I just got a Nintendo Switch. It was released in 2017, so I’m a little behind the curve. My thinking was that Ruby, my five-year-old, is just about ready to be able to play games with controllers. I’ve tried before with Alba: A Wildlife Adventure on AppleTV using a controller, and we both loved it, but she couldn’t really do most of the game playing. When she was much younger I could toss her a controller and tell her she was playing, but that wouldn’t work anymore.
The Nintendo Switch has pretty sweet features for young ones. Here’s two from the first few days of ownership:
- Super Mario Odyssey is one-player, but a second player can control “Cappie”, Mario’s hat, which you can fling about to do stuff like attack enemies or take temporary control of enemies. This lower-stakes control is a frigging genius way to have an older and younger player play together simultaneously.
- On Mario Cart 8 Deluxe, on a per-player basis, you can set Smart Steering and Auto-Accelerate, so I can set these functionality bumpers on Ruby’s car but leave mine normal, and we can play together reasonably.
That’s classy stuff right there, good job Nintendo. I’m excited to play Breath of the Wild, as it seems so insanely beloved. Plus the sequel is coming soon so I’ll be ready.
Not to mention the killer feature: you can just yank the thing out of the dock and take it with you?! Like I said, a little behind here, but that’s a wonderful design. Perhaps a little dangerous on the parenting side. Leaving the house doesn’t require them to stop playing like it would otherwise. We’ll have to figure out how to draw those boundaries best for us.
Is portability just a standard feature now? It seems like it should be, but reading up a little looks like the Playstation Portable was a bit of a flop, Microsoft outsourced the concept, and the Steam Deck came out of left field and nailed it? Mixed bag.
Surprising disappointment: I bought physical copies of the games just assuming I could load them onto the device digitally also, and the physical would just be a nice backup, plus save some download time that first day where we just wanted to get playing. But no! If you want the digital copy, you have to pay full price again. Suck a butt.
Welcome! I love the per-player settings on MK8 for the kids too! I and my kids have found a lot of joy playing Switch games together, even when they are one-player metroidvanias, like Hollow Knight (my kids love bugs). I’ve continued to ask if they want the controls, but they are content to be co-pilots, picking up on details I miss and remembering info I forgot in order to solve puzzles. And then they’ll take the in-game worlds and characters, and run with them in their imaginative in-person play with each other and friends. Lots of fun!
Get Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Great game for kids and has co-op. Played through it a few months ago with my 5 year old. Hand held gaming is in the up and up. I got a steam deck last year and it’s great. It’s an open platform so you can emulate and even stream games from a pc or PS5. Highly recommend. There are apparently more handheld PCs in the works and Sony is rumored to be making a streaming based device. I’ve gotten into this stuff over the last few years. Hit me up if you ever want recommendations.