“Hardware Inklings: the Nintendo Switch”

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“When one is frightened of the truth then it is never the whole truth that one has an inkling of.”
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

 

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:

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Add me: SW-1741-9438-1507

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.c6bnsgkuoaaf5bq
  5. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 XDragon Quest Heroes I & II, GoNNERBlaster Master Zero, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, Rime, Shovel Knight: Treasure TroveOctopath TravelerSuper 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  https://thewellredmage.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/rmage2.jpg?w=36&h=50

 

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48 thoughts on ““Hardware Inklings: the Nintendo Switch”

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Well-Red! I’m loving the miniature Switch and its simple interface too! It’s easy on the eyes though I do wish there were more to what’s available on the system aside from games. But it’s a gaming system, so I really can’t complain. The loading is also short and sweet, even on games like Breath of the Wild. I had some trouble during my setup, though they’re probably problems that are unique on my end, so I’ll probably share those sometime in the future. Either way, thank you for adding me back on the Switch! Let’s surely play some multiplayer games sometime! 🙂

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    • If I had my way, streaming services and web browsing would make the Switch amazing for me right now. I was blown away by how fast it is considering I wasn’t expecting Nintendo to deliver on speed. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this as well. What was your setup issue? For me, it was the hdmi placement was too narrow for my huge fingers. Multiplayer would be fun! Bomberman R!

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      • Ah yes, that dock is a little too small. I also had trouble with that. But my problems were perhaps dumber than that, like I really should have figured things out, yet I spent an hour tinkering with it. I’ll gather my thoughts in an update this week, haha. I look forward to multiplayer sometime though! I haven’t played Bomberman online yet, but based on how I’m doing in story mode, I’m probably not that good, ha!

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  2. Zelda is getting straight 10’s everywhere! Super jealous and excited to read more about it. I’m about to pick up Windwaker and Twilight Princess today, so at least I will have some throwbacks with all the Zelda hype going around. Will be a replay for me on Windwaker and a first time on Twilight, really looking forward to seeing what I missed out on.

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  3. I had an absolutely awful night at work (supermarket employee) and it was my birthday, so I had to really talk myself out of buying one of these after my shift ended on launch day. Thankfully I held firm and I’ve still got my money.

    I love the idea of Switch, and if Nintendo can provide me a half decent reason to own one, I’ll make that happen. Just please, please give me that reason.

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    • The closest I’ve ever come to an experience like that was working for a bakery and having a sweet tooth every time the cinnabuns came out of the oven! I don’t envy your position. Happy birthday, by the way! I hope your half decent validation comes along soon. For everyone up in the air about it, I’d recommend waiting till the end of the year once the library has become much broader, especially if you plan on multiple purchases.

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  4. My first thought when I took it out of the box: “D’aww! It’s so tiny.” Glad you’re enjoying the console as much as I am! Zelda will likely keep me busy until more games I’m interested in get released.

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    • It’s ridiculously tiny! I love it. Had a blast showing it to friends at my wife’s shower yesterday and seeing their reactions. Also finding victims to taste the cartridges was a highlight hahaha! Zelda has been great. I hope it wins game of the year.

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  5. Great detailed impressions! Not a question so much as a comment, but from the stills I’ve seen I don’t really like the Switch’s UI – it’s too bare and doesn’t appear to have a sense of fun. At least it’s simple, and fast though.

    Anyway I don’t have a Switch currently or ordered – financially not feasible – but I wouldn’t be in a rush anyway. At least I’ve got Zelda on Wii U, which I’m currently loving. Switch is interesting to me, but I won’t use it much as a portable and I’m not in any rush. I’ve only had a Wii U for a few months so there’s plenty to experience there while Switch builds up a decent library. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it anyway!

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    • I’ll meet you halfway there. The UI does indeed seem bare. Now I can’t speak for the Wii U, but the Wii had a greater sense of fun and charm on its interface because of background music whereas the Switch’s is silent. I personally think the Switch’s speed outweighs this and I think it’s got the bare bones structure to support an expansion, especially as more games are released. This is coming from a guy who was given an Xbox 360 and couldn’t get past the UI. I think if I owned a Wii U as well, then making the decision to buy a Switch would’ve been very, very different. I’d definitely be in your boat waiting for the Switch to have a broader library. It’s interesting that the Wii U didn’t do so well in sales and now it’s possible that the Wii U could be marginally hurting the Switch’s sales. Oh, Nintendo.

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      • Yeah, speed is good I suppose. One downside to the Wii U is it’s not very fast. Still think it feels like the full realisation of what the original Wii was going for with its UI – Miis everywhere interacting with Miiverse posts from friends popping up on the one screen, and a TV channel-style menu on the other screen. Nice background sound effects, that kind of thing. Ah well. Thing is, you know that Nintendo will eventually introduce themes and wallpapers and all the bells and whistles on Switch – it’s just a matter of time presumably.

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        • I hope it’s a matter of time. Bafflimg this is just why they didn’t have some simple things like these bells and whistles in place for launch day. I don’t recall that I’ve ever seen the Wii U’s interface but I thought the Wii’s was pretty good.

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  6. Got mine at the last second through Amazon Prime Now. Unfortunately, Zelda shipment is delayed so I’ve just got this sweet new device with nothing to play! I actually thought about Bomberman, but I’ll just hold off for now. Interested to see how this baby works when I get Zelda finally!

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    • I was terrified that was going to happen to me. Never can tell with shipping but at least you’re guaranteed a Switch. Bomberman has been fun with friends but Zelda is where it’s at. You’ll love it soon enough

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  7. Hah! I also tasted the cartridge first and foremost! The aftertaste is exactly as you described. Personally, I couldn’t comprehend how bad a thing could taste, so I just had to try it. Yep, it’s pretty bad. Like licking the mudflaps off a truck that drove through a pig farm.

    I am taking a very short break as well, as I need to get back to exploring Hyrule, but had to check WordPress to see others’ initial reactions. I love how snappy this thing is! And can you say tiny? The dock + the Switch itself is just the smallest little thing. I can’t believe how much power this thing has, considering.

    The JoyCons feel great as does the whole controller setup, playing it in bed felt incredible and playing it on a 55″ flatscreen felt incredible as well, although I’m a portable gamer first and foremost and will probably play it mostly laying down in bed.

    The only issue I did have was trying to add my credit card to my account. It didn’t seem to be working properly and I got a pretty interesting looking screen when trying to verify. Not sure if they’re just little first-day woes. Aside from that though, MAN does this thing work great! Nintendo finally figured out user interfaces, gone are the days of the eShop taking 5 damn minutes to load!

    Anyway, I have a date with a set of JoyCons, which probably has more than one meaning depending on who you ask. Have fun Mr. Mage, talk to you in a few months! 🙂

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    • Yeah so doing a bit of snooping around, I found out the bitterness is from a non-toxic agent used in things like shampoo to discourage eating. Perfectly safe and now I know what I’m going to be doing at my wife’s baby shower today! lol

      It truly is impressive hardware. For how tiny it is, it’s remarkably fast. I’ll admit I was expecting Nintendo to really cut corners in the hardware department, but so far I haven’t had any issues beyond the de-syncing occasionally. This thing is lightning quick, even playing a huge game like Zelda. Haven’t tried my credit card yet.
      I will have fun, indeed! Thanks and you too, Geddy! Thanks for taking the time out to drop me such a thoughtful comment, as always!

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  8. Good post and… jelous xD. Enjoy it! Zelda seems to be an amazing game. And well, I would like to know about screen and video capture options of the Switch. The other question, is about Virtual Console, but that is a question for Nintendo…

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    • Don’t be jelly. Let’s jam! Zelda has so far been enchanting and I’d say it’s going to actually live up to the hype, unlike nearly everything else it seems.
      There’s a screencapture button on the left Joy-Con which is thankfully out of the way of being accidentally bumped. I was delighted it responded really quickly and there’s no kind of delay at all, unlike the PS4 capture. Vid capture I haven’t messed around with yet but I’ll try to later today.
      As for VC, I’d like to know about that too. Their eShop is much more streamlined than it has been in the past, though!

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    • It is breathtaking. Some frame rate drop in tv mode but not in handheld mode. The world is one of the most gorgeous I have ever seen. It’s so far self-referencing games of the past and it’s everything I’ve wanted in a Zelda game. Most importantly, and this is something I was concerned for, the Switch’s control schemes are intuitive and easy.

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  9. So glad the joy-cons feel good in man-hands! They were the one feature I was genuinely worried about literally not getting to grips with. This post has increased my Switch envy tenfold!

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    • That was one of my biggest concerns! And trust me, I’m a big dude. Polynesian here. But they really do fit well in the curve of the palm. The only awkward button placement is the release for the Joy-Cons to slide out of the rails, and I haven’t figured out a good way to get at them yet. Stoke that Switch envy and break down to get one yourself! Well maybe wait a bit till they get some of the launch bugs sorted out. Read about some poor fellow who got the blue screen of death this morn.

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      • Ugh, a blue screen this early would crush me! I think I’m going to give it a couple of months, will definitely be committing this year though – I’ve really missed having a fun console lately.

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        • Yeah that would be heartbreaking… and on top of that, I can’t imagine what dealing with Nintendo’s customer service must be like. So far I’ve had zero problems with my Switch minus a handful of de-syncing, which I fixed by not using my laptop’s wireless simultaneously.

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  10. Thanks for your first impressions! I’ve never actually bought a console on launch day. I really hope this sells well as the Vita is on its way out and I NEED portable gaming in my life, even if it is too big to be convenient. And mobile games don’t cut it. I need a dedicated gaming machine like 3DS/Vita/Switch. I was really shocked by the price tag but luckily people seem to be buying it happily, so that bodes well for the Switch having a longer life than Vita 🙂

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    • Happy to oblige! Something about the Switch just screamed launch day to me. Very unusual. Have you been able to get a hands on demo of one? They’re smaller than I suspected. Probably because the footage I’d seen was mostly tiny Japanese men holding the thing but with my huge polynesian hands it looks extra smallish. Seems like this is going to be the only dedicated handheld soon as 3DS and Vita near the end of their lifespans, right?

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      • It’s hard to tell. Nintendo said they would continue to support 3DS as always, but it’s hard not to assume they’re just trying to quell fears as they said the same thing about DSi and WiiU.

        It makes sense to me for them to focus on Switch and let 3DS wind itself down. It had a good run 🙂 I just don’t want Switch to be Nintendo’s last handheld. I already think Vita is Sony’s last handheld for sure.

        I haven’t had a hands on yet with Switch. Would love to give it a whirl 🙂

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        • I think given how innovative Nintendo is in terms of hardware, they’ll probably have some kind of extension or new handheld sometime down the road. I’m just glad that it seems like the Switch is popular enough now to not warrant it being their last console ever.

          Or we could just wait for Microsoft to release a handheld… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

          Anywho, I hope you get to at least handle the Switch because it was still shocking to hold it in my hands and feel the actual lightness and size, versus merely seeing vids of it. I hope it’s revolutionary in terms of the sheer smallness of the thing. I can actually fit it in the space that I have.

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