Nintendo Switch…GOT!

I’m a Playstation fanboy, and a bit of an Xbox fanboy. I am most definitely not a Nintendo fanboy, so when the company first announced the Switch I was pretty dismissive of the device. Didn’t pre-order, didn’t care. Then it came out and everyone I knew who did get one, loved it. Soon enough I was coveting my neighbor’s console, but by then it was too late. Nintendo, being Nintendo, couldn’t seem to keep the Switch in-stock.

I still think this is a marketing ploy because I acted immediately when I saw this tweet from the Amazon Games account:

I figured the only reason they’d be promoting ARMS was if they had the Switch to sell, given that ARMS had been out for a bit. I was right, but even after I saw the Switch was in stock I didn’t really trust it. I put it in my shopping cart and checked out immediately, half-thinking I’d get a “no longer available” error somewhere along the way. But nope, I was now a Switch owner.

Thanks to the magic of modern online shopping, the Switch was delivered the same evening. Right now I only have ARMS to play on it. ARMS is fun but not a system selling. Zelda, the game everyone raves about, is due to be delivered tomorrow, so for now I’m kind of in a holding pattern when it comes to “Did I make the right decision buying this thing?”

One thing that surprised me (though it shouldn’t have) is that the Switch is pretty big for a small device. There’re a couple reasons for that. First, in ‘console mode’ it sits vertically in it’s docking station. This makes it the tallest console I own (by a large margin). My TV sits on a table flanked by the PS4 Pro on one side, the Xbox One on the other (gotta keep the squabbling kids separated!). I had thought to put the Switch in front of the TV (I was swapping out the never-used Wii U and that’s where it was) but it’s too tall for that. Even though my TV is on legs the Switch in its dock blocked part of the screen.

Another possibility was in one of the 4 storage spaces under the TV. These are roomy enough (and open in the back) that airflow isn’t generally a problem, but again the Switch was too tall. The dock would fit in there but you need vertical space above the dock to lift the Switch out of it since the dock is nearly as tall as the Switch itself.

In the end I wound up perching it on top of the PS4 Pro. The Pro runs pretty cool and it vents out the sides so it should be OK (the Xbox One runs pretty hot and has cooling vents on the top surface), but it’s a little ugly sitting there. From the front it isn’t too bad (though apparently it’s a dust magnet given that it’s been there for less than 24 hours, but Angela WAS dusting during setup…I guess I’ll be dusting again today now that everything is settled):

But I’m not a fan of the cable routing when seen from the side. I might try sliding it back. I have it towards the front just for wireless connectivity and accessibility reasons. (The other box on the PS4 Pro is the Pro’s external hard drive, in case you’re wondering.)

The ‘size’ of the Switch doesn’t stop with the console itself. There’s also a lot of parts associated with the Joycons. The big thing is meant to convert the Joycons into something like a traditional controller, the thin bits slide on the ‘connection’ side of the Joycons when used on their own. So I’ll need to find a place to store these when they’re not in use.

The good news is that once I came to terms with all the stuff I had to find locations for, everything else went well. I ran into one glitch where the setup process asks you if you want to link the device with a Nintendo Account, but that won’t actually work until you do a system update. It wouldn’t complete and I couldn’t back out of it. Had to reset the Switch and doing so was accomplished the way I assumed it would be: by holding down the power button for a bit. Nice that I didn’t have to look that up.

Once I’d updated the system software (the d/l timed out once but took up where it had left off after I restarted it) linking the Nintendo Account was pretty fast. It’s nice that you can take the Switch out of the dock and use the touch screen for pecking in usernames and passwords. The Switch feels really good in handheld mode and I may find I use it more as a handheld than as a TV-based console.

I knew I had money in my Nintendo account but it wasn’t initially showing up. For some reason you have a separate step of “merging” your 3DS/Wii U wallet with your Nintendo Switch wallet. Weird, but no big deal as it was a 1-time thing.

Oh, and I bought a microSD card for storage. Happily I knew from reading reviews that the slot for the memory card is hidden behind the ‘kickstand’ for the Switch. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to find it otherwise.

My last concern is that Switch feels really loose in its dock. There’s a lot of wiggle room in there and it just kind of sits on the connector at the bottom. It doesn’t feel locked in. I guess it’s not a huge deal since once it is in the dock there’s no real reason to touch it much, but I still worry about the long-term life of that connector at the bottom of the unit. I worry a little about the Joycons constantly sliding in and out of things too, but I guess you can replace those. The little thin parts in particular seem pretty hard to put on and pull off.

So finally I had the thing set up. Now what? Now…not much. Without games the Switch doesn’t do much. There’s a “news” service that you can use to view some Nintendo videos from the Treehouse and stuff, but that’s about it. There’s no YouTube or Twitch to kill time with. No Mii Plaza to dork around on. Time to unwrap ARMS.

And ARMS, as mentioned above, is pretty fun. I was playing it using the motion controls, one Joycon in each hand, and it felt pretty good. Not as precise as a Playstation Move controller, but way better than the old Wii controls or the Xbox Kinect controls. Was it worth spending $300 for a Switch to play ARMS? No. But Zelda will be here tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and that Mario & Rabbids strategy game coming from Ubisoft: both of those are due in fall. I didn’t get the Switch in anticipation of owning a HUGE library of games for it. I got it to play games I can’t play elsewhere, and I’m looking forward to the experience of playing on the TV, then undocking and continuing to play in bed or (when the weather is cooler) out on the back porch or something.