The Switch has become one of Nintendo’s most popular consoles with over 110 million sold, just under the Nintendo DS, selling 154 million units. Similar to the Nintendo DS, the Switch was also built with portability in mind, but with much better graphics and can output to an HD display.
From its amazing game library to its surprisingly great controllers, here are a few reasons why the Switch has become the gold standard for portable gaming.
1. The Joy-Cons
You can see a lot of inspiration from the Wii U when it comes to the Switch’s design, including the controllers. The Wii U was also meant to be somewhat portable, with the clunky GamePad doubling as both a controller and a display to view either the entire game, or another element of gameplay while connected to a television.
One of the main issues with the Wii U GamePad is it was extremely heavy as far as controllers go. The Switch has fixed this with its slim, lightweight design. The Joy-Cons can be used wirelessly with one in each hand, akin to the Wii’s Wiimote and Nunchuk design, attached to the comfort grip for a more traditional controller layout, or separately for multiplayer games.
This is the best part of the Switch’s design. Instead of needing to spend an absurd amount of money on another controller, the Switch makes it easy for a friend to join in on the fun with each Joy-Con transforming into its own controller with the use of an L+R rail you slide on. This in-turn makes it much more practical when traveling with your Switch, as you don’t have to pack a separate clunky controller just in case you want to play a multiplayer title.
The one downside is some people are experiencing Joy-Con drift; here are some ways to fix it if you’re also seeing an issue.
2. Game Availability
Nintendo has the best exclusive games of all the large console manufacturers, making the Switch a fantastic investment to add to your collection. One of the best parts about the Switch is that it has a large variety of games for every kind of gamer out there.
It has fantastic multiplayer titles that are fun for both casual and hardcore Nintendo fans, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Strikers: Battle League, and Splatoon. The Switch also has some great relaxing titles for casual gamers, such as Spiritfarer, Tetris Effect: Connected, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Hardcore fans who love RPGs aren’t left out in the cold either. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Bravely Default II, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses provide hundreds of hours of gameplay and have fantastic replayability once they’re beaten.
Each of these types of games has their place when it comes to portable gaming. Multiplayer games on the Switch are perfect for bringing to a friend’s house, RPGs with hundreds of hours of gameplay are great while traveling with lots of downtime, and casual games are the best fit while relaxing in bed.
3. The Design
Nintendo finally got the design right for its home console that can be both a powerful system with beautiful graphics and can easily be taken on the road. It’s unfortunately not as small as a 3DS that can fit in a pocket, but it makes up for that with a nicer display, especially with the Nintendo Switch OLED, and a huge game library.
The Switch also has a kickstand to prop up on a table, and you can buy straps to attach it to the back of a car seat to play with friends on the go. The situation doesn’t always come up, but it’s an amazing feeling when it does. You have not lived until you’ve played eight-player Smash Bros. on a table at TGI Fridays late at night.
The lightweight design makes it really nice to play in bed or laying on a couch; we cannot imagine laying down while using a Wii U GamePad above our faces. The Switch also has some really high-quality cases to carry around the console, games, and other accessories.
The Nintendo Switch Has Become the Gold Standard for Portable Gaming
Portable game systems have sadly gone away for the most part. The PlayStation Vita was discontinued in 2019, Nintendo is closing the 3DS eShop in early 2023, and there are not a lot of manufactures interested in building handheld, portable game systems.
There have been some innovations, however. The Steam Deck is making it possible for people to play high-end, triple-A titles on the go in a Switch form factor, and the Analogue Pocket is making portable retro gaming in the 2020s a joy.
These innovations show that the video game industry still has an interest in portable gaming. We’re looking forward to seeing if a portable Xbox or PlayStation becomes a reality in the future.
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