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The Nintendo Switch Chicago Preview Event

Friend of the site, Greg Meyer, had a chance to go hands on with the Switch at one of the exclusive events. In anticipation of tomorrow's release, he's put together a bunch of impressions to get you excited for what's coming next for Nintendo.

Switch System and Controller Impressions

During the Switch Preview Event, Nintendo went out of their way to emphasize just how versatile their new system can be. Every demo station had a different way to play the Switch, from different controller set ups, to using the Switch’s screen to play games.

Though I didn’t get a chance to play Switch in handheld mode, I spent time with the Switch’s screen using tabletop mode. Now I’m a fan of the Wii U gamepad, and spent most of my time using off TV play; but the gamepad screen can’t compare to the Switch’s screen. The images are crisp and clear on the Switch’s bright screen, even while sitting a few feet away from the unit. I never felt like the screen was too small, even during a game like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I’ll admit I didn’t think much of tabletop mode before the event, but now I can see myself using my Switch in this style in the future.

The joy-cons are the next evolution of Nintendo’s wiimote design and functionality, with a new twist by docking together in the joy-con grip. When the joy-cons are docked in the grip, the controller feels compact and tight, but not in an uncomfortable way. Maybe I’m used to playing with the gamepad or wiimote and nunchuck, but I felt my hands were closer together than in previous generations. Still, I thought the controller worked well, and didn’t have any problems getting used to them while playing Zelda.

I was curious to see how the joy-cons played when detached from the grip. The right joy-con looked uncomfortable from the promotional material, with the joystick sitting close to the middle of the controller. After spending time with both joy-cons, I’m happy to report that both feel fine in action. The controllers are small, so reaching over to the joystick isn’t as difficult as it looks in a picture. The buttons and joystick feel just a tad tiny when combined with how small the joy-con is on it’s own, but when in the grip, the buttons feel fine. I definitely prefer playing the joy-cons with the wrist strap plastic support that connects to the back of the detached joy-cons. The added plastic gives the controllers more room for the players to grip with their hands.

The Switch Pro Controller is a good option for those worried about how comfortable the joy-cons and grip will be in their hands. The pro controller felt great in my hands, reminiscent to the current controllers available on other systems this generation. While the pro controller isn’t as versatile as the joy-cons, if you plan on playing long sessions in single player games, or plan on picking up a fighting game, this might be the best option.

One of Nintendo’s newest features for the Switch is HD Rumble. During the event, I didn’t notice the rumble doing anything significantly different from what’s been on previous systems. When I played Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and confirmed that I was joining the game, I felt the controller give a hard kick in response. Up until that point, with all the excitement from the event, I had completely forgotten about HD Rumble. That moment, though brief, gave me a good indication that these controllers are running with more power this generation.

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Matt Snee Staff Writer

03/02/2017 at 02:10 PM

great article.  I'm pretty excited about the switch, but am waiting a bit until there're more games.  Excited for those who are getting it though!


03/02/2017 at 05:44 PM

Thanks! I think waiting to pick up the Switch is valid if you're wanting a fuller library, or a fleshed out eShop. I'm happy with what's coming out now to pick it up tonight, but I see why others would want to wait.


03/02/2017 at 06:45 PM

Oops, accidentally IP banned you. You didn't have  an avatar so I banned you instead of the spammer I meant to ban.


03/02/2017 at 10:25 PM

No worries! Gotta take down those bots when they pop up. I've changed my avatar to help distinguish myself.

Super Step Contributing Writer

03/02/2017 at 04:31 PM

What would you tell someone who might just get a Wii U instead for Zelda?

How much are games like Arms and Snipperclips? 

Do you think the Switch will have enough battery life on the go, and do you see yourself playing it mostly that way or primarily at home?

How awkward does it get having to stare into the other player's sould instead of the screen during things like cow milking minigames?


03/02/2017 at 05:57 PM

Hey, I'll try to address all your questions in one post. 

1) Zelda on Wii U- We only saw the Switch version at the Nintendo event. My friend that came with me isn't getting a Switch right away, but owns a Wii U. He loved the Zelda demo, and definitely plans on buying the Wii U version. If I couldn't get a Switch, I wouldn't hesitate picking up the Wii U version. If you even only like Zelda, I'd still recommend picking it up. 

2) Snipperclips is $20 US on the eShop at launch. Arms doesn't have a price yet. Though I seemed a bit down on it in my impressions, I still enjoyed my time with Arms, and I'll be following it as we learn more about it.

3) I didn't get a chance to play Switch in handheld mode, but when I pick it up tonight I'll have an answer for you. I play a ton of off tv play with Wii U and my 3DS while watching TV, so I definitely see myself using this feature a ton. I won't take it on the go until I get a case for it, but I'd take it with me. I still go around with my 3DS for streetpassing.

4) When my friend and I went to the event, Marcus told me he didn't want to play that minigame at all costs. I obliged, though I don't think it would bother me. I like games like WarioWare, where you do silly games, so I'm immune to that. I'm not sure I would've wanted to milk a cow in front a crowd of strangers though.

5) Don't be so quick to dismiss Sonic Mania because it's a throwback. It plays great, and it was one of my favorite demos from the event. It might not impress you with the visuals, but it's still a neat game.

6) Don't feel bad for wanting another version of SFII. It looks like Capcom has put a lot of love in this game, and it shows.

Super Step Contributing Writer

03/02/2017 at 07:33 PM

Thanks for the replies! To be honest, i love 16 bit graphics, I'm just not sure old Sonics are for me gameplay wise. I'd give it a chance though.


03/02/2017 at 10:24 PM

I totally get that. I played a ton of 16 bit Sonic back in the day and loved it. Playing Sonic Mania brought me back to those days. Keep an eye on it when it comes out, and it just might surprise you.

Super Step Contributing Writer

03/02/2017 at 04:33 PM

I didn't realize Sonic Mania was a 16-bit throwback ... I'm actually less excited now, to be honest. I thought it was going to be like Generations. 

It's a little stupid that I still kinda want to play the 500th edition of SFII, but here we are. 


03/02/2017 at 05:05 PM

I'm putting the Switch version of Zelda on my rental list. When it gets sent to me, probably months from now, I'm getting a Switch. The portability of the system actually is starting to appeal to me now. I think I have a use for it.

Catherine Hauser Staff Alumnus

03/03/2017 at 12:35 PM

Sold me on Snipperclips! I think I will grab that from the shop later today. Fantastic article. I tried to get tickets to this event but no such luck!


03/04/2017 at 12:31 AM

Thank you! My wife and I played Snipperclips today, and we've been enjoying it so far. It's a charming little game, and I can see why Nintendo decided to publish this themselves.

As for getting tickets to the event, as soon as Nintendo sent me an invite I jumped on it. I missed out on the Wii U event they invited me to in 2012, but I wasn't going to miss this.


03/04/2017 at 12:36 AM

A quick update on Bomberman's controls: I tried it out today using my joy-con, and I'm not experiencing the odd jerky behavior from the demo. There's two possible reasons. Konami might've tightened the controls since the demo, and I hope this is the case. The other possibility is that my problems came from the d-pad of the switch pro controller I used at the event. I don't have the pro controller, so I can't say for sure at this time.

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