On this day one year ago—March 3, 2017—families around the globe welcomed a new addition into their dens, living rooms, and various other domestic entertainment spaces: the Nintendo Switch. It was, like Nintendo’s other hardware releases of recent memory, a peculiar little creature—a diminutive tablet with removable controller arrays. It wasn’t the prettiest console on the market. It wasn’t the most powerful. But it fast became the most sought-after.
Then, in quick succession, there was the familiar, expected shift from hype to gripe. Was your left Joy-Con acting flaky? Why only 32GB of internal storage?! Do I need to worry about the system dock scratching my touchscreen? These game cartridges taste horrible! (Yes, that was a thing that happened.)
But such is the nature of the beast—especially in blogger circles, where a cautionary tale is sure to draw eyeballs. Then it all seemed to blow over, as these things do.
I was fortunate enough to get an early crack at this novel new hardware, this on-the-go console. And I liked it. A lot.
Of course, I am, as they say, an easy mark. We were among the (seemingly) handful of households that owned a Wii U, and we enjoyed that too, but, mostly, we were 3DS gamers.
In the last 12 months, the Switch has slowly changed that.
Look, I still love my 3DS. The kids do too. There are always more adventures to be had with Pokémon and Yo-kai Watch, and the branching paths of Fire Emblem still call to me with the promise of a world meaningfully altered by my own decisions.
However, more and more, it’s the Switch that comes with us on car rides, that helps us pass rainy vacation days, that calls us to those new (and not-so-new) adventures.
It all started, as I’ll wager it did for most, with The Legend of Zelda. Breath of the Wild, to be more exact. It wowed me in a way no other LOZ title has, and it was through that game and, shall we say, tamer fare like 1-2 Switch and Skylanders Imaginators that the newest generation of Nintendo hardware was introduced to my kids, the newest generation of Nintendo gamers.
Since then, it’s been a crazy ride. (In a good way!)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Pokkén Tournament DX rekindled our affection for two of our favorite Wii U-era releases—not to mention now letting us play them on the go. ARMS showed us a wild new world of quirky combat, and Super Mario Odyssey, like Breath of the Wild before it, made an indelible mark on an already stellar property. Perhaps best of all, family favorite Splatoon came back in full force with Splatoon 2—which, I’ll remind you, is getting a special re-release later this month as Splatoon 2 – Starter Edition with a bundled strategy guide and stickers. (If you don’t already have it, you really should.)
Even my beloved Fire Emblem made an appearance of sorts.
On the horizon, we have the STEM-heavy Nintendo Labo, the return of a surely over-the-top sports narrative in Mario Tennis Aces, not to mention Kirby Star Allies, which I’ve promised the kids we’ll jump right back into once I finish waxing poetic over here.
I guess all I’m really saying is we’ve had a pretty amazing year with the Nintendo Switch. (Well, Nintendo Switches—we picked up a second system late last year, just in time for the holidays.) Further, we’re definitely looking very forward to another. Even if it means our 3DS handhelds see a little less playtime.
So happy birthday, Nintendo Switch. Here’s wishing you many happy returns!