It's not secret that I bought my fair share of consoles over the course of my gaming life. That mass of consoles can be roughly divided into two categories: the much-wanted systems that ultimately failed to meet my lofty expectations, and the not-so-wanted systems that ultimately exceeded my meagre expectations. The latter category contains luminaries such as the Game Gear, a.k.a. my former Favourite Console Ever, the Vita, a.k.a. my newest Favourite Console Ever, and the DS and PSP, a.k.a the kings of portable RPG that masterfully blend the best of both retro and modern gaming. In the former category, we have the Game Boy, which I loved yet also came to resent because of how high-maintenance it was when it came to lighting conditions; the GBA, which I cannot play without getting some horrid hand cramping; the Mega Drive, which failed to give me the same sweet intimacy as handhelds; and, last but not least, the Switch.
It pains me greatly to admit it, but my initial love for the Switch is unfortunately wasting away. I though I had gotten my hands — literally — on a winner of a system and yet another first-class addition to my already respectable collection of handhelds; but alas, all the things that seemed so appealing when I was longing for the Switch from afar proved to be less than dazzling when seen up close. As the title implies, there are two sides to that coin of disaffection; let's start with the nitty-gritty of my hardware issues with the Switch, dear fellow gamers. (Also, because I can't be bothered to take pictures of my Switch, those posts will be adorned with XC2 screenshots.)
—The Switch feels too fragile for my taste. Mind you, I'm not saying that just because my Switch's left Joy-Con happened to be a bit loose right out of the box; that fragility issue is inherent to the system's design. Joy-Cons are bound to get loose over time no matter what, until playing becomes really uncomfortable or (worse) connectivity simply stops working entirely. This means that the Switch might become unplayable on the long run simply due to its very design; and after a whole lifetime spend playing systems that were designed as monuments of solidity, that sudden reversal of gaming fortune really stings.
—The Switch has a way of getting uncomfortably hot during long playing sessions, especially on the right side. I even had to give up on playing a couple of time and let the system cool down because it was simply getting too hot to hold. Needless to say, it's all but impossible to play the Switch when it's charging, as it gets even more searingly hot.
—The Switch's battery management is pure hassle. It's already annoying enough that the Switch has such poor battery life, forcing me to charge it literally every day; but that's not even my main battery-related issue. No, my main issue lies in the darn annoying Sleep Mode. Because the Switch cannot be completely turned off unless you go through a complicated and utterly unintuitive process, most of us will simply put their Switch in sleep mode and call it a day. But wait, there's a catch: sleep mode keeps draining your Switch's battery, and rather fast at that. So you didn't touch your Switch for a week after fully charging it? Too bad, now it's empty! Just say goodbye to your planned gaming session and go charge it again, sucker. (Yup, this is totally first-hand experience.) So, the GBA, DS and Vita can hold battery power for weeks on end, even months; but the Switch has to be kept on a constant charging diet. Not too convenient for an 'hybrid' console, methinks.
At the end of the day, I think reality simply caught up with me. As a handheld aficionado, I really wanted the Switch to inherit the 3DS and Vita's legacy and perpetuate the strong, long-running Nintendo handheld tradition; but alas, it seems that this dream scenario is not meant to be. The Switch is a home console after all; and as all current home consoles, it's flimsy, fussy and not designed to last. Well, fine; I was fooled once, but I won't be fooled twice. There won't be extra backup Switches for me; I'll use my current Switch until it dies, and then it's game over — literally. But what about all those Switch games you were so excited about a few weeks ago, you may ask? Don't you want to collect them? Well, about that... Things have changed, shall we say. But that's a subject I'll cover in the soon-to-come second part of that Switch rant, dear fellow gamers. Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!