The Nintendo Switch “Halfway” Report Card

*Ahem* It’s nice to have Nintendo back.

Yes, they’ve been “back” now for a good couple years, and it’s getting easier by the day to forget the wildly uncertain videogame landscape in which the Nintendo Switch made its debut on March 3rd, 2017. And yet, it somehow also feels like only yesterday that this thing hit the market – at least to me. If you find yourself in the same boat, I hope you’re ready for the rest of the Switch’s life to blink past in a heartbeat. After all, time flies when you have far too many games to play.

I feel if I don’t somehow mark this point in time right now, at the exact halfway mark* in Nintendo’s traditional five-year console life cycle, I won’t be able to truly appreciate the Switch before Nintendo messes up a new console again. And thus, if you’re so inclined, please join me on yet another (very) deep dive into a minor electronic miracle.
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*Oh, did I say halfway mark? Well, I was going to post this on September 3rd to be all neat and tidy, but then Nintendo had to announce two new versions of the Switch for imminent release, then a 40 minute Nintendo Direct presentation packed to the gills with new game announcements, meaning this post was about to be all kinds of outdated in record time. But more on all that shortly. Please read on…

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– Halfway There, Not Quite Living on a Prayer –

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OK first things first, shelve the freak-out for a second. I don’t actually believe that the Switch will only last five years. The traditional home console life cycle seems to be getting longer and longer, and while Nintendo’s last few home consoles have only averaged between four and five years of active support, their last two handheld platforms have rolled on for seven each. So it seems quite likely to me that the Switch will get at least six. But I needed an excuse to spill out another couple thousand opinionated words and this will do fine for me.

The Switch is officially a hit and the games are rolling in from all three modern sources – first party Nintendo goodness (from the brand new to the sequel to the ever-present Wii U port), proper third party releases (The Witcher 3 and Overwatch both somehow running on the Switch, out on the same day?!) and indie gems from all levels of hype and prestige. There are online games (with varying degrees of stability), hefty single-player timesinks and genuine local multiplayer games! Imagine that!

If you’re a casual Switch owner, the system’s library is now at the point that if you feel like playing something new it’s as simple as a quick Google and you’re inundated with quality options within dozens of well-stocked genres, from free-to-play to full-priced and everything in between. If you’re the type to keep yourself immersed in the gaming sphere, well, suffice to say the ten games/demos I added to my Switch library in the space of two weeks just before sitting down to write this represented me holding back. Uhh, I’ll definitely have time to play all of them…

At launch the Switch got busy using its unique flexibility and strong salvo of exclusives to make a case for itself as a strong secondary gaming platform – particularly to PC players. Now, at this point in 2019, it’s arguably a decent option as someone’s only gaming platform. And it’s made by Nintendo. This truly is a strange world we live in. But let’s dive in a bit more.

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– The Nintendo Gimmick Report –

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Naturally, no modern Nintendo console is complete without a few unique quirks that set it apart from the competition. Nintendo does not seem capable of doing anything by the accepted industry standard when it comes to hardware, and while the Nintendo Switch’s most prominent gimmick is its most crucially successful – the very idea of transforming between a portable and home console quickly – there’s a lot more to the little guy. As someone who regularly finds himself attracted to oddball videogame hardware features, often despite the clearer heads of those around me, I think it’s worth making a pit stop to check in on the weird things the Switch can do – and whether anyone making games has actually paid attention.

There’s not much to be said about tabletop mode, the oft-forgotten third major way to play games on the Nintendo Switch. Propping the console up in a cafe with its flimsy kickstand a third-party case or stand was low-key my favourite way to play Breath of the Wild at launch, and it works excellently for games like Snipperclips, the major sports games, Super Mario Party and quite a few multiplayer-focused indies – as long as you pack your wrist straps to fix those fiddly rail-bound joy-con shoulder buttons. But because it functions pretty much exactly like TV mode in every way but display resolution, developers don’t really need to account for it when making games, so it doesn’t really count as a gimmick in the same way the NFC chip, the IR camera, or HD rumble do.

The NFC functionality on the Switch looked like it might have more potential than its Wii U and 3DS counterparts back when the console launched, as it was unlocked for Activision to use with its Skylander figures. But that was the last glimmer of alternative usage for the thing, so we’re pretty much just talking about Amiibos here. Luckily Nintendo seems to have found a sweet spot for their Amiibo strategy in the Switch era, as they’re now higher quality, more reasonably stocked and packing less inflammatory usage bonuses overall. So far, anyway.

The IR Camera on the right joy-con controller has been used exclusively in minigame collections like 1,2 Switch and Nintendo’s acid trip of barely believable LABO kits, where its surprising capabilities are put on full show. The latter initiative really is something, especially if you or your kids have the right blend of curiosity and creativity to enjoy the building process and the shockingly in-depth user creation tools. The issue is finding the place to put all the stuff you’ve built afterwards. At least Nintendo’s equally left-field upcoming Ring Fit Adventure pack seems easier to store.

I can’t help but feel like the IR has been the most misused Switch gimmick thus far, as the likes of World of Goo and The World Ends With You Final Remix have shown that merely including a gyroscope is not enough to simulate properly accurate pointer controls. Wii ports and remakes are therefore more hobbled than we thought they might be when the Switch’s extensive feature list was first revealed. Weird as it sounds, an external transmitter and an upside-down right joy-con could fix this, but near enough seems to be good enough for all concerned so far so I’m not holding my breath. It likely wouldn’t be worth the cost or lost button functionality, and I won’t be losing sleep over it.

HD rumble – which is still a silly name – is surely the meatiest and most interesting secondary Switch gimmick thus far, if only because it’s the one easiest to embrace by game developers. Though it doesn’t always call attention to itself when you’re immersed in a game – arguably a good thing – the multitude of variable-source, variable-frequency phone-size motors that make up HD rumble can and have pulled some pretty cool tricks since launch. You just have to play the right games.

The meat-cooking minigame in Super Mario Party is just about all you need to experience to get a feel for what such textured feedback can achieve – sub in the ball-bearing game from 1, 2 Switch or the bonus level finale from Kirby Star Allies if you want – but examples as detailed as this are difficult to attempt in more traditional games without being distracting and/or too time-consuming to develop. Plenty of developers seem to skip it or simply use it much like rumble on other platforms, but when effort is put in you can get Okami HD’s Switch port, for example, which defaults to a style of rumble that’s constantly on, giving slightly different feedback for each step taken on different surfaces. That’s some wonderful attention to detail, but in practice I find it positively hand-numbing and a tad loud in handheld mode. I had to turn it off after a half-hour. Rumble intensity sliders like the one in Celeste are an absolute gift as a result, and there’s always the pro controller, which offers subtler HD rumble by design.

Some games where I’ve noticed HD rumble adding to the experience:

  • Thumper really hammers home the aggressive turns on each rail using rumble that’s shorter and sharper than on any other console, matching the weight of the percussion in the soundtrack.
  • Naturally, Super Mario Odyssey uses gradually-intensifying feedback to help the player locate hidden moons, and the unique texture of splashing water feels particularly noticeable whenever Mario encounters it.
  • Despite making its first home as a cult classic on the PS Vita – which lacks rumble – I can’t imagine playing VA-11 Hall-A without the simple dual-level cocktail shaker feedback letting me know when to pour a glass.

  • HD rumble is just all over Mario Tennis Aces, but I’m particularly fond of the extremely mild bump you feel in your hands when moving between options on the menus or dialogue in story segments. Sometimes it’s the little things.
  • The eponymous heroine of Shantae: Half Genie Hero does her transformation dance an awful lot throughout the game, but it never gets old feeling the rumble bounce between your left and right hands as it happens.
  • A surprising one for me – Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 gets chaotic and loud, and it’s disgustingly easy to miss your visual cue to perform a powerful (and often necessary) follow-up attack in the colour-saturated heat of the co-op battlefield. But once you realise the rumble sensation for this very cue is actually quite different from the standard “You got hit/Oh look an explosion” feeling, HD rumble becomes an honest gameplay-enhancing feature.
  • I literally just started playing Golf Story the day I post this because it kept coming up on forums while I was doing research. It is, without a doubt, one of the very best advertisements for HD rumble I’ve yet seen. Far from overbearing, it punctuates key lines of dialogue in much the same way as a comic book would embolden its text, falls off with each repeated bounce of the golf ball in a believable way and even makes certain audible tones to simulate cartoony splashes in water and anime-style emotional downturns. It’s a treat.

I also hear that Hollow Knight and Tumbleseed offer stellar implementations of HD rumble, and the flooded nature of the Switch eShop means there’s probably plenty of developers who put some HD effort into the feature, but haven’t seen the spotlight they perhaps deserve. Honestly I’m quite chuffed with the liberal sprinkling of success this gimmick has seen over the last two and a half years, which is good because I’m about to feel a whole lot less of it. Why, you may ask? Well…

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– The Mild and the Turquoise –

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Gimmicks are cool and all, but what happens to a console like the Nintendo Switch when you strip it of all those gimmicks and leave the core to walk on alone? Well you get the Switch Lite, of course.

Oh, and also an “upgraded” base model Nintendo Switch shipping in a funky red box that uses the Lite’s processor to improve the original’s battery life and essentially nothing else. Did I still upgrade? You bet. Did I ever actually have a problem with the battery life of the original? Nope. Is it still nice to know I can play Dragon Quest Builders 2 for more than a day’s worth of public transport now? Yep. Let’s move on to a Switch Lite review, shall we?

For better or worse, the Switch Lite is a true, honest-to-goodness Nintendo handheld console, right here in 2019. For a minute there I thought we wouldn’t get to see such a glorious sight again. I mean, why would we? Between mobile gaming’s money-soaked market dominance and the ongoing power creep of the PC and home console market, where is the room for a dedicated handheld gaming device when even Nintendo themselves is hedging their bets with a console that can switch between two distinct form factors? Two years ago when I posted my six-month Switch check-in, I wrote the following:

“On paper, the Switch does many things in less-than-ideal ways. In practice, the mere fact that it does them all, and changes between them all so seamlessly with very little compromise, is precisely where its success lies.”

I stand by this not-terribly-original statement. The sheer versatility of the Switch does a fantastic job of getting around the fact that it cannot push performance numbers nearly as well as its nearest home console competitors when connected to a TV, as well as the opposite point that the Switch is unusually bulky (and ever-so-slightly creaky) for a handheld console. If you’re like me, the more you shuffle the Switch’s various forms – finding different uses for different configurations whether playing alone or with friends -the less you care that it doesn’t naturally excel at any of them. The Switch Lite throws a laser-targeted pastel spanner in the works.

The kinds of people who paid any sustained attention to the ill-fated Playstation Vita have no doubt already noticed how much of a de facto successor the Nintendo Switch already is. The three pillars of Vita gaming – JRPGs, visual novels and uncompromised portable indies – haven’t merely migrated to the Switch. They’ve formed their own residential communities and are looking to expand their investment portfolios. Open the eShop tab on your Switch and you’re never more than a single scroll away from a game that four years ago would’ve moved insufferable Vita fanboys like me to wave that delicious OLED screen in your face and beg you to buy an overpriced Sony portable for the privilege of playing it on the go. Alas, the Vita is dead.

Long live the Vita 2.

The Switch Lite sure looks smaller than the original Switch in pictures, but it’s not until you see its packaging and then hold one in your hands that it really hits you just how similar to the PS Vita it truly is. Sure, its need to at least resemble a standard Switch means it packs a considerable 25mm extra width over the revised PS Vita Slim model, but at only 5mm taller and 1mm thinner, the similarities in the hand are startling. This thing still won’t fit into most pockets, but it’s now small enough for the secondary pocket of my backpack, which is nice. The packaging is utterly miniscule, the contents bare-bones, the unit itself one confident slab of sturdy textured plastic.

There’s a proper D-pad, a set of ‘squishy’ DS Lite/original GBA-style face buttons, a screen that sits right in between the sizes of the Vita and the original Switch (still at 720p HD spec) and a slightly boosted battery life that almost would have been passable in an age before portable power banks. The weight is the real coup de grâce, however, which is a shame because it happens to be the hardest factor to describe in words. Holding the Lite for half an hour’s worth of setup and save data transfer (incidentally quite a straightforward process) was enough to make my other Switch feel like a workout tool when I picked it up again. The trade-off for all this, of course, is that the Lite lacks any kind of rumble and cannot output a video signal to a TV at all.

I’m going to take a momentary detour into some needlessly detailed, truly nerdy observations about my time with the Lite, but in the interests of getting back to my overall Switch focus I’ve hidden them in a collapsible tag, so you can choose to skip over them and read on if you’re only interested in the big picture.

Click for the (even more) nerdy stuff…

I’ve been consuming every write-up and preview video related to Switch Lite impressions since the console was announced in July, so once I got my own greedy hands on it I was ready for the new-old squishy face button feeling, the seemingly re-purposed existing joy-con control sticks (yikes) and the solid build quality under an extra-matte plastic finish. But I was not ready for quite a few other little details.

For starters, I was briefly sent down an emotional rollercoaster when I discovered that the speakers are indeed located on the bottom edge of the unit, which is by far my least favourite thing about the New 2DS XL. Unlike the latter system, though, the speakers are not so close to the corners that your hands naturally cover and muffle them, so that’s a big relief.

The ZL and ZR buttons – the triggers, if you will – feel noticeably different when compared to those on the joy con controllers. It’s surprisingly difficult to explain the nuance of the change, though. The buttons look the same, but they move differently. Without feeling squishy themselves, they possess more give after the audible click than before, lending a springier feel to the press that I find I prefer overall. The triggers on the pro controller probably provide the closest comparison here, but it’s not quite the same sensation.

It’s been a while since I’ve used a Nintendo-made D-pad as small as the one on the Switch Lite, and at first I found it a bit uncomfortable to use. It’s nowhere near as tiny as the pad on the Gamecube controller, but something still felt restrictive about it at first, which was disappointing. Before long, however, it became apparent that I had just conditioned my hand position over the last couple of years to hold a taller, heavier system, and after a couple of minutes of playing with my index fingers pulled further down the edges – supporting the unit with my middle and ring fingers rather than my palm like I do with the other Switch – it felt much better. The reduced weight makes this adjustment easy in practice, if not obvious in theory. Following this teething issue it became obvious that the Lite’s D-pad is far more accurate than the one on the Switch pro controller, with a proper swivel motion and lovely tactile response.

The screen I got on my Lite has a cooler colour temperature than my other Switch, which I’m less into, but from what I’ve read this is a case of luck of the draw. Plenty of people prefer cooler screens anyway, because whites look whiter even if skin tones can appear slightly washed out. Regardless, the increased pixel density of the smaller Switch Lite screen is a real selling point of the system for me, as it simultaneously hammers home the upgraded Vita feeling and gives every existing Switch game a de facto new look.

Sharper images are generally a good thing all around, especially on games that run at a sub-native resolution on the Switch in handheld mode. Aliasing and low-quality textures are hidden better, although it must be said that games packing text poorly optimised for handheld mode are even harder to get along with on the Lite. Sadly, Fire Emblem: Three Houses puts up its hand here, ultimately making it a poorer fit for the Lite than the portable pedigree of its forefathers would suggest. Other games, like, I don’t know, Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Cadence of Hyrule – to name the first two examples I tried – seem custom-fit for a light, portable, D-pad-equipped console like this.

If I’m taking one conclusion from the presence of the Lite in my life, it’s that I’ll probably only take my OG Switch out of the house for special occasions from now on – like if I’m heading to a multiplayer hangout with dock in tow, feel like flexing a new joy-con colour combo, or if I’m playing Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Seriously, that thing is the most effective Switch battery assassin I’ve come across so far). My primary Switch isn’t going anywhere – there are still too many games that I prefer to play docked for their splitscreen/wired online/graphical advantages. But this little turquoise number will be coming with me on the train most days.

It cannot be a coincidence that this new Nintendo portable launched the same day as a remake of a portable Zelda game (Link’s Awakening), a headlining indie title (Untitled Goose Game), a cherished JRPG port (Ni No Kuni) and the new release from arguably the most Vita-ass Vita developer, Spike Chunsoft (AI: The Somnium Files). The Switch Lite is targeting discerning players with a strong affection for portable gaming right now, whether or not they already own a Switch.

Online play still works about the same, by the way.

As for later in the year, Nintendo will look to use the Lite as a way to get families to upgrade from the eight-year-old 3DS line and get multiple Switch consoles into one household in time for the banner launch of Pokemon Sword & Shield this holiday season. That will lead in nicely to next year’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which, like Pokemon, comes from a handheld-first franchise that will require multiple devices for meaningful multiplayer interaction to take place.

There’s also something to be said for the Lite’s price, which at $140 AUD cheaper than the red-box Switch will look very attractive indeed to the types of people who bought a 2DS on October 12th, 2013 just because it was the cheapest possible way to play the new Pokemon game. Finally, one of the oldest tricks in the book is very much at play here – With a clear advantage in its suite of available features, the standard Switch looks like more of a premium product than it ever has before when sitting next to the Lite, kicking the need for an official price drop (a move to which Nintendo is already notoriously resistant) down the road considerably. At least until the heavily-rumoured “Switch Pro” comes out. Which brings me to…

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– Hope vs Acceptance –

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In the Switch’s first year it was rather easy to throw around dreams of improvements to the Nintendo Switch’s hardware, firmware, game library, online service and the like, particularly given its rather undercooked launch. Now, in 2019, we know much more about where and how the console’s limitations lie, and so the discontent and confusion surrounding some of its shortcomings has subsided – or at least become less loud.

Some of them.

Let’s start with the hot-button issue: The feared joy-con drift. By enough accounts to matter, a fair few joy-con control sticks out there have had a tendency to wear down over time under the mechanism and start to leave “ghost inputs” in a certain direction after the stick has already moved away from that direction. Plenty of prominent voices online have said they’ve experienced it after prolonged use, while others say they have yet to encounter it. Ditto amongst my friends. This is an issue that’s only really reached mainstream attention this year, given it generally has a lot to do with the passage of time. It’s probably not an exaggeration at this point to call it the biggest technical problem the Switch has faced.

Usage habits seem to have a significant bearing on whether it happens to you. If you play a lot of handheld mode, use just one pair of joy-cons and tend to put a fair amount of pressure on the sticks – either because you have large hands and therefore more leverage on them, or that’s just the way you like to play – that seems to put you at a higher risk. Hardware batches also look like a factor, as some people have reported the fault happening quicker than others. Some drift instances can be fixed with compressed air or an otherwise deep clean, while some cannot. Either way, it isn’t fantastic. Personally it has only happened to me once, on my left-hand lime green joy-con that I imported from Japan well before the colour was announced for a western release. It happened about a year ago, and I had it repaired with a third-party service. Since then I have had no drift issues on this or any other joy-con.

It must be said that I am not a good example of your average Switch customer. At the time of writing I have five pairs of joy-cons, three of which I change out regularly depending on my mood. When I play Switch games docked I am almost always using a pro controller, and now with the Lite out I am dividing my playtime across input devices even more. And yes, the Lite does appear to use the same sticks as the joy-con, but as I’ve already mentioned the D-pad is good enough that I am already defaulting to that lower hand position when I open any game that supports it, effectively ignoring both sticks for a session. I also have absolutely no faith in Nintendo that they won’t tempt me to trade this turquoise model in for some special edition console within a year or so. They know that ex-3DS market too well.

It may never happen to you. It may have already happened to you more than once. But at the very least, after a rough couple of months, plenty of social media heat and a class action lawsuit over in the USA, Nintendo is now aware of the gravity of the problem. Different countries are dealing with it differently, and a number of factors at play make it a particularly delicate issue, but I’ve never been the person to go to for a pessimistic outlook. I believe Nintendo will stamp the problem out one way or another going into the future, just like they did with the de-sync controversy at launch.

Like with any piece of popular hardware, there have been rather a few less-than-stellar quirks about the Switch that have caught the ire of fans. But these have either been fixed or explained by now, even if the reasons given aren’t always super great. If I may:

  • The Switch’s online offering still leaves a bit to be desired in a purely technical sense, especially given the ongoing absence of Nintendo-hosted dedicated servers anywhere. Yet there are enough online-supported games these days that it’s likely a decent percentage of yours won’t present any issues you won’t find on other consoles. Hardly glowing praise, and definitely still frustrating for us Australians, but it makes a coherent argument against the service more and more difficult.
  • Likewise, the price of the service – a maximum of $30 AUD a year per account with plenty of ways to get it even cheaper – is harder to dispute now that it comes with the excellent Tetris 99, more than 60 retro Nintendo games including plenty from the vaunted SNES library, access to the near-essential cloud save servers and a sprinkling of extra game-specific bonuses. The mobile voice chat app is still bad, though.

  • The bare-bones OS of the Switch has not changed in the visual department one iota since the Switch launched, which continues to confuse plenty of people on forums who are now at the point of begging for one or two additional themes, or folders to organise their vast library of games they won’t finish, or a dedicated voice chat inside the operating system itself. One little tidbit of public information most commenters seem to have missed, however, is the revelation at a dev conference last year that the Switch’s OS uses less than 200 kilobytes of system resources. That sure ain’t gonna fit any of the above. Loading speed is king for the hardware developers, it seems, and though one or two necessary expansions have been made since that story broke, it looks like that philosophy still hasn’t changed.
  • I really, really still want a proper public activity log to catalogue my play time on Switch games, like we got on the 3DS and Wii U, for the above reason I don’t quite see that happening.

But what about that Switch Pro, huh? Well, it sure would be nice to have a more powerful version of the Switch, and Ninty’s habit of revising their portable consoles over the years has conditioned the internet to expect just such a thing. But the last three years of immersing myself in an unprecedented level of Nintendo hype and analysis from wonderfully knowledgeable sources has taught me a whole lot more about the kinds of compromises such a product might demand (chiefly to things like weight, battery life, compatibility and price). Given we already have two new revisions of the Switch – one of them quite drastic – the so-called Pro seems like less of a sure thing than it did at the start of this year. But Nintendo is traditionally unpredictable enough to go ahead and bring one out anyway – perhaps even next year (I have no real basis for this but why not). Speaking of next year…

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– Unfinished Business –

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When the 3DS rolled over into 2014 – it’s fourth year on the market – there was a bit of a hangover vibe in the air. Having just enjoyed what was at the time the most quality-laden year of any Nintendo platform that decade, the clamshell warrior refused to get out of bed for anything major outside of a pretty solid Kirby game, a decent Mario Golf, a Pokemon remake and a soon-to-be-overshadowed version of the new Smash Bros. Though many unreleased games currently under wraps can and will make themselves known over the coming months, at the time of writing I can’t help but get a similar feeling about the Switch in 2020.

This time last year we already had a rather tasty picture of 2019’s Switch-exclusive offerings, but at this moment it appears extremely likely that the enigmatic Breath of the Wild sequel and the troubled Metroid Prime 4 will nestle in 2021 or beyond, meaning 2020 currently looks scant. There’s the admittedly exciting Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the first genuinely good-looking version of Xenoblade Chronicles, some more Super Smash Bros Ultimate DLC characters, and the best opportunity yet for a Bayonetta 3 release. That’s about it. Admittedly it’s likely that Game Freak will launch another Pokemon game in the holiday season – either another remake, a new “Let’s Go”-style game, or both at once, but beyond that we know very little. It’s perhaps a tad concerning until you realise that this comparison can only go so far.

After all, 2014 represented a very different Nintendo. That was a company still juggling two major platforms – one significantly less popular than the other – and the strain of game development for its younger, bulkier brother the Wii U was taking resources – however indirectly – from the 3DS’ suite of design talent. Though this is a gross oversimplification, the birds-eye view of all things Nintendo back then painted the picture that more quality first-party Wii U games meant fewer 3DS ones.

Now, with the 3DS at last in Nintendo’s rear-view mirror (no matter what they may say), and the Switch handily covering both halves of their traditional marketing portrait, games can arrive for the console in greater numbers overall – despite modern development realities sometimes prohibiting release dates from spreading out nice and evenly for the optimum benefit of our free time schedules. What’s more, even if 2020 ends up stamped in the internet history books as a relative downer year in the first-party Nintendo corner, 2018 showed us that quality third-party and indie support on the Switch can still make up the difference and then some.

To indulge in release speculation is very often futile with Nintendo, fun as it is. But to me 2020 is poised deliciously as prime real estate for sequels to first year Switch headliners. I would love more refined follow-ups to the likes of Arms and Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle, for example. If you ask me, a few more Wii U ports wouldn’t go astray either. Pikmin 3, Xenoblade Chronicles X, the Zelda HD remasters, I’m looking at you. The bizarre stuff we don’t expect is what makes me admire the big N the most, of course, but the Nintendo Switch is set up for more success in the near future, one way or another.

My all-time most played Switch games right before I upgraded my launch console.

The spectre of Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles looms large – as sceptics and realists warned they would back when the Switch was first revealed – but they won’t be on shelves until the holiday season of 2020. That means by new console time the Switch will have been out for just over three and a half years – a much greater public mind-share advantage than the single year the Wii U had to establish a foothold in a pre-PS4/Xbox One world. Selfishly, I know that’s enough to lock the Switch’s legacy down as a historic success for Nintendo. Enough to silence the little part of my brain that still cheers for this multi-billion dollar corporation like it’s my home sports team. Sales are one thing, though. They don’t automatically guarantee I’ll put time into playing the thing, nor energy into typing about it. After all, I quite liked the Wii U despite its commercial failures. But time has confirmed the old adage: More sales attract more developers and more games. Two years ago I finished my last Switch article with this closer:

“As it stands the Nintendo Switch is a few software patches (and, let’s be honest, a couple of meaty JRPGs) away from being a contender for my favourite console of all time.”

Well, as you might have already guessed from this article, the Nintendo Switch is now my favourite console of all time.
(Follow me on Instagram @Vagrantesque to keep up with all the highs and lows of my Switch relationship)

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