It has been a week or so since I got my Switch and I felt like I wanted to talk a bit about it this morning. Firstly I really like this console and apart from the relatively low hardware specs and currently small games library, I have to say I think they are on to something. There are a lot of reasons why I have bounced off handheld consoles, but primarily they never really fit the way that I wanted to be playing games. In those brief moments where I needed the ability to play a portable gaming system… they have always been great. The problem being that does not match up with my default mode of play. Generally speaking, if I am somewhere I can be playing games… I am at home with my laptop, desktop and a slew of traditional consoles. Playing games on a larger screen just feels better than playing on the tiny screen in your hands that you ultimately hunch your shoulders and crane down your neck to be able to play comfortably. I have commented for some time that I wish I could play various mobile games on the television with an external controller hooked up to them. Now functionally you can do this with the Vita via the PSTV box… which is essentially a Vita for your television. However this is not exactly a great solution since you are not actually playing on the same system you are using portable… and unless your game supports cloud sync there really is no keeping progress between the vastly different platforms.
Nintendo is known for creating gimmick based systems and there are so many times that I wished they would abandon this and just create a true console generation killer. However they seem to be hung up on different ways of interacting with their games, but for me at least… I always wish I was simply using a traditional controller playing a traditional game. There are a whole slew of games that are functionally dead to me… because I hate the Wiimote and Nunchuck control scheme of the Wii. The Switch is still a gimmick console, but this time the gimmick actually works in its favor by letting the console be whatever I happen to need it to be at the very moment. Right now I am playing a significant amount of the time with the Switch docked into my console gaming set up in my office. This lets me kick back and play with either the pro controller or the detached joycons and get into a comfortable long haul position for gaming. However there are times when I would rather go lay down in the bedroom, because I am starting to wind down and really should probably be asleep already. The Switch allows me to undock and take it downstairs… and the fact that it is chargeable by USB type C lets me also charge it down there without the expensive of a second dock. If I would rather be downstairs because there is something on Television that I want to at least be in the same room with… I can either play it in handheld mode or prop the console up on my lap and play with detached joycons or even the pro controller once again.
Functionally the Switch is at least in part what I had hoped the Wii U would be. Before owning one, I envisioned being able to play games on a big screen and when I wanted to head to bed grab the gamepad and use that instead. The big problem there is that the short range of the gamepad made it impossible to really do this. For awhile I had a compromise of having the Wii U hooked up in the bedroom, but when I wanted to play the thing in “console” mode that left me from a really comfortable way to play. Sitting up with one leg hanging off the bed and zero back support does not exactly make for a comfortable gaming experience for long periods of time. Nor did any combination of propping pillows up against the backboard and instead I found myself either laying down completely and playing with the gamepad or playing in short bursts with constant switching of positions trying to get comfortable. What was sad about this is the fact that I really wanted to keep enjoying Nintendo games… but the systems they were providing me to play them on really never matched up with the way I wanted to play anymore. The Switch while it has its quirks really does being Nintendo gaming back into an era where I care about it again on anything other than a theoretical and cursory level. The only problem is… right now my Switch is a Zelda Breath of the Wild machine… and occasionally a Shovel Knight machine, and there just are not a lot of the games that I wish I could be playing on it.
What I am hoping is that we start seeing a bunch of titles ported to it, and I am hoping that Nintendo can somehow cross the Blue versus Green barrier and pull some titles from both camps. I personally would love to see Persona 4 Golden released on the Switch given how hard I bounced off that on the Vita. I think in theory I might be able to hook up the PSTV upstairs in my console configuration and be able to enjoy the experience, because the truth is I just never liked using my Vita enough to be playing it for extended periods of time. I largely bought it as a remote screen for playing Destiny in bed, which is sad to say but true. Thankfully I got it for less than $100 from one of my Craigslist deals, so I don’t necessarily feel super bad about that either. The other thing that I am absolutely dying for is the Virtual Console… sure I imagine Nintendo is going to make us repurchase things, but in truth I don’t much care. The Switch really is the ideal system for playing classic games on because of its extreme convertibility. I also really want to see the Pokemon titles get ported to the platform, given that more or less I have bounced pretty hard off of each of those at some point… because I simply didn’t want to play a handheld for long periods of time. I also really want Castlevania Symphony of the Night on the platform… which is something admittedly that probably won’t happen but I sorta buy it on every platform it comes out on. More than that though the Virtual Console is going to hopefully bring a whole slew of other Castlevania games to the platform which might be good enough for me. Basically I see so much promise for this system… and now it is just a waiting game for companies to figure out how to port games to it… and hoping that Nintendo largely doesn’t get in the way of its success and fuck this up.