I’ve been a “gamer” pretty well my whole life, starting out with Defender and Missile Command on the Atari 2600 some time in the 1980s. I grew up in the arcades, putting my quarters on the display ledge to call “next” with the best of them. While I did (and do) play on PC and I did eventually get an Xbox 360, Nintendo will always hold a very special place in my gaming heart. So you can only begin to imagine how elated I was to get a Nintendo Switch for Father’s Day.
And then I thought it was only appropriate to let my two-year-old help me unbox it for this week’s vlog.
It is absolutely true that I haven’t been playing video games nearly as much these last couple of years. This is partly because I have largely skipped out on the current generation of consoles. I wasn’t drawn to the Wii U the same way I was to the Wii and, aside from Killer Instinct, I didn’t feel all that compelled to get the Xbox One. I didn’t need a PlayStation 4 to play Street Fighter V, since I got it on Steam for the PC.
Another part of it, of course, is that I simply don’t have the same kind of time to dedicate to gaming as I once had. Maybe that’ll change with the remarkable convenience of the Switch. It’s portable, so I can game on the go, but I can also using the docking station to play on the big TV in the living room.
The 6-inch display is bright and colorful and I very much appreciate the kickstand on the back, even if it is rather flimsy. Performance is as good as you might expect from a Nintendo console. It’s not the most powerful device and it really struggles when you try to multitask. Suspending a game in the background while downloading something from the e-Shop, while browsing through the e-Shop for other content… it basically slowed down to an unusable crawl. But I suppose it was never really meant to be used that way.
Along with the Switch console itself, I also received copies of Ultra Street Fighter II and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Over the years, I’m fairly certain I have purchased at least five or six iterations of Street Fighter II, just as I have with Mario Kart. Nintendo and Capcom certainly know how to make me buy essentially the same thing over and over again.
This is the best portable version of Street Fighter II I’ve ever played, but the controls leave something to be desired. The directional pad is really four buttons and the analog stick (even though I was able to play on the 360’s analog stick) led to a lot of unintentional movements. Even so, it looks great and is still a joy to play.
I am very pleasantly surprised by how well Mario Kart plays, regardless of the control scheme. I thought that playing on a single tiny Joy-con would be uncomfortable. It’s actually not bad at all! Between the soft touch materials and the rounded corners, the Joy-con is perfect for some karting on the go. It does feel a little strange having all the characters (so many characters) and courses unlocked right out of the box though. Maybe I’m just a traditionalist.
It’s been years since I reviewed some games for the Wii on this blog. Maybe I should start reviewing some Nintendo Switch games… if only the public library carried them too.
How was your Father’s Day weekend?