Almost Two Years In, The Switch Still Stands Strong

Chris Gayda ‘19
EE Contributor

Nintendo Switch and Joy-Con

Recently, I had a friend of mine come up to me in the middle of study hall and ask me a question which I had to ponder for but a few seconds:

“Hey, should I get a Nintendo Switch?”

I immediately replied, “Absolutely.” And while I didn’t go into much detail about why, really, I feel that now is my chance to rectify my missed opportunity during study hall.

The Nintendo Switch, released over one and a half years ago, is a hybrid console that you can use projected onto a screen or in handheld mode. Its main competitors are most commonly seen as Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, but the Switch occupies an entirely separate market. While appealing to long-time fans of the company and their products (such as myself), the Switch is a no-brainer for those looking for mobility without sacrificing the quality that traditional mobile games lack.

“Quality” with the Switch, unfortunately, is a mixed bag. The internal hardware of the console is unimpressive, boasting a 32GB memory card that can be replaced by an up to 256GB card (in comparison to the PS4’s 500GB or the Xbox One’s 1000GB). As such, fewer digital games can be downloaded on the system than its competitors. In addition, the Switch’s GPU (graphics processing unit) is weaker, and its frame rate can drop dangerously low at times, especially when playing games with lots of individual models on the screen. Additionally, Nintendo Switch Online – their version of Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus – is relatively underpowered yet cheap. If you thrive on games such as Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros, you might have a painful experience with its online servers.

However, what the Switch lacks in specs is more than accounted for in its versatility and game library. The hybrid console boasts one of the strongest lineups of games in its first years of life, including Game of the Year 2017 winner The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and GOTY contender Super Mario Odyssey. In addition, the Switch library contains an obscene number of indie titles, with my personal favorites shaping up to be Shovel Knight, Celeste, and Dead Cells, all critically-acclaimed open-world platformers.

What could be the biggest strength of the Switch is in its portability. Ever wanted to play Skyrim, Super Smash Bros or even Dark Souls on the go? With the Switch, now you can! Graphics and framerate suffer drops when you take the console out of its dock, but the on-the-go goodness of it all far surpasses any decline in specs. I find myself amazed that “mobile” gaming has progressed as far as it had in the 13 years since the release of the Nintendo DS, and I hope to continue to see its progeny grow even more than it already has in the past year and a half.

So, to answer my friend’s question: absolutely. With the Switch now hitting the markets at a comparatively low $299.99 MSRP, the Switch is the perfect gift for the holidays. Adapting to modern gaming trends, offering games such as Fortnite, Rocket League, and Call of Duty, while concurrently renewing timeless classics such as Mario and Kirby, the Switch is the ultimate gift for gamers that just keeps giving.

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