HomeArts & CultureSibling rivalry is back with Nintendo's Switch console

Sibling rivalry is back with Nintendo's Switch console

My dad bought me a Nintendo to celebrate my first birthday in 1988, despite it being quite obvious the gift was intended for himself.

Over the years though, I managed to develop some semblance of motor skills and we began taking turns playing Mario.

I bonded with siblings over beating a boss in Zelda and fought with my cousins over who got to play Star Fox next. But through the rise of the single-player experience, social gaming has all but disappeared. It seems to have been a lifetime since any console brought family gaming home. That is, until the Switch.

Despite the success of online gaming, Japanese company Nintendo has gone against the solo escapism trend.

The Switch console does not drone consumers to play in a realm of fantasy but simply asks us to play in the real world.

Coming in both a stealth black and a playful electric-blue and vermillion-red, the console is essentially a tablet with a dock, wireless controller and modular capabilities.

When in-dock, connected to your television, it functions like any other gaming system would.

To go mobile, slide the two controllers on each side of the tablet and the console slips out of the dock.

A full charge gives you a generous six hours of screen time.

In this mode, the Switch is a completely functional single-player hand-held device, but a second player can also be included without awkwardly holding each side of the screen.

The intelligent design allows each controller to function independently; you simply prop the tablet with the embedded kickstand, detach the controllers and hand one of them to a friend.

To appreciate the controllers, rotate one 90 degrees. Vintage gamers will get a flashback of the classic Super Nintendo directional pad.

If you are playing as a group of four, separate Switch devices can communicate wirelessly and you can play together on the separate device screens.

Switch gamers will be glad to find premier titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The 1-2 Switch feature is also a hit: it’s a series of gimmicky mini-games aimed at showcasing the system’s slick features. That said, the launch of the console has not been without its downfalls.

On its launch on March 3, first -day buyers complained about dead pixels, software issues, the dock scratching the screen, and, as was the case with one reddit user on the 7,000-posts strong thread, a blue screen appeared that made the system bunk.

But despite an unlucky few who reportedly bought a lemon, all Switch buyers are likely to have future-proof systems (hardware unlikely to become obsolete).

Nintendo’s latest product does however, fall back when it comes to console raw computing power – a trend since the breakthrough the GameCube in 2001.

Both Microsoft and Sony are pushing 4K gaming with their latest consoles, while the Switch hit the market at 1080p – with graphics last year’s smartphone could easily process.

But that’s not the point. Nintendo has always focused on providing a fun and interactive experience first and foremost, even if that means being overtaken by rival technology.

Nintendo’s fan base are purists – those who believe that gaming is a shared experience.

On that score the Switch is an unabashed success.

It’s high time to break the peace among siblings and once again fight over who will play next.

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