For a long time, I have felt that no piece of video game hardware could surpass the original Nintendo DS in my mind. He checked so many pictures for me. It was a device that had an absolutely incredible and eclectic library of games, from strange musical gems like Electroplankton and Elite Beat Agents, to some of the best iterations of the iconic Nintendo series like Mario Kart, Pokémon and Animal Crossing. Its dual screens and touch interface led to all new types of experiences, while at the same time its elegant design (starting with DS Lite), made it the first piece of video game hardware that it owned and that did not look like a cheap toy. . It perfectly supported my iPod with scroll wheel. For years I've maintained some iteration of the handheld with me pretty much wherever I go.
But with the Switch, I think I have a new favorite.
A year ago, when Nintendo released its tablet-type console for the first time, it was infatuated. Of course, much of that was due to the sublime Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which debuted along with the system. It turns out that a great open-world game, and possibly the best Zelda to date, is a great way to show that your comparatively low-powered console can drive incredible experiences. But a game is not a system, and since then Nintendo has shown that even once the euphoric feeling of playing Breath of the Wild disappears on the fly, the Switch still has a lot to offer.
The legend of Zelda: breath of the wild.
More than any other means of entertainment, video games demand your time. If you want to enjoy some of the best titles that exist, that often means dedicating dozens of hours of your life to exploring places like Fallout or Grand Theft Auto. For many of us, this means that to enjoy the latest blockbuster, we have to change our lives to better adapt to the game. It is not always easy to find 100 hours to collapse in front of a sofa. Actually, completing the last successful game may seem like an insurmountable task.
Games can fit my life, not the other way around
This has been the case for as long as the consoles have existed. Handheld computers offered a different perspective, with games you could take while traveling, but due to hardware limitations, these games were almost always minor versions of what you could play in your living room. With the Switch, Nintendo has eliminated the distinction between the two parties. Titles like Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 are not console games or portable games; they are just games, and I can decide how and where I want to play them. Whether that means picking up a few moons while traveling cross country, or sneaking in a couple of rounds of Splatoon in bed, depends on me. The Switch offers a degree of flexibility that means that games can fit my life, and not the other way around. Breath of the Wild was the perfect example of this; The vast kingdom of Hyrule could travel with you, instead of just being a space that you could explore when you spend a few hours on the couch.
Over the past year, we have seen several examples of how this configuration can improve different types of gaming experiences. Everything, from Pac-Man to Minecraft and Skyrim, works well with Switch. And the tablet has also increasingly become the destination of some of the best independent games. I played in the excellent agricultural game Stardew Valley almost a year after it was originally released, and I'm glad I waited, because the mere fact of being on the switch dramatically improved the experience for me. The hardware switch is even the one that leads to new types of experiences. It is hard to imagine Labo, the new odd series of cardboard accessories from Nintendo, which exists on any other platform.
I can not think of a piece of hardware that has changed my perspective on games like Switch does. When I'm playing a game on another platform, be it a PS4 game like Monster Hunter World, or something like that on the PC like Into the Breach, I can not help but want to be on the Switch. Now I find it strange to limit myself to playing alone in one place. It has reached the point where I will play titles in which I do not have much interest, or I will play the games that I played before, simply because they are in the Switch. No game console, either from Nintendo or from anyone else, has had such a dramatic impact on the way I play and think about games.
Super Mario Odyssey.
Obviously it is not a perfect device. While it is powerful enough for a great new Zelda, the rather limited capabilities of the Switch mean that great games like Monster Hunter can not be moved. And when it comes to online functionality, well, this is still a Nintendo console. Playing with friends can be a problem, and features like saving in the cloud are non-existent. It could get better when Nintendo launches its online subscription service in September, but for now it's a flagrant flaw for an otherwise excellent machine.
When people talk about their favorite game console, they usually choose their favorite game. And after only one year, it is impossible to know if one day the Switch will have the type of library that will be compared with the likes of the DS or Super Nintendo. But it has had a surprising start. Unlike its predecessor, the Wii U, there have been no major differences between the new releases. In 2017, Nintendo released a high-quality title almost every month, and, unlike previous systems, third-party developers and independent studios have done an admirable job of giving body to the library. If that momentum continues, the Switch could be a lasting blow. The 14 million units that Nintendo has sold mean that the Switch has already overtaken the disappointing Wii U in less than 12 months.
But even if Super Mario Odyssey does not age as elegantly as Super Mario World, that does not diminish what Nintendo has achieved with Switch. It is a device that has changed what I want from a game console. It's not just that the switch has great games, it's that the games are better when they are on the switch.