In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple weeks the Nintendo Switch has finally been released to the eager masses looking to move on from the ill fated WiiU.
My Reader feed has been full of Switch stories, impressions, and thoughts. One that stuck out to me was Mr. Panda’s Walmart experience (here), that reminded a bit of my own experience. I’d also like to point out several other Switch posts from LightningEllen, The Well-Red Mage, and Noob Dungeon. I’d also like to give shout-out to those giving the WiiU its last grasp at glory (QuicklyTapX).
My Switch Journey
So I was unfortunately NOT one of the lucky ones to pounce right on the Switch preorder way back when. I had also missed the PS4 a couple years ago as well. I figured that I would eventually have a decent shot at one.
All the Switch hype articles and Nintendo’s notorious reputation for short supply began to get me thinking that it would be much harder than I thought to get my hands on one. Further, I was getting a preordered Breath of the Wild as a gift. I needed the Switch to be able to play it!
As launch day crept closer I began to wonder if I could snag one during the midnight release. I had friends that had preordered so I was going to have to figure out this strategy alone.
To finance my Switch I had a sizeable Walmart gift card from some purchase made long ago (and I never really shop at Walmart). So naturally I began to call around to the local Walmarts within a reasonable distance to inquire on stock.
My friend introduced me to BrickSeek which tracks inventory at big retailers like Walmart. Most of the stores in my area had less than 10 at most places. And that was assuming the website had an accurate count.
So I began calling around trying to figure out my chances. Most of the employees I talked to did not understand the high demand for the Switch, or even what it really was. “Yea, lots of people have been calling about that…” How many is “lots”? No one really cared to share any specifics.
I narrowed my search to a 24-hour Walmart and another close Walmart. The 24-hour one was doing a midnight launch, and when I called asking if there was a line, they simply said “I don’t think so.”
The other location was not doing a midnight release, and also only had 5 units. They opened at 6:30 AM the next day, so I’d have to go bright and early.
I decided to try my luck at the 24-hour site, figures I’d go a couple hours early and just see if I got lucky. I drove all the way there and….big line at the back of the electronics section. I counted down the line (since I knew they had around 14 units) and stopped once I got to 14. People snaked behind that point, but that also assumed everyone was buying just one.
Downtrodden, I began to think I’d need to just try for one in the early morning. I drove back home and checked Reddit. Luckily, there was discussion that some Switches would release at midnight on Amazon. Specifically, on Amazon Prime Now.
I am a Prime subscriber, and my city does have Prime Now. I had never used the service and apparently not all Now cities even had stock. I downloaded the app and saw that my city was showing an ad for the release. Lucky me.
I figured this would be my best shot. If I didn’t get it, oh well, I’d wait the couple months. But the hype was real.
At midnight, I jumped all over it. They only had a handful and they only had the neon colored joycons (which I think I actually prefer). I ordered one up, clicked add to cart, and chose a delivery time. It felt like it was too good to be true.
I had a lot going for me – I live in a slightly larger, but certainly not popular, urban area. Our area has Prime Now. Not only that, but the Switches could only be ordered through the Prime Now app. It was like the perfect little loophole that was off people’s radars.
Woke up the next morning and checked the app and the emails. I never received any confirmation, only that the order was pending. I began to think I wasn’t getting the Switch and that the order would just be delayed.
To my astonishment the app updated. Not only was the driver about to head my way, but the Amazon delivery facility was right down the street. I had no idea.
At around 8:15 AM the driver pulled up and called me. I answered and went out to the car and was handed a paper bag filled with treasure. One Nintendo Switch. Just like that. Hardly any effort really required. Delivered the morning of launch.
Looking back it really could not have been any cleaner or easier. While there was uncertainty and I had to abort my Walmart mission, I received my Switch before my friends with preorders. Of course, Zelda was delayed in shipping, but I had the critical hardware!
First Impressions Unboxing
Pumped that I now had the Switch in hand, I decided to take some pictures as I took it out of the box and got it set up.
The box is surprisingly small, with three step instructions for set up on the rim of the box. The first level is the tablet and two joy cons.
Underneath is an HDMI cable, the TV cradle, controller, generic paperwork, the charging cable, and the two wristbands for the joycons.
Similar to its close cousin the PS Vita, the Switch has a game cartridge slot on the top with a pull away cover. I had not really thought about where the game slot was prior to opening the Switch. The headphone jack is located next door, also on top of the console.
The console was smaller than I had anticipated. The tablet itself is large, but as a whole unit seemed smaller than what I had seen online. Here it is with a pen for scale. Definitely bigger than a Vita or 3DS.
Included is the joycon controller (or does it have an official name?) which notably does NOT charge the joycons when in use (such controller is sold separately). It does have the useful on/battery lights in the middle as shown here.
The cradle comes off as a cheap plastic slit with an indicator light on the bottom left. I still can’t quite tell if the light needs to be on for the unit to be charging. It seems the console is meant to be perpetually on, only entering sleep mode when not in use. Also of notes is that the cradle requires the same charge cord as you would use directly on the tablet itself.
The console turned on easy enough with a Home button, and the UI interface is quite clear and direct. The panel shows games and then smaller bubbles for Settings, Profile, eShop, etc. There was a day one update that downloaded and installed quite quickly.
So, without having really played much but just messing around with whats been available, I am excited to see how this home console/portable hybrid works. I have always enjoyed handheld consoles, with the Vita really showcasing what putting some power into a handheld can do. Hopefully the Switch hardware can deliver.
Have you purchased a Switch? Have you had any issues? Whats your Switch story? Have you played anything other than Zelda? Comment below!