Welcome aboard the hype train, new challengers. You just got your Nintendo Switch, be it from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Let’s Just Buy A Switch Wednesday, and have questions out the warp pipe. Questions like what games to get, what accessories you need, and why the built in kickstand is so terrible. This walkthrough will get you through many of these questions and hopefully questions you didn’t know you had. Let’s make like a high school film student and skip the smooth transitions, here’s the guide:
What you should have:
1. Something To Play On The Switch
You may have gotten your shiny Nintendo fun box out and set it up to play, but there’s a few things you should know before diving in. First off, you need a game. Unlike the 3DS and Wii U before it, the Switch doesn’t have a whole lot out of the box. The 3DS had tons of built in free games like StreetPass, Face Raiders, and the AR Games, and the Wii U had software packed in for most of its life span. Most Switch consoles you can buy at this point in its life have nothing, save for retailer specific deals and the recent Mario Kart bundle. There are a few free to play options such as Fortnite, Warframe, and Fallout Shelter, as well as a slew of demos, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding something to at least try before you commit to any game purchasing.
2. A MicroSD Card
Highly recommended is a 128GB or higher MicroSD card. The on board Switch memory is 32GB, which most major games on the Switch will eat half of that memory if you buy them digitally. Thankfully, unlike the PS4 and Xbox One, game installs are not required, so most of this memory will be dedicated to retail-less indie games, save data, and captures. But even a few indie games will chomp at the small amount of memory, so an SD card is your best way to ensure you have room.
3. A Pro Controller
The JoyCons are fun to use and are just fine as a standard controller, but the Pro Controller is the best way to control the Switch from your TV. It feels great to hold and shouldn’t require any mental readjustments. It’s also less prone to sync issues like early JoyCon models, so it’s effectively a replacement for removing the JoyCons from your console ever. Which falls in line with the pick up and go mentality the Switch was designed around. So I can confidently recommend a Pro Controller as nearly essential.
Games To Buy:
Where to begin? The Nintendo Switch, at this point in its life, reminds me a bit of the Dreamcast: for such a short time on the market, there has been so many great games. Between the excellent ports, even better original titles, and a pretty decent third party following, you won’t be starved for games on the Nintendo Switch. Since there are so many games to go over, I’ll just highlight some of the games I have played and a reason why you should get them:
For Single Player:
- The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of the Wild: One of the best games ever made, let alone on the Switch. An open world masterpiece everyone should at least try.
- Super Mario Odyssey: A Revolutionary Mario game that improves upon the exploration style of Super Mario 64 and makes it better
- Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle: Defies any expectation you have going into it. If you love strategy, you’ll be hard pressed to find a tighter experience than this game.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: If you like Skyrim, you’ll love the Switch version even more.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2: If you like Xenoblade, you’ll love the Switch version even more.
- Sonic Mania: The best Sonic game made in years. Blows any 2D Sonic experience since Sonic 3K out of the water.
- Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee: It’s Pokemon, but in HD and can be played on your TV. You couldn’t ask for much more frankly.
- Mega Man 11: The perfect run and gun game to play on the toilet. (Bonus: Mega Man Legacy Collection 1, 2, and X Legacy Collection 1 are all worthy additions).
- Fire Emblem Warriors: Like Hyrule Warriors, but for Fire Emblem characters. What’s not to like?
- Minecraft: Minecraft is good on any console.
- Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap: It’s a gem of an 8-Bit classic and this is a remake that does it justice.
- Undertale: It’s so good.
- ARMS: Nintendo’s super underrated fighting game is utterly unique and keeps me coming back
- Splatoon 2: Fighting over which color the floor should be has never been more fun. Completely rethinks shooters.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: The best version of the best Mario Kart. Has a lot more love put into it than most of the Wii U ports Nintendo has put out.
- Super Mario Party: This is Mario Party the way you remember it, and frankly the way it should be. My friends have not stopped asking to play it.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Even though I haven’t played it yet, I have faith it’ll be an excellent game if it’s even a 10th as good as previous Smash Bros games.
- The Jackbox Party Pack 1-5: A way better gamer/non-gamer ice breaker than 1-2 Switch will ever be.
- Super Bomberman R: It’s a great Bomberman game in its own right, but the amount of Konami characters makes it absurdly charming really. Single Player is also a blast.
Advice and Extras:
- Believe me, you can never have enough controllers for this console. If you have a Pokken Tournament controller or a Gamecube controller adapter, then you can use those as inexpensive substitutes for second-eighth player controllers. This console has great single player games, but excels at local multiplayer games, so extra controllers are generally a good idea.
- Be mindful of the Capture button. I could not stop accidentally hitting that thing for the first year I owned the Switch.
- If you plan on taking the Switch outside of your house, a case is a must. I could generally get away with putting a 3DS or a DS in my pocket, but a Switch won’t fit unless you have deep cargo pants. Even then, only with detached controllers. This is only if you take your switch away from home a lot; those who treat the Switch like a stay at home console shouldn’t worry too much.
- You can make a Mii in the options menu, if you are playing a game that those would be good for, like Mario Kart or Smash Bros.
- If you’re import savvy, making accounts for regions you don’t live in is a great idea. You can often download demos for games that aren’t out in your regions. For example, I played the PAL region Kirby Star Allies demo long before it hit North America. Making an account is relatively simple: Just make a new Nintendo account and set your country of residence to the region you want to access the Nintendo eShop from. Also, the Switch is region free, meaning you can import games from all over the world and play them on your Switch console.
- If you want to play Online, you’ll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. It’s $20 for a year, and you get the perk of being able to use the NES Online app, which includes a growing library of NES games that can be played locally and with friends online. If you made a Japanese account, you can download the Famicom Online app and play the Japanese versions of these games. You don’t have to buy a subscription for the Japanese account; just start the Famicom app with the account that has an online subscription on it already.
- You can have up to eight accounts on one console, so be careful about making too many accounts.
And that’s all I have for you today! I hope this guide will suffice on getting you started with the wonderful world of the Nintendo Switch! Any advice you’d like to submit? Then please, let us know below in the comments! I’ll update this post if I find anything I believe will be useful to you. Thank you very much and have a fantastic day!
This piece is dedicated to my friend Amanda, who I can only hope will find this useful on her journey through the Kanto region.
HautDeForme is a collector, a self proclaimed historian, and most of all, a player of video games. When he’s not writing about that, you can find him writing music for no particular reason and advocating for the localization of Mother 3, whether people listen or not.