Nintendo switches it up: UB student gamers take on new console
Nintendo has dominated handheld gaming since they released the Game Boy in 1989, but in recent years has struggled to achieve that level of success in the home console market.
The company has switched that around with the release of its new console, which combines the two areas of gaming.
The Nintendo Switch, released on March 3, lets gamers take their favorite home console games on car rides, planes, to their jobs and classes. The hybrid console features a 6.2-inch screen, which allows portability and can be docked to hook up to a television.
Students are already flocking to stores for a console so conducive to their busy lifestyles.
“My favorite part of it is the portability,” said Tanner Miller, a freshman English major who waited in line for the system on launch day. “I can bring it to class and play during my break instead of doing homework or studying. Who wants to do that at 6 p.m.,” Miller said.
The two big launch titles for the Switch are notable for their dichotomy.
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is a massive adventure that will take players dozens of hours of investment to complete.
“1-2-Switch” is a collection of mini-games, some seconds long, which are sure to be a hit at parties – similarly to “Wii Sports” on the original Wii console.
Some gamers who are otherwise interested in the Switch are displeased with the meager selection of titles currently available to play.
“I’m on the fence about purchasing the Nintendo Switch because the amount of games for it on launch seem really limited,” said Brendan Loos, a junior business administration major. “Its main selling point is the new ‘Legend of Zelda’ game. However, beyond that there isn’t really too much to offer.”
“Zelda” is also available on Nintendo’s previous console, the Wii U, giving owners of that system little incentive to rush out and purchase a Switch.
Another prohibiting factor has been the price. The Switch currently retails for $299, a relatively small sum for a new system. Comparatively, Sony’s PlayStation 4 launched at $399 and Microsoft’s Xbox One launched at $499. But the Switch has become notorious for its hidden costs.
There are no games included with the console and must be purchased separately. “Zelda” and “1-2-Switch” both retail for $59.
A second Joy-Con controller for the Switch will also cost $80, whereas a typical PlayStation or Xbox controller costs $60.
“We’d all like to see it get cheaper, but honestly, that’s what the holiday season is for,” Loos said. “I think the price is fair. I won’t buy it unless it’s cheaper but I wouldn’t fault anybody for buying it at that price point.”
Though expensive, the Joy-Con is unique in the variety of ways it can be used. There are left and right components that can be held in each hand separately or stuck together to resemble more of a standard gaming controller.
For portable gaming, the controller can be attached on either side of the Switch screen to form a single unit.
And with games like “1-2-Switch” or the digital release “Snipperclips,” they can act independently, being used as two controllers by two players.
“The controller layout looks fine,” said Nicole Stern, a junior psychology major and president of the Strategists and Role-Players Association who plans on buying the Switch eventually. “I like the whole thing where you can split the controller in half and have two people using the same controller. It’s interesting and unique.”
Those who have purchased a Switch are getting their money’s worth.
Miller has only played “Zelda” on the Switch, but so far the game has exceeded their expectations.
“I was a little skeptical at first because ‘Zelda’ is a TV game and you need a big screen for it,” Miller said. “I went over to my brother’s house because he got the game for Wii U, so I brought over my Switch to play handheld. I played it for three hours. It’s weird playing such a big game on a small screen.”
Despite the variety of controller options available, gamers are finding alternative user-friendly methods.
“I don’t really love it when the controllers are on the portable screen. I found it’s a little off sometimes and I think it’s because the Joy-Cons are further apart,” Miller said. “I spent a half hour trying to do this one puzzle in ‘Zelda,’ and then when I went back home and put it on the small controller, I got it immediately.”
For those interested in picking up a console, finding a Switch is a challenge.
Stores only receive a limited number of consoles to sell and the Switch’s high demand has left stores with empty shelves.
“The issue is that they’ve been out of stock everywhere. I couldn’t find a single one within a 40-mile radius,” Stern said.
*Editor's note: The original article used an incorrect pronoun for Miller.
Brenton Blanchet is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org