First Impressions: My Nintendo Switch Journey

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.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Archer Pose

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.

Walmart Logo

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.

Nintendo Switch Display

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.

Amazon Prime Now Logo

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.

Nintendo Switch Unboxing

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.

Nintendo Switch Unboxing Tablet and Joycons

Underneath is an HDMI cable, the TV cradle, controller, generic paperwork, the charging cable, and the two wristbands for the joycons.

Nintendo Switch Unboxing Cables

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.

Nintendo Switch Unboxing Game Slot

Nintendo Switch Cartridge Loading

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.

Nintendo Switch Unboxing Size Compare

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.

Nintendo Switch Unboxing Cradle

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.

Nintendo Switch Pro

Should I buy one of these?

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!

20 thoughts on “First Impressions: My Nintendo Switch Journey

  1. Pingback: Most Anticipated Announced Switch Titles | Particlebit

  2. I have not played the Nintendo Switch, but I am interested by the excitement around the release. I enjoyed the story about obtaining the console and was surprised that such a popular product could be obtained so quickly on the day of it’s release. It was interesting to learn about the design of the console.
    How does using this console compare to other consoles? Is it better to use the portable or home version of the console? Does this console use cartridges? What do you mean by your location being a “slightly larger, through certainly not popular, urban area”?


    • The Switch does use cartridges which is a big change for a “traditional” console. Still not sure if the portable or home mode is superior, but I guess that’s the appeal is that you get both!


  3. Thank you so much for the shout out! 🙂

    Don’t get me started on Nintendo product shortages… I’m glad you caught an elusive Switch! The small size of the console really surprised me too. Zelda will probably be my only game for this system until Super Mario Odyssey and Fire Emblem Warriors are launched. I’m praying that they are working on Metroid Prime 4 in secret, somewhere.


  4. Cheers for the shout-out, much appreciated!

    And I’m glad you got your hands on the Switch without too much hassle. It can be hella frustrating trying to track stuff down sometimes, and I find it increases the chances of you buying it at a stupid price as your excitement and desperation increases by the hour. Like, erm, some guy I know…. 😉

    Also, I have a question to ask, if I may. Is the plug an adapter (i.e. 110-220 AC/DC type deal), or is it just a regular cord/two-pin plug thing?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you didn’t have a problem getting one! My story is about the same – preordered one on Amazon, and it arrived 3pm on launch day. Lol not very exciting, but I was happy to save my excitement for actually opening the box!

    For those saying it doesn’t have games so they’re waiting.. I’m curious to know what those types of games are. Currently I have 5 games and they’re all a blast. Zelda, 1-2-Switch, Snipperclips, Fast RMX, and Blaster Master Zero. All within a week of launch and all are terrific and recommended!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the shoutout! I’m glad your story had a happier overall outcome. It probably helps that you ended up skipping Walmart altogether since “lots” of people were nabbing the few units available. I had heard about the Prime Now deal. That’s so crazy, and I’m so happy that you were able to take advantage of that! You even got it before people with regular preorders. That’s so ridiculous and yet so awesome for you! Awesome unboxing impressions. I look forward to hearing more once you dive into it. As for the Switch Pro Controller, I highly recommend it which I detailed in my impressions post. It’s incredibly comfortable, even more so than controllers from other systems. At the very least, I like it more than holding the Joy-Con controllers and the Joy-Grip (which is the name of the bundled Joy-Con attachment). Hope you enjoy your Switch! I’d love to play multiplayer with you if you ever get any games that support it! My friend code is: SW-3611-4684-6706.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Yea I thought the most interesting point was that I ended up with one before a lot of people with preorders and honestly not a lot of hassle (at least just the Amazon part). I am leaning heavily towards the pro controller bc it does seem that much better, plus I know I’ll get Isaac and I feel like the controller would make a huge difference like it does on PC. I’ll add your friend code as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Switch Pro Controller feels so good, and this is coming from someone who didn’t really like or use the Wii U Pro Controller. The Switch one is worth the hefty price point. Amazon Prime Now is a very interesting idea, though I wish they were this fast with people who actually pre-ordered early. I heard horror stories from people who didn’t even get the Amazon day one pre-order, which is horrible!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Panda, wanna swap friend codes as well? Been trying to get more folks from the WordPress community on here, since I chat on here about gaming more than with anyone in real life! SW-5543-1226-2329

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey glad you got one!!! Not having a pre order resulted in a lot of first world anxiety for me, I think I probably experienced just about every stage of grief that week, plus the ones that only Nintendo fans could ever possibly know about, but I’m glad I was able to make the thing happen. Everywhere in my town was equally vague about their stock over the phone, apparently the Walmart I planned on camping out in front of had 6, my cousin got one that he pre ordered months ago and one dude got the rest for himself. I swore up and down that I wouldn’t do this dance with Nintendo again after I got done with Amiibo withdrawal, but here I am again! I’m just glad I didn’t have to go through a scalper, I know myself well enough to know that would’ve probably been the case had I not gotten one at launch because I’m ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I got real caught up in the hype, but for this release I just rode the wave instead of fighting it. I knew there was basically just Zelda at the moment, and the console still has a lot of updates in the wings, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll probably get one eventually, when there are more games out for it. The pro controller is a bit pricey, but I would probably get one as I don’t like the idea of worrying about charging both the Switch and the Joy Cons.

    Liked by 1 person

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