“When one is frightened of the truth then it is never the whole truth that one has an inkling of.”
It’s here! Happy Switch Launch Day, NPCs! The hype train has been careening down the tracks for months with reams of excitement pluming from its smokestack and it’s caught me dead in its path, irresistibly struck by the delirium of the Nintendo Switch’s impending arrival ever since that first dramatic reveal trailer… And now it’s finally here!
Getting a console and several games at launch is unusual for me. The last time I did it was when I got the PlayStation One. Everything else I’ve waited to purchase second hand. Something about the Switch just awed me. I’m not one to purchase every single new game that comes out so the “slow trickle” of games coming out later this year doesn’t bother me.
I’m also not one for short posts but I thought I’d be doing a disservice to mankind if I did not share some of my initial impressions concerning the Switch. I’m keeping it brief, because well… I’ve got an open-world Hyrule to explore.
These are my magely inklings about the Switch:
- Japanese miniaturization
The very first thing you’ll notice about the Switch is just how small it is. It’s like a third smaller than the Wii. Everything about it is small. I felt like a giant by comparison but this smallness masks an efficiency and speed all its own.
- Extremely light and not somewhat fragile
Being so miniscule, I thought it would be fragile. Now of course, I didn’t rush to throw it against a tile floor as soon as I brought it out of the box but the fact is that the rails hold the joy-cons on firmly and the release button isn’t at all over-sensitive so there’s no risk of the lil things just falling out. Another worry I had was that the console wouldn’t neatly fit into the dock, that it would be sitting on a flimsy USB-esque connection but this again was not the case. It sits on something more analogous to the cartridge slot of the SNES so the connection is firm. The console itself, minus the dock, is over 4 ounces lighter than my Amazon Kindle Fire. It was heavier than I thought it’d be but it is still extremely light, and the buttons and joysticks are pretty flush so I’d imagine it’d be easy to stuff in a bag and carry around. It’s so light I’d probably forget about it.
- The dock did not scratch my screen
Just before my Switch arrived in the mail, I was sent a link by a certain unnamed mage that showed the touchscreen scuffed up simply from being inserted into the tv dock. I was ultra concerned about this and did my best to slide it in gently but after taking it out and so on, I haven’t seen nary a scratch.
- Teeny tiny cartridges that taste horrific
The first game I purchased was one I didn’t intend to. I’d preordered Breath of the Wild with my Switch through GameStop but since I’ll be hanging out BBQing with dudes while my wife and friends enjoy our baby shower, I figured Super Bomberman R would be pretty fun to rock some multiplayer with. Yay for spending tax returns money! I went to WalMart and grabbed it, noting that there were only two Switches left on their display, and when the cashier handed me the case, it felt like there was nothing in it! When I opened up the case, which is smaller than a DVD case, I found this teeny tiny cartridge that feels light as a feather. The first thing I did was taste it because I’d heard they taste awful to discourage swallowing and it made me want to retch (that’s denatonium benzoate, for you). It tastes like a delicious T-bone steak if that steak were marinated in vinegar and dirty dish water then rinsed off with bleach and served on a pile of rancid toothpaste. In other words, don’t eat them. Simply be content to be impressed by its tiny scale.
- User interface
I appreciate that the user interface is sleek and streamlined and simple. The news section is somewhat crowded but the home screen resembles the PS4 interface, so it wasn’t jarring at all to make the transition to the Switch, in that respect. As you probably know, there are currently only black and white themes and no music in the background, unlike the Wii.
- Set up
Setup was super easy and the Switch ran through it noticeably quickly. What impressed me most was the out-of-the-box update I had to run to access the eShop and what not. It finished so fast I wasn’t even sure it had completed at all. I had to go back to try again just to be certain. Compare that to the long wait times for periodic updates with Sony. And I’m sure Microsoft, but I have no experience there.
- Loading times
Yes… the loading times are severely lessened, and that’s both on Bomberman R and Breath of the Wild. Bear in mind I’m coming off of playing Final Fantasy XV which had loading times that were so long that I wrote entire blog posts while sitting in front of the TV. The benefits of le cartridge.
- No installation wait
Now there were immediate updates that I had to download (each less than a minute) and after that, the games start immediately. The days are over when you bought a hard copy of a game and then came home and had to download the other 80% of it. Even with how massive a game Breath of the Wild apparently is, it starts right up with little wait.
- Adorable Joy-Cons
The Joy-Cons may end up being among my favorite controllers ever. Having a two-in-one controller is amazing. They slide on and off the rails neatly. They are SUPER tiny but they work well even with my huge man hands. I love how light they feel (each the weight of half a banana, apparently). I love their versatility and they are comfortable in all of the play-variations that I’ve tried. They also have great battery life and easy access to all their buttons. Note that I did experience that reported left Joy-Con de-syncing early on, but the problem has not resurfaced. (update) De-syncing occured periodically during Breath of the Wild while playing in TV mode.
- Anticipated games
I’ve got the two launch titles I wanted most in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Bomberman R. I would’ve also picked up I Am Setsuna if I hadn’t already played it on PlayStation 4. However, the Switch lineup keeps expanding with new titles being revealed and these are the games I’m most looking forward to in the coming months (in order): untitled Pokémon game, untitled Taiko Drum Master game, Steamworld Dig 2, Shakedown Hawaii, Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Yooka-Laylee, Graceful Explosion Machine, Stardew Valley (multiplayer update), Dragon Quest X, Dragon Quest Heroes I & II, GoNNER, Blaster Master Zero, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, Rime, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Octopath Traveler, Super Mario Odyssey.
So all you non-Switchers, what are you most curious about with the Switch? I’d love to answer your questions as best I can. And for you Switchers, what do you think about the whole thing so far?
-The Well-Red Mage