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.