Every time I obtain a new Switch game from Nintendo’s eShop, I worry. Will this be the one that forces me to archive or delete something else from my SD memory card in order to make room, and if so, how am I supposed to choose?
When I got my Switch back in 2017, I felt invincible, at least from a free memory standpoint. I’d purchased a 128 GB micro SDXC card, which isn’t the largest supported size but is pretty far up there. It was enough for all my launch games — Breath of the Wild, Super Bomberman R, Skylanders: About To Be Cancelled and so on.
But then Nintendo had to start releasing a dozen or more indie games a week on top of its big first-party stuff. Now, only two years and five months since the console launched, there are more than 2500 titles on the Switch. I only own maybe 150 of them, and there’s no way in hell all of those will fit on one memory card.
And so, every time I want to install a larger game, I get this.
That damnable X, indicating there’s not enough room at the inn-tendo for the latest game I want to play. That X is the prelude to one of the most gut-wrenching moments of Switch ownership. What do I get rid of?
I appreciate that Nintendo gives me options when asking me to kill my video game babies. I can choose to archive my games, which deletes their data from my system but leaves the icon, or I can delete games completely, removing all but their save files from my system.
The choice seems easy enough. Archive the games and keep their memory alive, right? But if I leave the tile, with the little redownload icon beside the game’s name, I am constantly reminded of my failure to show both self-control when buying new games and managing my storage space.
I don’t need to keep the icon for Senran Kagura: Peach Ball on my Switch. I am a mature adult and have no need for a game that involves hitting ninja women in the chest with pinballs. Besides, I am playing through it on PC.
But the decision to remove its data from my system, made recently as I downloaded my preview copy of Astral Chain, was agonising.
Maybe one day I will want to play boobie pinball while on the go. Who knows when I will get the itch to play Towerfall again? I can’t delete Musynx or Gal Metal or Aaero; they are rhythm games and those are my jam. So what if I haven’t played two out of those three in nearly a year?
Why am I tearing my hair out over this? Why does it bother me so?
I have a feeling it’s because we are deep in the age of digital downloads. I am a collector. I like to look at the things I have. I’ve worked hard for those things, and tucking them away out of sight feels wrong. I suppose there’s only one real solution.
To me, my dusty and bitter plastic friends. Soon you will be legion.