Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 10, 2018

Switch Review: The Hardware

I think the first thought of everyone when they recieved their Switches for the first time was how small it was. Certainly, consoles used to be larger. The Switch was a home console and portable console.

The screen on it is quite nice. It is refreshing to go back to a single screen after the DS and 3DS (and even Wii U). The smartphone revolution occurred after the DS, and the 3DS was plagued by the costs of the ‘omg 3d’ elements in it, so the Switch could finally use modern portable screen technology that smartphones have driven the cost down.

I do not play my Switch portable except for maybe around my home at times. I’m mostly a dock player. So let us talk about the dock.

The dock doesn’t seem to be the best designed. Does it scratch the screen when the Switch is put in? Regardless, it sends the Switch output to the TV screen. It takes about three seconds to ‘switch’ to the TV screen. It works well.

The UI is interesting in terms of its simplicity. While I was a huge fan of the Wii ‘boxes’ layout as if they were all multiple TVs there, the Wii U layout just got annoying and had too much junk in it. Gone is Mii-verse. Gone are the boxes. Instead is a minimal row of icons. The menu has an E-shop, a News section, an Options section, and something for your User Profile.

Improvements would be more interaction with your video game friends. But that pertains more to the online system than to the hardware.

The hardware being able to run the Unreal Engine has done wonders for ports especially for the indie side. Nintendo did well with this move. Then again, Japan seems to have embraced the Unreal Engine this generation (well, Epic opened an office in Japan and translated all the materials appropriately).

What else is there to say about the hardware? It is a giant rectangle! What more can I say? It lacks the distinct image that the NES, SNES, Gameboy, DS, Gamecube, and others had. Nintendo got around this by using the multi-colored joycons (red and blue) to give this system some personality. What I do like is that Nintendo toned down the ‘hardware personality’ and allowed the games to do the personality themselves.

I think the hardware is fantastic. I enjoy handheld mode on this much more than any other Nintendo handheld (except the original Gameboy. You have no idea how much that rocked in 1989, reader). It functions just fine as a home console too.

Perhaps this is an artifact from the handheld line, but the fact that this console uses CARTRIDGES (I know they are just non-writable memory cards) is incredible. To use cartridges for a home console again is something I’ve always wanted as did other people. When rumors of cartridges returning for this console, I made a post saying that this would spark a massive software absorption of the market because people LOVE cartridges. Publishers hate them, but the customers love them. The reason why software sells so strongly on the Switch is, in large part, that the format is on cartridges. Many people would refuse to buy software if it only came in digitally or on discs.

Nintendo has the cartridges taste terrible so kids do not eat them! How many people have licked their Breath of the Wild cartridge? This situation is funny.

No, I have no complaints over the hardware. Compared against the line-up of the rest of the Nintendo pantheon of ‘console gods’, the Switch is fine. The only minus is lack of personality but seeing how Nintendo’s personality these days is toxic instead of cool (such as NES or Gameboy), the lack of personality is a good thing.

I will give the hardware an A. Nintendo did right with this one. Simple, effective, and revolving around playing games and not other stupid stuff.


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