Pulling the ol’ Switch-eroo
Giving into hype and buying a Switch
By Nathan Kunz, Staff Writer
I like to think I’m not an impulsive person. I like to plan ahead — whether it be making reservations at a semi-popular restaurant, picking my movie seats days ahead of time, or routing out exactly how to get to an interview hours before I leave my house. So why then did I give in and decide to buy a Nintendo Switch within hours of the idea popping into my head?
I gave into the hype. And after a buyers-remorse free week, I’m glad I did.
Nearly a year after its initial release in March of 2017, the popularity of the hybrid console-handheld Nintendo Switch has continued to rise. By the end of December, the console had already sold more units than the previous Wii U platform had in its five year run. Throughout December and January, the Switch outsold the Playstation 4 and Xbox One according to VentureBeat. And with hype growing for the interactive cardboard cutout additions of the Nintendo Labo series set for release in April, Nintendo’s steady upward trajectory shows little signs of simmering.
Personally, the top selling point of the Switch came from its diversity in functionality. Nintendo’s reputation as a platform for serious gaming has been poor to say the least since the domination of the hyper user friendly interface presented by the Wii. The Switch, however, seems to have hit a happy medium in this department, offering remasters of games like Skyrim while not straying far from accessible titles like Mario Kart and Splatoon. More traditional capabilities have also allowed for Nintendo to open up to more indie developers, which means even more diverse titles to choose from.
Beyond game choice, the hybrid features that allow for the Switch to be utilized both as a console and handheld helped win me over. The thoughts of how handy it’d be to smash through an eight hour plane ride by locking into a campaign of Super Mario Odyssey was only disrupted by the realization that I’m drowning in assignments and lacking enough cash to make it beyond the Alberta border. But hey, I can pass this off on the “investment” argument I guess.
So with at least two boxes checked, I decided to invest. Along with a copy of Super Mario Odyssey, I left the Best Buy parking lot with my very own Nintendo Switch underarm as a satisfied customer. No more than 45 minutes later and I was in game. For a console packed with user features, I was amazed at the simplicity of the setup, which was guided by a series of Ikea-esque illustrations and on screen commands.
In game, the Switch worked exactly as I’d hoped, as Super Mario Odyssey offers a world which is exactly as simple or challenging as the player decides, all while remaining unpredictable and engaging throughout. Thrown onto the mobile screen, the game felt just as large, alleviating a early worry that the game’s appeal wouldn’t transfer properly onto what is ultimately a different medium all together.
I was somewhat taken aback, however, by the choice to push motion controls in game early on. Though not entirely necessary, Odyssey seems to nudge the player every once and awhile, alerting you that a movement of the Joy-Con controller will everything a little easier in game. “Come on,” it seems to taunt. “Everybody’s doing it.” And as badly as I want to resist it, I’ll be damned if I don’t on occasion shake the control like an absolute madman so Mario will climb those trees just a tiny bit faster. Time is money, after all and after spending far more on my Switch than is advisable on a student budget, I’ve got to save all the money I can.