dang well. Not sure why but it’s better quality and faster than trying to peep anything on YouTube on my PS4. So though I’m not too much of a fan of Hulu (only enough to use free trials), I’ve been using you a lot to watch X-Files!
And when I’m watching X-Files, I’m thinking “man, I wish this wasn’t just on Hulu”. That’s not your fault, but you know what is? Not having the other streaming services. If you had YouTube, you’d be ineffably indispensable considering you’re the most reliable streaming device I have connected to my TV. Even more so than dumb Chromecast. So where’s my Netflix and chill, huh? Don’t lie to me again.
#7. As a father of two very young children, I appreciate the way you’ve set up some of your online multiplayer. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe really shined in this department because I can’t type custom messages or send images to the people around the world that I play with. That means they can’t do the same to my children which eliminates a lot of predators and trolls right off the bat. Thank you. We need more of that in gaming, just the game and less the pretense that being called racial slurs by anonymous strangers is “social gaming”.
But I was fooling myself by thinking I’d ever be able to play multiplayer on your tiny screen when in tabletop mode. I can’t even see the turns on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe like that! So while couch co-op is back thanks to you, I need to ensure that I’m on the couch looking at the TV.
#8. Piggybacking on what I said above. It’s refreshing to see you and Nintendo make more than a dent in the gaming industry today with your approach to games as fun and games for the young and young at heart. I’m old enough to remember a time some two or three years ago (heh) when it seemed like absolutely everything was gritty realism, depressing storylines, hard-edged action heroes, zombies, zombies, zombies, more zombies, and the eternal obsession with “lookit thuh graphix!!1” It’s nice not to have to buy into any of that and still enjoy great games that are about having a good time.
While that’s true, I wish you were doing more. I really do. Your first year saw a good amount of exclusive games that brought back the fun but what’s coming down the pipeline next? Kirby, Yoshi, Metroid Prime 4 that we’ve not seen any footage of? I know Nintendo likes to announce things last minute… You have the eyes of the world on you now. You’ve changed minds now. NOW is the time to take action. NOW is the time to announce “Smash Bros. Switch”!
#9. An SD card can hold a ton of games and help with transferring the screenshots I need for reviews!
I had to buy an SD card.
#10. If I only owned two consoles, it’d be you and my PS4. Don’t ask me who I love more. You’re both my children. Daddy will always love you and that’s that. There are still so many more reasons why I think you’re awesome but it really comes down to the Nintendo games you feature. Super Mario Odyssey was pure joy, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was a surprise delight, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one I am still coming back to play with friends, and of course… I will never forget The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What a breath of fresh air in open-world game design that our world will now take its cues from. Way to make Nintendo an influence again with that Game of the Year.
“hashtag notmyGOTY”… I have to put up with hearing that now. Thanks.
*Share your personal grade for the Nintendo Switch’s first year in the poll below!*
-The Well-Red Mage
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