In this exciting new column spanning the year, we have our first early entrant into the very subjective award Best Gadget of 2017 Gadizmo Nominee: the Nintendo Switch.
Opening day, 3/3/17, brought crowds, sweat, tears, and a Switch!
Yes, we at Gadizmo received a Nintendo Switch for a Hands On Review of the hottest new innovation, Nintendo’s newest gaming console, sporting both true home and true portable gameplay abilities.
The award for Best Gadget of 2017 Gadizmo is not something to be taken lightly.
The Nintendo Switch packs such a wallop it ran away with the first nomination.
The games are powerful and fit on an SD-card-sized chip. And the stand flips up to hide an SD slot for up to 2 TB of expansion.
The cartridges that once made the Nintendo 64 appear obsolete alongside the Sony PlayStation discs (though anyone in the know would tell you the N64’s graphics and games held up in every way) are now made old and near extinct by the future of game cartridges’ mighty return.
That’s right, even the original Famicon and NES cartridges, that had minimal load times and packed in playability, were just plastic casings housing big chips (with a small amount of memory) encoded with a game.
Now the Nintendo Switch games can fill anywhere from 16 GB of memory at launch up to 32 GB later on in the year.
Skyrim is a 20 Gb game by itself, and as more third party developers jump back on the Nintendo bandwagon, the cartridge size will be a huge advantage over 8 GB Blu-ray discs that require massive amounts of a game to be downloaded onto a system’s hard drive.
The Switch launch game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is said to have every bit as big a world as Skyrim, and while this writer is still exploring that world to verify, I can attest to lightning fast load times and smooth kick-ass high frame rate gameplay amidst a gorgeous world that is a work of art in and of itself.
But be careful, because these games are so small that Cosmo the 30-pound cat could swallow it in one gulp!
The Switch game addiction would have to be put on hold and await the litter box.
The system is packed into a smoothly proportioned rectangular tablet; picture an iPhone 6 Plus on steroids (with another inch or two per side).
The weight and feel of the tablet/system is solid and well-made, not too heavy but not light or cheap feeling; the controllers feel the same way.
And the Switch is all too easily made both a home game console and a portable platform PSP-killer.
This is not just another gimmick, but rather a pioneering experiment in gaming from the Nintendo Switch.
To have two true ways to play the same next-generation game, at home, or anywhere, is simply amazing.
Yes, the PS4 and the Xbox One have more computing hardware and graphic capabilities, but the Nintendo cartridge and its entire platform seem to make games damn close to the current generation of game systems, though still far from the 4K that the Sony’s and Microsoft’s are tinkering with.
But no one has mastered 4K yet, and maybe a Switch 2.0 is on the horizon in the near future.
For now the games look GREAT!
The system comes out of the box with a separate controller that adds the two controller halves to make a PlayStation-like controller, although there is a Switch Pro controller for $70 (GEEEEZ that is a lot of bacon for a controller for a $300 system).
These controller halves break apart for instant two player, or they are clipped back onto the console/tablet to charge and be used when lifting the system out of the home dock (which houses the system via a simple plug for charging the controllers and the tablet alike, while hooking up the HDMI and a potential USB 3.0 cable).
Interestingly, the battle mode on Super Bomberman R worked very well on two player with the tiny controller halves, and while small, they worked very well for accuracy and were confortable.
The vintage audio and moving, transitioning labyrinths of Super Bomberman R levels are rich with entertaining retro-gaming goodness on a new-gen gaming platform, and this one boasts up to 8-players at a time.
The sheer size of the Switch’s screen is so nice for using as a portable gaming system and the speakers are LOUD, the resolution amazing, and the controls feel much more traditional and natural than the Wii U or the Wii for that matter, though there are added buttons to each, like a “+” sign and a “-“ sign to give a ton of customizable gameplay options or enough zaz for the two halves to act as their own joystick separately.
Link makes use of many of these buttons as you scroll weapons, gear, food, and maps while setting fire, literally, to the sandbox.
Funny story: Link discovers he can set a branch ablaze in a traveler’s fire. And then as Link waves the brand feloniously, he accidentally sets a tree and a large patch of tall grass and shrubberies on fire.
Link the Arsonist subsequently exited that forest area quickly.
And the Nintendo packaging rivals Apple now in its minimalistic beauty and lack of waste.
There is little in the box but the system, a dock and cables (HDMI and AC), and the three controller pieces.
Simply turn this bad boy on and watch for instruction . . . within seconds an impactful piece of tech plays top-notch games in the hand or on the TV!