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The State of the Switch: Two Years In

On the Switch’s second anniversary, we asked the Nintendeal team for their thoughts on the state of the Switch.

Now that the Switch has been out for two years, what have you come to love about this console?

Sarah: I love that you can play most games with Joy-Con, which means that you can play in whatever position is comfortable for your hands, arms, and shoulders. I’m somewhat of a marathon gamer, so being comfortable while gaming is really important to me.

Brian: I love the vast representation from fantastic indie devs and the great exclusives Nintendo has developed. And the fact that Nintendo can focus their efforts onto a single platform—rather than dividing their attention between portable and non-portable consoles—has absolutely been key to the platform’s success.

Nick: Having a hybrid console is a dream come true. I love being able to shift seamlessly between handheld and docked. And as a Nintendo-only guy, I love that the Switch offers access to so many wonderful indie titles. I never used to give indies a fair chance, so I was stuck playing the same AAA titles over and over again. But thanks to the wide availability of indies on Switch, I’ve discovered that some of my all-time favorite titles are indie games.

Caleb: I’m ecstatic about the console’s success. It’s great for the company and great for the fans. We might have been skeptical at launch, but it turns out that Nintendo knew exactly what fans, old and new alike, wanted in a new console, and Nintendo truly delivered.

Chris: I’m really happy with the quality of some of the Switch’s biggest titles such as BotW, Odyssey, and Smash Ultimate among others. I’m also very happy with the amount of third party and indie dev support the Switch is getting, which is leagues beyond what the Wii U got.

Brandon: There is a ton to love about the Nintendo Switch and it really has been an incredible two years for Nintendo. Nintendo’s success in creating a solid mobile/home console is extraordinary. The fact that I can play games designed for a home console anywhere will never get old. And the Switch has generated a tremendous and consistent amount of excitement, hype, and love since launch. Time and time again, developers of high-quality games want their games on Switch. This is a breath of fresh air for Nintendo, since the company has at times relied too heavily on first-party titles to carry its consoles through the muck.

What are some aspects that you look back on and are upset or frustrated with?

Sarah: I’m disappointed that there’s no internet browser. I’m one of those weirdos without a smartphone, so if I’m gaming and I want to look something up online real quick (like a guide, for instance), I have to go to my laptop or computer. On the WiiU and 3DS, I can easily access the internet, but not so on the Switch.

Brian: With the Switch being as good as it is, I’m frustrated to see great games released on 3DS rather than Switch. 3DS was good, but Switch blows it out of the water. Nintendo has been doing more to bring some of these titles to Switch, and even though the 3DS has a larger install base, that doesn’t make this any less painful to watch.

Nick: I wish we could have a way to organize games, like the folders on the 3DS. Currently, if you have a ton of games, there’s no effective way to organize them. But I’m more concerned about the Switch’s long-term durability. I feel like past Nintendo consoles—from the NES to the Wii U—are strong, durable, and long-lasting. I can still play my NES and all my other past consoles to this day. But I’m worried my Switch may not stand the test of time. My first pair of Joy-Con wore out after about a year, so I’m on my set, and I have a new pair on-deck just in case. True, I play a lot of Enter the Gungeon and Smash Bros. Ultimate, which both demand rapid and intense inputs, so maybe my Joy-Con troubles are just a personal problem.

Caleb: Why themes haven’t been implemented yet is beyond me. I’d also like to see an achievement system implemented. Sure, Microsoft and Sony have their methods, but Nintendo could roll out something more unique and fun, rather than a system that’s competitive at heart. Also, while I enjoy the NES games, I feel like Nintendo Switch Online is just another money drain. While it was probably inevitable, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.

Chris: Minimal QoL updates have been frustrating people since launch and at this point I’m doubting if we will ever get basic features such as messaging friends or decent party/grouping options. I’m also pretty disappointed in online play itself, particularly in Smash. While I would love to play online with my friends, most of the time it ends up being too laggy to really enjoy it.

Brandon: While my experience with the Switch has been overwhelming positive, there are a few things that stick out in my mind as being dark spots. I remember feeling incredibly underwhelmed with the launch titles. I picked up Breath of the Wild and Super Bomberman R on launch day and remember not feeling really good about the other games on offer at the time. Looking back now, however, BotW (still my favorite game of all time) kept me busy for so much of this downtime that it didn’t really matter.

I’m also bummed by the lack of initial storage space on Switch. With the large number of indie games available on the eShop, I would really have like more storage space to keep all the games I play on my console. Also, I’m not sure why Nintendo hasn’t embraced the portable mindset when it comes to customizable skins and themes. Maybe that’s on the way, but I would love to be able to purchase and download themes from my favorite games, just like I can on the 3DS.

What about the Switch has surprised you the most in the two years since its release?

Sarah: I’m really surprised that I’ve discovered so many great indie games. Stardew Valley and Don’t Starve have become some of my all-time favorites, and I’m not sure that I would have ever picked them up if it weren’t for the Switch and my role at Nintendeal.

Brian: The biggest surprise to me was how accurate the advertising was. We all essentially became “Karen.” I legitimately have pulled out my Switch at fast-food joints and played Mario Kart with friends and family while waiting for our orders. It’s incredible.

Nick: Really impressed with how well some demanding titles like Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, DOOM, etc., run so well and look fantastic in both docked and handheld modes.

Caleb: I’m surprised at how much it has sold, and that the number-one game right now is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. And Nintendo LABO is still a weird thing to me. I know that games are starting to move towards VR, but LABO was a surprise nonetheless.

Chris: I’ve really been surprised by the amount of top tier game announcements and releases. After suffering through the Wii U era, I was afraid we’d have to deal with a trickle of quality first party and Switch exclusive titles but I’ve been very happy with how Nintendo has done. Within the first eight months we got major releases from two of Nintendo’s biggest franchises in BotW and Odyssey. We’ve also gotten Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Smash Ultimate, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Pokemon: Let’s Go to name a few, along with Luigi’s Mansion 3, Pokemon Sword/Shield, Animal Crossing, Bayonetta 3, Astral Chain, Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and the Link’s Awakening remaster all coming fairly soon.

Brandon: The thing that has surprised me the most is the amount of games from outside developers that are being brought to this console. I think the Switch is exactly what both Nintendo and the gaming industry needed to keep from going stagnant in the near future. I’m also surprised by how well my console has held up over time. Not that I’m rough on it by any stretch, but the fact that I bring it with my everywhere I go and I haven’t had a single issue with it is a testament to the quality of product that Nintendo strives for.

Do you see competitor companies (Sony, Microsoft, etc.) moving in a similar direction to Nintendo in regards to the console/mobile hybrid system?

Sarah: I only play on PC and Switch, so I don’t have an opinion.

Brian: Eventually, yes, but not in the short term. It’s always been incredibly difficult to compete with Nintendo in the handheld space. It’s not smart to abandon the handheld market, because then Nintendo will continue to dominate unchallenged. At this point, however, I’m not sure anyone can do anything to stop them.

Nick: I’m not familiar with Sony/Microsoft stuff to give an informed response. I’m a Nintendo guy!

Caleb: While they might consider it, I don’t think they should or will. Nintendo has entrenched itself in this system, which is the future for them. Sony and Microsoft, meanwhile, are content to create these massive, more impressive spectacles of software that the Switch will never hit. Both have their place, and Nintendo can still tell an engrossing story. Either way, Nintendo still owns this particular market.

Chris: I would rather see Microsoft move more toward publishing as many xbox games as possible on PC. I think that would likely be a better move for them right now than trying to push into the handheld territory but who knows.

I hope Sony tries to in one way or another, although I’m not sure how they feel about the handheld market after the Vita.

Brandon: Yes I do. I just hope that they aren’t blatant ripoffs, but rather innovative in each company’s own way. Of the two pillar companies (Sony and Microsoft), I think Sony is the most likely to try first. Microsoft may dodge the wave altogether and just stay in the home console mindset.

What are your favorite games or gaming moments, and why do these games/moments stick out as favorites?

Sarah: My favorite games are Breath of the Wild, Stardew Valley, and Don’t Starve, but my favorite moments come from BotW. Those early days of running in terror from Guardians and their accompanying piano music are unforgettable. But the most memorable moment was when I first jumped from the Great Plateau with the paraglider. That’s when I really began the adventure of a lifetime. BotW is so immersive, beautiful, and well-designed that I feel like I visited Hyrule and did all the things that Link did, and that’s a real privilege in my book.

Brian: Dragon Ball FighterZ reinvigorated my love for fighting games by pairing my favorite fighting game developer, Arc System Works, with one of my favorite properties, Dragon Ball Z. Recreating iconic battles in stunning HD, which captures the feel and look of one of the most iconic shonen anime in history, is as surreal as it is fun, and it’s the reason I’ve played Dragon Ball FighterZ every day since it came to Switch.

Breath of the Wild, while potentially overrated in my opinion, was still a revelation for me. With an expansive world full of small moments, it became one of my favorite Zelda games, while simultaneously eschewing elements present in virtually all traditional “Zelda” games.

Hollow Knight was also an absolutely essential experience. It channeled the somber tone of Dark Souls and paired it with a tiny, incredibly well-realized world. There is so much to love about it, and the Switch is the perfect place to play it.

There are so many other stand-outs: Golf Story, This Is The Police, Blossom Tales, SteamWorld Dig 1&2, Subsurface Circular, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, West Of Loathing, Celeste, Minit, Guacamelee! 2, Pokemon Let’s Go, Disgaea 5 Complete, The Banner Saga Trilogy, Towerfall, Into The Breach, Wargroove, The Messenger, Downwell, Windjammers, and so many more.

Nick: Discovering indie masterpieces has been incredible and truly life-changing. I have discovered some of my favorite games of all time, including Celeste, Enter the Gungeon, and Super Meat Boy—all indie Switch ports. So many gaming moments stick out to me, but to name a few: Launching BOTW on launch day and being so excited to finally see what the Switch can do, and watching my partner Sarah fall in love with indies like Stardew Valley and Don’t Starve.

Chris: Even though it’s been two years since it released, Breath of the Wild is still the game that sticks out to me the most. I don’t think it’s a perfect game and I have my share of issues with it, but exploring that world for the first time was totally engrossing and I just couldn’t put it down once I started playing. I really wish I could experience playing it for the first time again.

Brandon: Firing up BotW for the first time was incredible. That game is just so marvelous in every way. The sense of wonder I felt during my entire experience with that game continually reminded me why I play video games.

I’m very relieved that the majority of the games I’ve played on the Nintendo Switch have all been good. Without listing my entire Switch library, I’ve been especially impressed with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Octopath Traveler, Smash Ultimate, This is the Police, Cave Story+, Earthlock, Limbo, Inside, The Final Station, Golf Story, Mana Spark, Knights of Pen and Paper, and so many more.

Prior to the Switch, I didn’t really play a ton of indie games. One of the greatest things about working with Nintendeal is that we’re privileged to play a lot of these awesome games and foster relationships with the development teams. That’s been a personal high point for me, getting to write and review so many great games, many of which come from small studios filled with people dedicated to bringing the best game possible to us.

What do you want to see happen to the Switch moving forward? (Games you want released, hardware updates, etc.)

Sarah: I want Animal Crossing. End of story. I’ve waited seven years for a new full-blown title. Please stop being mean and give me a release date, Nintendo. I need it. If you don’t give me more info on AC Switch at E3, we might need to break up.

Brian: I’d love to see a stronger Switch that makes fewer concessions where frame rate and resolution are concerned, especially as games continue to be more technically demanding.

Nick: I really want a solid d-pad on the Pro Controller. It seems the general consensus is that the Pro’s d-pad isn’t very precise and needs a fix. I’d also like to see Joy-Con that are upgraded and more durable. And I have a huge list of indie gems I’d like to see released on Switch, including Cuphead, Spelunky, and 1001 Spikes. I’m looking forward to playing Super Meat Boy Forever this April, and I’m super excited to lose myself in Mario Maker 2 this summer! Of course, I can’t forget Animal Crossing; I’m really excited to see what direction Nintendo takes with the next installment.

Caleb: I’d like a more ergonomic layout, or revamped hardware altogether. The design is solid, but for someone that would like a better overall feel when on-the-go, a smaller screen with the same, or better, resolution would be splendid. Also, I’d prefer 60fps when possible on games, as fluid action is important to me. And if there were a way to customize each console more, I’d be all for it.

Chris: I would love to see a more powerful version of the Switch come along eventually. While it’s a huge step up from the 3DS I would still love to see games look better in handheld mode and even docked as well. I’m really happy with the quality and quantity of games releasing on the Switch so far and I hope it keeps up. My greatest wish right now is that Fire Emblem: Three Houses turns out great.

Brandon: I think there will be some time of hardware update in the very near future. Whether that’s branded as a ‘new’ Nintendo Switch or not, only time will tell. My hope is the revamped system comes with more internal storage, higher processing power, a longer-lasting battery, and even a higher resolution screen. I don’t have a problem with the Switch’s screen size though, so I don’t necessarily want it to get bigger; I just want a higher resolution.

My biggest desire is for something like a Joy-Con XL. As a gamer with bigger hands, the hardest part about playing the Switch for extended periods of time on the go are the Joy-Con.

As far as everything else is concerned, I’m looking forward to some of the upcoming titles for 2019. I’m especially excited about Yoshi’s Crafted World, Pokemon Sword & Shield, Link’s Awakening, Super Meat Boy Forever, and Luigi’s Mansion 3. I’m also riding the hype train regarding the communication between Nintendo and Microsoft and am hoping they bring Cuphead and even Rare Replay to the Switch. We’re also missing the ever important Mother 3… even I can dream, can’t I?

Any other comments about the Switch?

Sarah: At least I had Stardew Valley and Don’t Starve to tide me over while the Switch just toyed with my emotions regarding Animal Crossing…but I’m sure it’s coming soon. (It better be.)

Brian: Bring it to Switch. Just do it.

Nick: Absolutely love the Switch and the future looks brighter than even for Nintendo!

Caleb: This may shock some people, but I ultimately sold my Switch a while back. I fully intend to grab another (hopefully a Special Edition one with the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield release), but the fact is that the Switch, to me, is best with friends or online buddies. Since I don’t have the time anymore to play games on-demand, my gaming time is precious and software is carefully chosen. The Switch allowed me to experience some games, but simply went unused on my gaming shelf. Thus, I sent it to a better home. But I’m so happy that Nintendo has nailed this console release, and I look forward to picking up another system down the road!

Chris: All these great games coming and still no F-Zero… 🙁

Brandon: Two years in. The State of the Switch is strong.

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