The Nintendo Switch is still better than a gaming PC



I don't play as much Switch as I used to. But, recently I bought a copy of No More Heroes III for the system and (having never played the series before) decided to give it a whirl in handheld mode. And before I even started playing, I realised why Nintendo just kills it - even when they don't.

See, when you first power on the Nintendo Switch, you're treated to lots of tactile clicks and pops and noises as you navigate its menus. Then you slap in a cartridge and the game icon is immediately added to the clutter-free UI of the console. So before you even click play, that Nintendo charm is already pulling you into its orbit, making you wonder whether you actually need the cutting-edge tech a gaming PC gives you.

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I've been a PC gamer for most of my life, and I've also owned pretty much every console out there. I'm no Nintendo fanboy either, before you ask. In fact, apart from Splatoon - the best Nintendo series ever - Nintendo games like Zelda and Mario have never been at the top of my to-play games. But there's something about the Switch that just makes you want to play games on it.

I know, the elephant in the room is the aged hardware of the Switch. It is showing it's age six years later, especially when you realise the world has moved on to 4K HDR as its standard performance metrics - but graphics aren't everything.

And that's what I realised booting up No More Heroes III. Of course it doesn't look as good or perform as well as the PC, PS5, and Series X versions, but you can't take detach those experiences from your mammoth TV set and take them with you somewhere else. You don't get that cozy feeling of immersing yourself into a handheld either.

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This highlights the important fact that gaming experience is so much more than the sum of its parts. In recent years, the video game industry at large has become obsessed with teraflops, framerate, and graphical fidelity like it's what makes a game good. For example, fans were bitterly disappointed that Starfield isn't 60 FPS on the latest consoles many months before Bethesda's space RPG even released.

But what about fun?

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom launched earlier this year to a great reception, scoring 10 out of 10 with a lot of reviewers. This cel-shaded game runs sub-1080p when docked and is still utilizing the outdated Switch hardware, so why was it so successful? That's easy - fun.

An engaging game with a great story or more-ish gameplay will always outweigh the fanciest graphics. If you don't believe me, then just look at Gearbox's Godfall, which remains one of the nicest looking games on the PS5. But because it has all the fun of a turd yeeted on your front step by the local kids, nobody cared.

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Meanwhile, pixel art indie games are all the rage these days and even a game as simple in concept as Celeste - climb a mountain - can make for a great experience if they're developed with passion. Would GTA be as good without any of the eccentric characters, for example?

And it's the same with consoles. Just because a gaming PC or the most expensive console packed with the latest hardware might be all glitz and glam, it still can't provide the fun feeling of click-clacking through the Switch's menus or taking all your favourite games with you on the go (and by on the go we mean curling up in bed like a dinosaur waiting to be excavated).

You might be about to utter the words Steam Deck in my general directions, something that can be seen as both a handheld and a gaming PC - and fair play to you but you're wrong.

The Steam Deck is bulky, has an unruly number of updates to its software every time I boot it up, and still requires you to faff around by checking what games are compatible with its Linux OS. Meanwhile, anything you buy on the Switch just works.

So just as graphics don't make the game, power doesn't make the console, and the Nintendo Switch is still bae.

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