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The Nintendo Switch: a Newbie’s Guide

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The Switch is the latest game console from video game giants Nintendo. It’s selling like hotcakes, and with good reason: it’s an amazing little piece of tech, and a tonne of fun, to boot. You might’ve seen the Switch, or perhaps heard the kids mention it, but not know a whole lot about it. That’s where this guide comes in.

What is it?

The Switch is like a traditional home game console, in that it plugs into the TV, but with one important, and game changing, twist: it can be unplugged (or undocked) from the TV, and instantly and seamlessly be used as a portable gaming device. For this reason, Nintendo refers to the Switch as a ‘hybrid console’.

In practical terms, this means that if you were playing Super Mario Odyssey, for example, on the TV, but needed to head out, rather than just turning the console off, you could grab the Switch out of the dock and continue playing your game in the car or the bus, or wherever. Your kid is gaming on the TV, and there’s something you want to watch? Undock the Switch and reclaim the TV while they continue their game. Everybody’s happy.

Once you experience the versatility that the Switch offers, it’s hard to go back.

 

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Different ways to play.

Included when buying a Switch is the touch screen tablet (which is actually the console itself), a dock (which connects the console to the TV), two Joy Con controllers, a Joy Con grip, and all necessary cables and connections.

This allows three distinct ways to play the Switch:

  1. Connect the Switch to the TV, and the Joy Con controllers to the Joy Con grip, for a traditional home console gaming setup;
  2. Connect the Joy Con controllers to the left and right side of the tablet for a TV-free, totally portable gaming experience;
  3. Flip the kickstand on the tablet, stand it upright on a table, and two people each grab a Joy Con controller for out-of-the-box two player multiplayer gaming.

The flexibility of the Switch is a huge drawcard, and it gives gamers the opportunity to play anytime, anywhere.

 

What to play?

Nintendo has always held a ‘games for everyone’ philosophy around their game design, so there’s no shortage of games for either the adult gamer, the kids, or for the whole family to enjoy.

Games such as Super Mario Odyssey, Pokemon Let’s Go, Super Mario Party, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and Splatoon 2, among many more, all offer new entries into familiar, popular game franchises that can be played with other players locally, and in most cases, online. And Fortnite. The Switch has Fortnite. I’m sure you’ve heard of that.

For fans of Lego, Meccano, and other such buildable entertainment, the Switch offers a gaming experience with a bit of a STEM bent: The Labo. Basically, this involves building cardboard kits, such as the robot kit, vehicle kit, and ‘variety’ kit that both house, and connect to the Switch console for some fantastic interactive entertainment. It also offers some light coding elements, allowing experimentation and customisation, for those inclined.

This console is less than two years old, so while there is much to choose from and play already, there is a lot more to look forward to, both on the horizon, and in the years to come.

 

Where to buy, and how much?

The Nintendo Switch console and games can be purchased from retail outlets such as EB Games, JB Hi-Fi, Target and Big W, or from online retailers such as Amazon.

The console bundle can be purchased for around $400, while games vary between $50 and $80 each. The Nintendo eShop (pre-installed on the Switch console) also offers a large range of digital games for download at a lower price point.

In the near future we’ll be doing some game reviews, which might hopefully help you to decide what games you need for your shiny new Switch, should you choose to buy one (or should your kids twist your arm hard enough!).

Game on.

This article was written by the incredible Dan Reid for Mumspo Mag.

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