It’s been about two weeks since the launch of the latest gaming system from Nintendo, the Switch. This new hardware platform promises console-quality gaming on the go, a home-and-handheld hybrid. After spending a little over a week with the system, it’s time to evaluate whether or not that promise holds true.
The Switch’s launch was off to a rocky start. Having already been a victim of Nintendo’s notorious stock issues with the NES Classic, I played it safe with the Switch, holding two pre-orders from two different retail outlets. Not wanting to play the role of the scandalous scalper, I canceled my second order once the other was confirmed for shipping. UPS promised a delivery by 4:30 PM on launch day, so I held up fort close to my front door in wait of the brown-clad courier to bring me Nintendo’s new little gadget. Mr. UPS arrived with 30 minutes to spare at almost exactly 4:00.
Despite finally having the Switch in my anxious hands, my playtime with the system was still many hours away. I made the executive decision of going all-digital on the Switch, meaning I’ll be purchasing games directly through Nintendo’s online shop, downloading them instead of taking physical boxed copies of games. It seemed like a good idea, at least initially. If this is supposed to be a portable system, the idea of lugging around game cartridges with me sounds like an appalling one for lazy-old me. And, unlike Sony’s magnificent, but flawed, PlayStation Vita, the Switch’s memory cards are actually affordable, as Nintendo decided to go with standard Micro SD cards.
Anyway, my precarious all-digital decision had already thrown a wrench in my plans for actually getting immediate playtime with Nintendo’s new. Like most people, I paired my Switch purchase with a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Unfortunately, I had to download 13 GB of Zelda from Nintendo’s eShop, not once, but twice due to a failure with the initial download that had already eaten up a couple of hours before pooping out on me at 98 percent completion. Fed up with waiting, I decided to download a demo of Puyo Puyo Tetris from Nintendo’s Japanese store front (after going through the surprisingly easy process of setting up a Japanese account). As it turned out, the first adventure on the Switch for me was not the fantasy-filled fun land of the latest Zelda, but the tried-and-true block-stacking Tetris that you can basically play on any device made in the last couple of decades.
I don’t really need to explain Tetris, and Puyo Puyo is still something I need to wrap my brain around. Still, it did its duty as a suitable time killer until Zelda finished its second download. And, it was definitely worth the wait. So let’s get to talking about my favorite game of the year so far, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.