Nintendo has never made a handheld that can connect to your TV and be played like a console. Instead, they kept making attachments to their home console that would play Gameboy games.
Hudson made the Switch in 1990. It is called the TurboExpress.
Here is the Japanese equivalent.
Some people are upset that the Switch is using cartridges. “Do not call them cartridges,” they whine. “They are CARDS, not cartridges! They do not contain electronics in them!”
Most cartridges didn’t contain unique electronics in them like the FX chip in Starfox or the chip in Castlevania III.
What many gamers are not aware of, since the Turbografx 16 was never mainstream, is that they used something called ‘Hucards’. They were like credit cards. They did not contain electronics, but they had the ROM image on them.
The Turboexpress could play Turbografx 16 hucards (that you would place into the home console). The Turboexpress also could output to a TV and be played at home.
Now look at the Sega Nomad:
The Sega Nomad was released in 1995. It could play Sega Genesis games on the go. It could also output to a TV and play with another controller.
The point is a long held belief of mine that there is nothing new under the sun. As soon as I saw the Wii-mote, I thought ‘Powerglove!’. The powerglove was a terrible product, but it was a cool idea where the technology had not arrived yet. The TurboExpress and Sega Nomads were ideas well ahead of the technology at the time (and both are very expensive to buy if you can find them at all!). The Switch, as a console, has existed as far back as over twenty five years ago.
Unlike the Wii U or 3DS, the idea of the Switch console is fine. Everything, though, now depends on the game library.