Remember the GameBoy? Or the PS Vita and PSP? Or, any other handheld gaming device you ever owned as a kid? Well, the modern version of those are leagues above in terms of what it can do as a gaming system. Ladies and gentlemen, we introduce to you the Nintendo Switch.
Since its release in 2017, the Nintendo Switch remains an amazing piece of portable gaming tech. You get a portable gaming device with the main capabilities of a full-size console. It’s made the Switch so popular that as of 2019, it has already sold almost 14 million units. Not bad for a new product. With that, Nintendo is loving the popularity of the Switch these days.
If you are planning to get the console or already have one, here’s all you need to know to make the most out of the Nintendo Switch, from the best Switch games to the controllers you can use with it.
What Is the Nintendo Switch?
The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid handheld gaming console from worldwide game giant Nintendo. After unveiling it in 2016, Nintendo released it a year later to raving reviews. Both the critics and fans love the Switch for its nifty features. It’s a true portable gaming system that can do what bigger consoles can, and more.
Since the advent of handheld gaming systems, improvements kept on coming. As a result, they now rival full-size consoles in performance. As such, the Nintendo Switch is the epitome of gaming’s three decades of advancements. It’s a great piece of gaming technology that every gamer must have their hands on when they can.
Nintendo Switch: A Hybrid System
Nintendo intended the Switch to be playable anywhere. And by that, they mean anywhere. The design focuses on handheld capabilities because, at its core, it is portable. The JoyCon controller panels on either side can detach so you can connect it to a smart TV. After taking out the controller panels, you can dock it to the TV using the included docking port. You can then attach the JoyCon controllers to a JoyCon grip to play.
And if you want to keep the Switch portable as intended, reattach the controllers, and voila! A capable handheld gaming console. Only reattach the JoyCon grips to either side and you’re good to go.
Nintendo Switch Lite: Handheld Gaming to the Max
And Nintendo didn’t stop there. The Switch is already quite portable, but there is something way easier to hold than that. That is the aptly named the Switch Lite. It’s a more compact version that doesn’t allow TV docking, meaning you can only play it on handheld mode.
Go for the Switch Lite if you’re almost always on the go and don’t want to stop gaming. Nintendo intends it for commuter and traveler use, hence the focus on portability. On a single charge, it can last from three to seven hours of continuous use. Not bad for something so lightweight and compact, eh? Again, it’s the design focused on handheld ease that makes a case for the Switch Lite.
Where to Get Nintendo Switch
The Switch is available worldwide, in both online and physical retailers. You can visit your local game store and find the console there, brand-spanking-new. But, if you buy from online retailers, you can get bundle deals unavailable anywhere else.
You can get the basic Switch package straight from the Nintendo website. Or you can opt for a game bundle where you get the console plus a free game. For instance, there’s an Animal Crossing: New Horizons bundle with a console.
- Photo from Gamespot
Amazon’s choices are no slouch, either. For starters, you can choose this Switch bundled with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. You might need to pay a small premium, but it’s worth the price of the bundle. And if you time it right, you can get a bundle for way less too.
- Photo from Forbes
People can get tired of anything easily. As such, you will find tons of preloved Switch consoles on the used items market. And you can get a full package complete with accessories and games too, for less money. But be careful when you scour your local Craigslist. Someone looking for a quick buck can scam you out of your money.
Best Nintendo Switch Games
Now, once you’ve got your hands on your own Nintendo Switch, the next thing you want to do is get games of course! As of late, the Switch catalog contains over 2,000 games. That’s a massive library to choose from, full of games of varying genres. You can find RPGs, first-person shooters, and even some of the world’s best AAA titles out there.
If you’re not sure which games to get for your new Switch, take a look at these. These are the games both fans and critics are raving about, and they might be right up your alley.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is not a multi-winner of Game of the Year for nothing. Some critics even consider it one of the best open world and sandbox games of all time. And on the Switch, it allows the handheld console to showcase its full capabilities. You get a massive world to explore that’s full of interesting side quests wherever you look. Quite simply, you can consider Breath of the Wild as a Nintendo work of art. And if you play it on the TV using your Switch? Magical.
Check out this masterpiece on Amazon today and experience one of the best games of all time.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Take an iconic gaming character, add racing and high-octane gameplay. You get the gem that is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Relive your days of smoking anyone on the track with Nintendo’s quintessential title. Getting this game will afford you hours of the best Mario Kart experience this side of… well, anywhere.
Check out Mario Kart 8 on Amazon and enjoy playing with your friends today!
Pokémon Sword and Shield Bundle
There’s a reason that the Pokémon franchise is among the biggest in the world today. Sword and Shield is a full open-world RPG with the best-looking graphics in the series so far. If you get this game, you will get the best Pokemon experience to date. We’re not kidding. Explore cities, battle trainers, and meet interesting characters during your journeys!
Check out the newest chapter in the Pokemon franchise today and catch ’em all!
Buying Games for Nintendo Switch
So how do you get Switch games? You buy them and download them to your device, of course. Gone are the days of needing to insert tiny discs into handheld consoles a la PSP.
Buying From the Nintendo eShop
- Photo by Jai Barnachia
Your home has a WiFi connection, yes? Then you should be able to connect to the Nintendo eShop provided you now have an account. Here’s how to buy a game from the shop and install it on your Switch.
- Go to Home and select the Nintendo eShop to launch it.
- Select the eShop account which you’d use to buy the game. Log in.
- Find the game by typing its title, genre, or any other identification. If the game has DLCs, they will show on game details. You can pick individual DLCs from there and add them to your cart.
- The download begins after the purchase is complete.
Buying From Amazon
Amazon also sells Switch games. You can choose whether to buy digital or physical copies, it’s up to you. Buy the game as you would any item on Amazon.
- Find the game you want.
- Most games will come in different platform options. Make sure to click on the Nintendo Switch option.
- Click on “add to cart” then proceed to checkout.
- Enter a payment method and pick your shipping option.
Physical Retailers and Holiday Deals
- Photo from Polygon
Physical stores still sell games so go to your nearest retailers whenever you can. You can also get great discount deals from these stores provided the timing is right. For instance, holiday deals like Black Friday promos can net you as much as three games or more for the price of one.
Online retailers don’t shy away from these deals either. More often than not, online deals offer bigger discounts on more games. Sometimes you can even get the best titles for free. Furthermore, there are also bundles wherein you can buy either a new Switch or game and get another one free. Always be on the lookout for these to save a good amount of money.
JoyCon Alternatives for Your Nintendo Switch
Your Switch’s JoyCon controllers are all you need for a great experience. Whether you’re on the go or on the couch, it doesn’t matter. They are easy enough to use and feature a standard game grip for when you want to connect it to your TV. But if you feel like the JoyCon controllers aren’t enough, then you can’t go wrong with an upgrade, more so if you play fast-paced, competitive games like Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart.
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
When it comes to battery life, this controller is a beast. Standard JoyCon controllers only last for three to seven hours along with your console. The Pro Controller, meanwhile, can last a whopping 40 hours. That’s how much game time you can get on a single charge. Get this and you’ll feel the ergonomic design that fits your grip like a glove, which is better in many ways.
PowerA Enhanced Wireless
Talk about pretty and functional. While you get six great colors to choose from, you also get great functionality. PowerA’s offering gives you the best bang for your buck since it features everything you need. It’s not an over-engineered product by a long shot and only cares about getting the job done.
Check out this product on Amazon and get a more traditional control setup for your Switch today!
Enjoying Your Nintendo Switch to the Fullest
With all the handy features on the console, it’s time to maximize your use of your new gaming buddy. Remember that the Switch is a hybrid system, and it can work handheld or with a TV. What follows is a guide on how you can play the Switch on your widescreen TV or on the go.
Connecting to the TV
There’s a reason why people love gaming consoles: you can sit down and relax on your couch. Here’s how you can play your Switch on your TV, couch potato style.
1. Take out the docking port and open the back panel. That’s the one with the Nintendo logo. Put your fingers into the slot to grab the door and yank it open. You’ll see the three ports including the HDMI port.
- Photo from Nintendo
2. Plug the USB cable into the AC adapter port. Then plug the other end into a power outlet to power your Switch.
3. Connect your docking port to the TV via the HDMI port.
4. Take out the JoyCon controllers on either side of the Switch and attach them to the JoyCon grip.
- Photo from Nintendo
- Photo from TweakTown
5. Power on your Switch first. Then, slide your console inside the dock.
6. Select the video source on your TV. In this case, it’s HDMI. Voila! You’re done.
Going out doesn’t mean you need to stop playing. Remember, the Switch is a portable gaming system! Here’s how to revert back to handheld mode.
- Disconnect the AC adapter and HDMI cables from your TV.
- Take out the JoyCon controllers from the grip, then slide them back to either side of the Nintendo Switch.
- Make sure that your Switch has enough battery to last you.
As a portable gaming system, the Switch has a respectable amount of battery life. If it didn’t have such, then it defeats its entire purpose. Again, you can expect between three to seven hours of battery life on one charge. But this depends on what games you play.
Demanding graphics and full-size console-worthy gameplay can drain your battery quicker. For instance, playing a major AAA title like The Witcher 3 would mean you’d charge more often than usual. Though you’re lucky because charging the Nintendo Switch and its JoyCon controllers is easy as 1, 2, 3.
To charge the Switch, only plug the AC adapter into the USB port on the console. It will take about three hours to charge if the device is in sleep mode or on an empty battery. If you’re charging while playing, it will take a little bit longer.
- Photo from Iphone No Sound
To charge the JoyCon controllers, keep them on the Switch while the console is charging. Or if you have a separate charging port for the controllers, attach them there instead.
What about overnight charging? The short answer is, it’s safe. Overcharging is no longer a problem with modern digital devices. So you don’t have to worry about your Switch breaking due to overcharge.
Reasons Why We Love the Nintendo Switch
If you’re still not convinced whether the Switch is worth getting, here are some reasons.
You can’t bring your Xbox, PlayStation, or gaming PC wherever you go. And the good thing is, the Switch can do what those systems can in a super portable package. Bring it with you and it can last you a good amount of hours on a single charge. Take 2.5 hours to as much as seven hours, depending on the graphical demands of what you’re playing.
But the portability of the Nintendo Switch doesn’t end there. It’s a hybrid console. You can play it handheld or plug it into your TV via a docking port. You can then play the Switch as you would any console. Play anywhere you like, whenever you like. Never was a gaming console this easy to use.
Expansive Game Library
- Photo by ant2506 via Pixabay
PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows PCs have a lot going for their game libraries. Case in point, exclusives. Developers sometimes ink exclusivity deals to make games available on one platform. The Switch makes a case in this sense. Owning one means you can play all of Nintendo’s best games, even their older ones.
Fancy a game of Mario Kart? Super Smash Bros? Or even the amazing open-world title Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? The Switch can play several of the best games out there, as well as the older ones you still love. And if you like playing the biggest AAA titles as well, don’t fret. The likes of Blizzard’s shoot-em-up Overwatch and even CD Projekt’s The Witcher 3 are now available on the Switch.
Local Co-op Play
Two is better than one. Hang out with your friends who also have their Switch, and play local co-op whenever you like! As long as you have at least two Switches and a WiFi connection, you’re good.
- photo from Nintendo
And there’s more to local co-op too! You don’t need to only have a Switch. If you have a PS4 or an Xbox One alongside the Switches, you can connect them all in a local network. Yes, you read that right: the Switch supports cross-platform play. Get your squad together and pawn some noobs without worrying about platform compatibility.
Who would’ve thought that handheld gaming systems would be like this? The Nintendo Switch is a masterpiece of engineering and with good reason. Get it used or brand new, it doesn’t matter. It’s a portable gameplay experience like nothing else in the world.