The Nintendo Switch Is 2020’s Real MVP

The Nintendo Switch Is 2020’s Real MVP
Image: A Short Hike
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It’s easy to get distracted when you’re gaming on a PC. There’s social media, Netflix shows waiting to be finished off and constant pop-up notifications from friends. Even if you’re playing in quiet mode it’s easy for the mind to wander. If you’re chugging through the latest blockbuster, clicking your way through World of Warcraft or just breezing through another indie hit there’s always the constant temptation of distraction. It’s why I love playing games on the Nintendo Switch more than anything.

If you give me a game, and then tell me it’s coming to Nintendo Switch later, I’ll wait for that Switch port until the end of time. Sure, there’s some rare exceptions where games don’t perform nearly as well on Switch as they do PC or console, but for the most part the Switch is a very capable console with an impressively large library. You’ve got all the classics from the last generation of consoles, major indie hits and a whole bunch of wonderful Nintendo extras.

Beyond its library, the Switch is also one of the easiest and most convenient consoles to use.

I currently have two: a Switch Lite by my bedside and a regular Switch hooked up to the TV. I can flick on either at a moment’s notice, have them boot immediately into a game and get playing. The time between making the decision to play Switch and actually playing it is literally seconds.

There’s no time for distractions, no time to ‘accidentally’ browse for hours. You turn on the console, and you’re off.

The Switch is a games-first machine. Unlike the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, which are both bogged down by extraneous ‘Entertainment’ features, all you can do on the Nintendo Switch is play games. It feels strange to highlight fewer features as a major plus, but it helps to streamline the experience and grabs your attention immediately. When you have a Switch in your hands, you know you’re settling in to play a solid game.

And the best part is you can play anywhere you want.

When coronavirus hit, my work transitioned to home and the usual desk I used my PC at became a designated work area. It meant I couldn’t sit there without thinking about work, or feeling guilty for not being at work. With my Switch, I had no such issues. Even when my bedroom became my office, I could simply move it.

I used my Switch in my lounge room. I used it on the bus. I walked down to my local beach and used it there. Portability is obviously a key feature of the console (and the sole selling point of the Switch Lite) but it’s hard to understate how freeing it was for me.

Being in the same space for months at a time wears on the soul and it’s made playing console games difficult in 2020. Little things can help, like clearing up desk space, hanging a new accessory or purchasing a higher end monitor but the sense of ‘sameness’ often persists. There’s only so many times you can sit down to play before it starts to feel monotonous.

It’s why the Switch has become my favourite console, even in a year when the PS5 and Xbox Series X released.

Handheld consoles allow the freedom and convenience we all need in 2020, and the Switch does it better than anything that came before it. (Mostly, I’m looking at the Vita.) Whether it was finally getting to play Hades or bringing absolute favourites like A Short Hike, Night in the Woods, Monster Prom and Stardew Valley on the road, the Nintendo Switch has been the real MVP of my 2020.

With so many fantastic titles hitting the Switch weekly and most major indies being ported to the platform, I’m starting to think I don’t need any other console. I’m glad I own a PS5 and Xbox Series X for those wider, world-spanning adventures the Switch isn’t quite capable of.

But most of my gaming is on the Switch now. Sacrificing performance for ease of use, distraction-free gameplay and portability is absolutely worth it.

In 2020, I can’t imagine my life without the Switch. We can debate the console wars until the end of time, but this year the answer has never been clearer: in a war between the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, the Nintendo Switch still wins.

Comments

  • I always find it intriguing that we all can see the same situation, have the same ‘experience’ and take very different things away. Not to say either is right or wrong, just we are all different and that’s great.

    For me, 2020 is the year that the Switch has faded into the background and been barely touched. I am not a PC Gamer, so I don’t have the work desk anxiety re: gaming. All my gaming is done on a console (I’m not counting Sudoku on iPhone) and with COVID, it means portability is less and less useful. I’ve been stuck at home for months, no overseas work trips where I’d have the switch plugged into a powerbank from take off to landing, no interstate conferences where for just 1 night it was brilliant to have the Switch and just a USB cable to charge it. For 2020 I’ve been in my house where the Xbox and PS live, so why would I play a resolution reduced, frame rate hindered version of games when I have the ‘best’ console version around?

    • Absolutely agree about not playing games on PC. I work on one all day and its the last place i want to be to relax.

      On the other side of it of being stuck at home, so was my wife and kid which meant the switch was so easy to pick up and put down while other tvs and rooms were being used.

      I think its an absolutely brilliant console

      • Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great console/handheld hybrid and I never for one second ever regret grabbing one. I’ve just found that COVID has actually had the opposite effect regarding its usage.

        I am lucky though in that I have 3 rooms with HD TVs including 1 which is basically the ‘dedicated’ console room so I never have to fight for a TV to play on.

        • sounds like you have an awesome house! Im currently building a new place and im going to make sure my bedroom is a the perfect gaming retreat so that the kids dont get in the way 😉

  • I thorough endorse this article. The ease and immediacy of playing games on the Switch has restored my passion in games. It’s so easy to whip it out and put 30 minutes or an hour in, turn it off, repeat a bit later, and ultimately get as great a game experience as anywhere else. When I say “experience”, I’m not comparing same titles on other systems, I’m talking about the general game experience itself. The act of playing games, any games, is the experience, and the Switch best provides that of anything.

  • As much as I love the switch and have waited to buy games on it and have repurchased many games as well.

    Please let it be clear that it’s far more then “some rare exceptions” where switch games suffer far more then I am willing to suffer.

    I’d go for the Switch pro/xl/plus sometime soon.

  • 100% agree with this article. 99% percent of my games are downloaded and stored on my 400GB SD card which just adds to the portability of my switch.

    It’s so convenient that games are paused when the Switch is in sleep mode which means I can stop and start any time with very little fuss. ideal for those quick mental health breaks while working at home.

    But for longer gaming sessions and some proper FPS action – PC on a desk is still the best.

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