The Nintendo Switch changed what I want in video games

For most of my life, there have been two types of video games: those you play at home and those you play on a handheld device. There was a clear distinction. Even when a powerful hardware device, like the PlayStation Vita, appears with its “console-quality” graphics, you can always tell the difference; The games had their own character based on the platform. metroid On the GameCube it was completely different from metroid on Game Boy Advance. But that all changed when the Nintendo Switch was launched five years ago.

You’ve found the power of the Nintendo tablet in a unique way. Back in 2017, I was commissioned to review The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildA giant open world game that upended the classic Zelda Equation. I started playing it in my living room, just as I did with the previous games in the series. I felt right. But then I had to cover the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, which meant spending hours in planes, in hotel rooms, and waiting in long lines inside the Moscone Center. I spent all those moments exploring Hyrule – and the fact that I was able to transition seamlessly from where I started at home proved to be transformative. (In a surreal twist personally, the day I finished writing the review, I also managed to spend an hour chatting with game managers.)

This is clearly not a situation most people will find themselves in. But this made the point even more: a key is a device designed to fit into your life, even if you have a really weird job like me. In a world where games demand your time more than ever, with daily missions and open worlds that can stretch for hundreds of hours, this was a huge problem. immediately after Breath of the wildWhenever you play a big game – whether mass effect or Character – I wish it was on the Switch. (Seriously, how is that possible Persona 5 Not managed yet?)

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I am not the only one. Fans begging for their Switch versions have become a meme at this point, and the Switch version of It is an electronic gameWhich was initially not compatible with the PS4 version Help us usher in today’s era where cross-platform play is an expected feature of the big live-serve titles because players have gone too crazy.

Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

This is a long-standing way of saying that the freedom to switch has radically changed the way I view video games. That distinction between console and mobile that defined my first memories with the medium is no longer there. Now when the match comes, I think long and hard how I will run it. If it is a direct service game like Jinshin effect or It is an electronic gameI want to know that I can apply with me on Switch or Smartphone. If it’s a long-running role-playing game, I might wait for the Switch release, even if the graphics are a hit. Much the way my Netflix experience follows me from device to device, I want my video games to do the same. I personally regret playing it Excellent skateboarding game elementary world on PS5 because it would be perfect for short sessions on the Switch.

This desire to take the video game worlds with me now extends far beyond Nintendo consoles. There are multiplatform games that support mobile devices; Xbox games that run across PC, console, and the cloud; subscription services like Apple Arcade and Game Pass that work on multiple devices; And – the most exciting – a completely new device in Steam . platform It expands the concept to all those games that are not played from my Steam library.

All that said, with the lines between the console and mobile device gone, we’re missing something noticeable. I felt that especially when the production of the Nintendo 3DS was discontinued: There is something very special about games designed around the limitations of a mobile device that often don’t exist now. The DS era was a creative heyday for Nintendo and its partners, with everything from takes innovation Zelda To the wonderful oddities of touch like nintendogg And the Electroplankton. switch address Metroid dread It might not exist without its predecessor The return of Samos. Fortunately, this spirit still lives on as something of a niche through products like analog sine And the play date.

When it comes to cross-device gaming, things often remain chaotic. Platform exclusivity and annoying cross-advance restrictions mean you don’t always have that kind of freedom; Things aren’t always as smooth as pulling a switch from the dock and bringing a toy with you. But thanks in part to the switch, the past five years have seen a huge improvement in how games arrive across devices. I am so embarrassed to tell you how many devices I own It is an electronic game installed, but it a lot.

This in turn has improved my relationship with the game, just like having it BOTW On the switch did. The platform didn’t just change how I look at games – it made me appreciate them in a whole new way.

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