It’s hard to believe the Nintendo Switch has already been around for four years. It still seems brand new, and new content continues to be fresh and innovative. The console has become one of Nintendo’s best-selling products and is now a staple in homes around the world. It’s become a gaming device for non-gamers and gamers alike due to its widespread appeal. It’s proven early critics wrong, saved Nintendo from the failures of the Wii U, and become a cultural phenomenon at the same time. After all this time, the Switch still has a bright future in the coming years.
The Nintendo Switch started out small, but strong. Launching on March 3rd 2017 with just six physical titles, the system had its critics. The idea of a console that could be both a home and portable gaming device was revolutionary. It seems so commonplace nowadays, such an obvious transition for the company in hindsight. But at the time, it was all or nothing for Nintendo.
The early success of the Switch was due largely to two of Nintendo’s greatest games of all time: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. The Switch was, and still is, worth buying just to play these games. Breath of the Wild revolutionized how we see Zelda games. It introduced the open world of Hyrule in a way that nobody could have seen coming. It’s not just a good Zelda game or a good Nintendo game, it’s in contention for one of the greatest games ever made. Four years later and gamers are still finding new things in the game. Super Mario Odyssey broke ground for 3D Mario. It was beautifully crafted to reward gamers for exploration and introduced the Cappy mechanic. It has also laid some of the groundwork to help transition 3D Mario to the open world as we’ve seen in the recent Bowser’s Fury release.
While the Switch has played host to innovative and masterful new games, it has also become home to the indie developer, the remake, and the remaster. Games like Shovel Knight and Ori and the Blind Forest have helped carve out the 2D Platforming scene. Older games like Final Fantasy VIII and Trials of Mana feel right at home on the system in their remastered and remade forms. Even Triple A titles like The Witcher III and Skyrim play beautifully on the system.
And of course, no reminiscence of the Switch would be complete without acknowledging its role in the last year during the pandemic. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released just weeks after the world shut down due to Covid-19. It came at a time when people needed social interaction while stuck at home and provided many with an escape from the bleak days of 2020. Despite the shortage of Switches for part of the year, so many people were introduced to the system while quarantining and found some solace in the variety of the games available.
The Switch has had a good four years and, if the past is any predictor, it will likely have a good next four years. The future is bright for the system, which is a good thing for gamers. As new games continue to be released and even more people become interested in the console, the Switch will be a strong contender for years to come.