The Nintendo Switch will allow you to play the same game at home and on the go.
I have been a fan of Nintendo since the original NES. There were many nights that my parents and I, or my grandmother and I, would sit up playing into the early hours of the morning. Some of those games remain favorites to this day: Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Battletoads, Mighty Bomb Jack, Solomons Key, Deadly Towers, Karnov to name a few. This list is nowhere near all inclusive. As I have grown and technology advanced, I found myself owning most of the Nintendo consoles. I never owned the Virtual Boy or the Wii U, but I have possessed the remainder of the consoles and nearly all of the handheld devices. When the NES classic was announced, I was in Nostalgia Euphoria. Then I had flashbacks to my attempts at getting a Wii, back when they launched in December of 2006. Without a preorder, this was one of the hottest items and one of the hardest to find. I called and or showed up at Toys-R-US daily for nearly 2 months before I was able to snag one.
My attempts at ordering an NES classic were infuriating. Crashed websites, bot ordering, limited supplies etc. Ultimately I was lucky enough to show up at GameStop, 1 hour early on launch day and got one of the eight available. When I heard about the Nintendo NX, now known as the Switch, I knew that I had to preorder it. On 1/13/17 at 9 am, I logged into my GameStop account and attempted to preorder a Switch. I successfully added the console to my cart, moved over to the pay feature and chose PayPal. I added all of the needed information and attempted to finalize the purchase. The screen took me back to the cart page and said: “not available at this time.” I tried this a total of 4 times, each with the same information. Never was I taken to a finalized screen, nor to a screen detailing any successful information. However, when I checked my email, and then my PayPal account, I had successfully preordered the switch 4 times.
I contacted GameStop.com, via phone, and unfortunately had to wait on hold 45 minutes before I was able to talk to another human. I hope that you never have to contact GameStop.com, it is truly a miserable endeavor. If you do, set your phone on speaker and start another task. Once they answered the phone, the conversation was over quickly. They said that they could do nothing until PayPal canceled the orders. I called PayPal who immediately picked up (refreshing) and they then contacted GameStop. They must have some back number, as GameStop seemed to pick up immediately. GameStop told me that I was only allowed to preorder one Switch per household. I told them I was aware of that and only wanted one, but their website did not work. After about 1.5 hours of being on hold and numerous phone calls, I had the Switch preordered. Ultimately 3/4 of the preorders were canceled and PayPal had my order pending.
Sometime in February, my credit card was misplaced and I had to update my information on PayPal. I completed this, made the new card the primary but did not delete the old cards. On February 25 Nintendo sent out E-mail messages alerting people about the pending 03/03/17 Switch release date and to make sure that the financial information was correct. I navigated back to the PayPal site, made sure the new card was set as primary and felt sure that my Switch would be sent. Unfortunately, this did not happen as my preorder never went through. I attempted to call GameStop.com and was on hold for 60 minutes before I was able to talk to someone. They noted that PayPal blocked the charge and that my order would thus be delayed. She then told me that the charge would be re-processed and that I should call PayPal. I was told it would take 24 hours to update online. I called PayPal and waited a few minutes to be able to talk to someone and they noted that I should have deleted the original cards that were stored online. I deleted the cards told them that GameStop would be resending the charge. They instructed me to call GameStop back. I waited another 45 minutes on hold with GameStop and talked to the same person, who noted she told me it would be 24 hours.
I waited until the next day, 24 hours and the information was never updated. I attempted to update my payment information through GameStop.com and this did not work. I had a COG icon that spun and the site never progressed, it never did anything. I was back on the phone with GameStop and waited another 1 hour and finally was able to talk to a gentleman who took my contact information, card information and told me it would be 24 hours to process. I had thus frustratingly missed my preorder and was without a Nintendo Switch. I was at my local mall on Saturday and walked into the GameStop and he noted that there were 4 units that had not been picked up. I should check back in the am as they are only held for 48 hours. He took my name and number and noted he would call me. Excitedly I left GameStop.
The next morning, my family and I went to church and got out around 10:45, with the hope of receiving a call at 11 am (when the store opened). My family and I decided to eat at a local Chinese Buffet restaurant for lunch. I decided to try the local GameStop at 11 and talked with the employee. He said that they are not allowed to call/save items, how close are you, get here! I said I was 5 minutes away and he said: “get here ASAP, I cannot promise anything.”
I walked into the store and received the last of the Switch preorders that GameStop received. Excitedly, I purchased the device and the employee asked me if I wanted the Warranty. I usually do not purchase any replacement plans (except Apple Care+), as I have never had an issue. She looked at me sternly and said: “It is a tablet based console, sir.” I thanked her and decided to add the $30, one year plan, to my tab. My family and I then went and enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the local Chinese Buffet restaurant. I really wanted to play the device that day, but we had other plans for the afternoon.
Monday 3/6/17 would be Switch day. At lunchtime, I called GameStop.com and after yet another 40 minutes on hold, I was told that I could no longer cancel my online order. I spent 4.5 days trying to order it and now it was too late to cancel. The online site still showed my order as “open,” there was no tracking information and the employee could not tell me anything about processing time, shipping time or when I would receive the device. However, they could not cancel my order. After work, I drove home and upon arrival, sat down with my new Switch.
I excitedly reviewed the packaging and gingerly opened the box (I keep them). I removed the console, the joy con controllers, the dock, AC adapter, the grip controller, the wrist lanyards and set each piece aside. I then ran through the setup, which was really easy, linked my Nintendo Account and set up parental controls. Within about 10 minutes, the console was set up and ready to play. After setting up the WiFi network, I was instructed to update the console to V2.0. A few minutes later, the system was setup and ready to go. Finally, I was ready to play Zelda Breath of the Wild.
If you are not aware, the system only has 32GB of storage space and a micro-SD slot that needs to be filled. It is recommended to get at least another 32GB card to install. I decided upon an 80MB/s SanDisk ULTRA 128GB micro-SD card that was on sale for $40. Additionally, and a rather large “YUCK” is that the game saves are saved directly to the system and not to the SD card or to any kind of online source. Although this helps to prevent save state editing and hacking, if your system dies, you lose all of the save data. I was assured by Nintendo that any online purchases go with the account and not the machine. All you need to do is to unlink an old machine, link a new one and all of your purchases are still available.
The game cards/physical media provide a bit of nostalgia, in this age of digital media. If you are familiar with the 3DS style games, the switch uses carts in a similar manner. 3DS games measure 1 3/8″ square (there is a tab at the top right of the card) by 1/8″ thick, whereas the Nintendo Switch games are 13/16″ wide by 1 1/4″ tall by 1/8″ thick. With the size reduction, Nintendo was concerned small children would place the carts into their mouth. To prevent this, they coated the carts in a similar material to that used for fingernail biting aversion. The cases taste terrible and should work well as a deterrent for children. As a father, a consumer and ultimately a reviewer, these details do not go unnoticed.
I added Zelda into my Switch and had to download an update (32 GB internal storage is not going to last long) and began to play Zelda Breath of the Wild. The game is simply gorgeous. Granted it may not be as visually appealing as some of the Xbox/PS4 games, it is the best appearing Zelda game to date. I personally have an Xbox One and did not purchase this with any pretense that it would rival the system. I have a New 3DS XL, I have owned a PS VITA and have owned PS2, PS3 and Xbox 360. I purchased a Switch for family games, travel and to be able to play the same game at home and on the go. Essentially, you have graphics heavy consoles and portable consoles. The Switch is yet another example of Nintendo ingenuity. This is a home console that you can take with you or a portable console that you can use at home. You choose, you switch modes, you play.
I started out in Breath of the Wild, with the kickstand out and the joy cons held in each hand. The controllers proved to be incredibly comfortable and I did not experience the left joy con lag, noted by other reviewers. I played in this mode for awhile and decided to change to the on-screen mode (joy cons attached to the screen). I slid the joy cons onto the switch console screen and a screen appeared asking me to link my joy cons: “You can also play with the Joy-Con detached. Hold the rear button and slide.” I detached the joy cons and the game worked. I slid them back on, the left joy con made the Switch sound and the right one did not. I received the same warning again. I held the power button for 12 seconds and reset the machine. I had the joy cons attached when it powered back on. The joy cons worked fine on the main screen and I was able to navigate news, the E-shop and to use all buttons of both joy cons. I restarted Zelda and got the same warning again. I plugged the AC adapter into the Switch and waited overnight. In the am the left joy con and the console was at 100% and the right joy con was at 25%. It did not charge. In fact, it would never charge.
I reached out to Nintendo, who was amazing by the way and talked to them about the issue. We disconnected the joy cons, reconnected them and found the left controller did just fine and reconnected. The right joy con did not reconnect the first 4 tries. It would not accept the charge and ultimately it died. I did have another set of joy cons, that I purchased from GameStop (~$70), but was told that the console was likely not functional. She told me to not pair them with this console. She had not heard about this issue previously. After documenting my history, my options were #1 set up a repair, which would take ~8 days (2 days there, 4 days in the shop, 2 days return) or since I had the GameStop replacement, I could just take it back to GameStop.
On Tuesday 3/7/17, I received an email from GameStop apologizing that my online Switch delivery was further delayed. Interestingly 1 hour later, I received an email alerting me to the arrival of my Switch. That night, I went to GameStop, at my local mall, returned the online order and exchanged it for the in-store order. I left the store with my second Switch in 5 days. Arriving home, I was leery about playing the game. When I slid the joy cons onto the console and both made the Switch noise and both worked on Breath of the Wild, I was truly excited. The major let down was the lost 1 hour of save game and the lost value of the screen protector. Even with the major let down, the end is totally worth the journey. Now I may sound needy, but I want more Nintendo games.
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