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Nintendo Switch: The Powerful, Affordable, Portable Console For Playing and Downloading Games

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I read a headline today that said that, this holiday season, the Nintendo Switch outsold XBox and Playstation 4-1. The Switch is a nice candidate for such a purchase, since it is about $200 cheaper than the next gen console alternatives, but there are some other advantages as well besides price. Recently, I talked about how the Wii U made me re-enter the world of gaming and this site earlier this year. What a way to go about it too. If you’re what you would consider, a serious gamer, if there is such a thing, the Switch is totally viable. You might not have photorealistic titles like CyberPunk 2077, but you will have really good games that are just as developed and probably a little more unique actually.

Tons of Cheap Games

Switch is the indie game promised land if you like cheap but really unique games. I learned that early. At first, I thought, “hmm, indie games, cheap prices, cheap games,” but I have since changed my mind. Indie games are really fun in concept as well as gameplay. On the Switch store, which I’ll talk about, there’s a little bit of you getting what you pay for, but if you check out the deals which there always are, you might find a gem. I’ve been playing some titles from that list myself with Bastion, a crazy Tom Waits fantasy platformer, or the looks-like-NES skateboarder sidescroller Mastaskata Tchecho. I try something new daily. And it’s great, because with needing to set some of my finances on standby, I can still explore the leading edge of game options on a $299, all-inclusive console. That’s a chunk of change, I know, but it’s actually not that bad if you plan to spend a lot of personal entertainment time with it.

Super Mario Odyssey

When I started MrDavePizza, I spent some time heavily focusing on family friendly games, wholesome ones if you will. I still do that, but I may slip a T-rated title into my blog here and there. That’s okay though, because with my Switch there are so many games that are VERY family friendly AND really cool. Just take any Mario game. Has there ever been a gamer who didn’t grow up on Mario? I know, a blanket statement like that needs evidence, but in the case of most people I know, Mario is the one game almost everybody knows. Even when I brought a Nintendo Wii I’d acquired into a Craigslist shared living situation (avoid at all costs,) we all knew Mario. For some it’s like riding a bicycle, you just pick up where you left and keep playing.

Also, if you are wondering, there is a HUGE inventory of Mario games out there. Many are on Switch, but there are so many that you could probably be set with a console loaded with a handful of titles that are on the eshop.

Okay, here’s the one catch with all of this. I have never played a recent Playstation or XBox console. I have been around them, seen people play them, read tons about their games, but they have always escaped my reach. I know they are good systems. They have a lot more to serve a mature audience too. I’m a little immature though, I guess? And those types of games make my eyes hurt and heart pound. So, that’s why I’ve hung my hat up at the Nintendo console club for most of my life.

The Tech Stuff

Just for clarity’s sake, and this is not too bore you, I don’t generally include technical specifications in my articles, because their intention is about expression more than documentation. Anyway, when you buy a Switch, you get a dock, a tablet, two joycons, and some cables. That’s it. It’s all HDMI and everything fits into place as you should. HEADS UP: When I first inserted the joycons into my dock, I accidentally entered one the wrong way. This is very possible to do if you’re not careful. It is possible to fix, it involves pushing something and pulling the joy con at the same time, but stop and google “joycon stuck” if you make this mistake. A good way to avoid this in the first place is Blue on the Left, Red on the Right, if that’s still not helpful (which it might not be because there are different color joy cons,) the Switch graphic itself actually shows you which side each joycon goes on. The buttons and thumbsticks are inverted on each, as the graphic shows, so you can always look at the logo on the dock itself to know which one.

Aside from that, it’s VERY easy to set up. I do recommend looking at instructions, but if you just utilize some modest patience, you’ll be up in no time. The home screen is not very exciting. Actually nothing will really happen until you insert or download a game from the eshop. You can browse the eshop online and, unlike previous consoles, almost every single game you will ever play can be downloaded from the eshop. It’s kind of the point to it anyway. You’ll need to use a payment method to download the games but it’s simply the best way to get games. Since you need an internet connection for any of this, I won’t bother explaining the necessity of that although you could use the console offline I suppose. I’ve never tried it, or needed a reason to.

A Satisfye Zengrip Pro

Okay, about the controllers. The Joy Cons do work, but I really prefer the Switch Pro Controller (the authentic Nintendo one, the others ones don’t have rumble.) There’s a lot of “opinion” on this subject, but really it’s up to you, and what games you’re going to play. Beyond that, there’s not much to know. Each game uses a different control layout for the controller, but they’re usually pretty similar and intuitive, even on the indie games. There is one exception, Pokemon Cafe, that one you have to use on the tablet. Oh, I guess on that note too, you  can either play games on the TV or the Tablet, and the Tablet has a stand or you can play it with the joycons attached to it. I prefer TV, again a personal choice. If you plan to play handheld a lot or portably, I recommend you invest in a Satisfye Zen Pro Grip available on Amazon. That is not an ad or promotion, it’s simply the only I know of that will actually work without possibly messing up your console with promises of dockability with the grip on (not possible and the Satisfye is a lot more comfortable anyway.)

Final Thoughts

That’s about it. Seeing how I don’t have a Switch Lite I can’t really say too much about it, but I don’t really game in public or away from home much, so it’s not something I’ve tried. It IS an option though, and it can work. You might need to research it first though to make sure, because the TV Dock offers a lot of the same options as the portable one.

That’s my rundown on the Switch. If you have any more questions, let me know, I’d be happy to answer them for you. Leave a comment below, email me at dave@mrdavepizza.com, or DM me on twitter at @MrDavePizza.

Oh yeah, Mario time!