Switching it up

My wife’s big gift to me this past Christmas was really a gift to our entire family, as we finally made the jump to the Nintendo Switch as our console of choice. This was a bigger change-up than you might realize, as the previous console we had was the Gamecube. Nothing like leapfrogging over a couple of generations to the semi-newest one.

For us, we like Nintendo because of its focus on family-friendly group games, so the Gamecube actually was amazing for a long time. My kids never got tired of Smash Bros or Mario Kart Double Dash, and I think that we picked up something like 25 other titles over the years. Just good bonding time as we played together rather than apart.

That’s why the Switch sold us. We wanted the latest generation of games while still retaining that four-player fun. I got the basic console, an extra pair of joycons, Mario Kart 8, Sonic Racing, and some other fighting game that I don’t think we’ll ever touch. It’s pretty funny to me how much better the graphics are after having been used to the CRT-attuned Gamecube, but I’m also gratified that the gameplay is tight and engaging — at least for Mario Kart, which is where our family seems happiest.

The Switch is nice, but it’s not bowling me over with its features or presentation. It’s remarkably finicky with controller setup and frustratingly difficult to set up parental controls. I also literally growled when I realized that the eShop didn’t sell NES or SNES games like the virtual console did; you have to subscribe to a monthly service and I am so not doing that.

So it’s probably going to be a once-in-a-while gaming console for us, just like how the Gamecube was. We’ll pick up a few games and every now and then take it out to play as a family. The fact that we could easily bring it on a trip or to a different room has appeal, I suppose, but I’m somewhat terrified of the kids scratching it up.

The only two other titles that I’m keeping an eye on for future purchases are Super Smash Bros Ultimate — the kiddos are begging me for this one — and Mario Maker 2. For now, though, I think Mario Kart has more than enough to offer us for a half-hour of intense (yet innocent) smack talk and reckless driving.

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