The Switch remains the lifelong gamer’s console of choice

I’m 41 years old. I don’t care about frame rate. I don’t really care about resolution. I’m not especially interested in online play, nor do I give a toss about platinum trophies or Gamerscore. I’m here for the games — both brand new, and classics from back in the day. And, as such, I have never, ever owned a better console for my own personal tastes than the Nintendo Switch.

I’ve seen a certain amount of online discourse recently about whether or not console manufacturers should be mandating that new games released for their platforms must run consistently at a frame rate of at least 60 frames per second. And while I understand where the people who want to see that are coming from — having all games consistently running that smoothly would be a noticeable technical improvement over past generations — I find it hard to jump on board with the idea, because there are far more interesting things to talk about.

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure never came out in Europe on PS1, but now we can enjoy it on Switch for a reasonable price.

I’ve also seen articles and YouTube videos arguing that there “needs” to be a Switch Pro, or that you should overclock your Switch to “fix” titles like Bayonetta 3 which these people believe are running sub-optimally. And, again, while those things might be nice, I still don’t feel that they’re a necessity.

Because, as a lifelong gamer who has been enjoying video games almost since the dawn of their time on this planet, I’ve seen that the obsession with stuff like frame rate and resolution is very much a recent phenomenon — and as such I find it very difficult not to take the perspective that if something works and is still enjoyable, how smoothly it runs really doesn’t matter all that much.

That “is still enjoyable” part is important, though; there are absolutely genres that benefit from smooth movement, such as shoot ’em ups and platformers, where precision, accuracy and responsiveness are paramount. Racing games are often thrown into this category also — though I’d personally argue perhaps to a lesser degree, since there are numerous excellent racers from past console generations that happily pootle along around the 25-30fps mark and are still perfectly enjoyable.

Deathsmiles on Switch
For games where performance really does matter — like shoot ’em ups, say — the Switch still handles things with ease.

My point is simple: the Switch provides experiences that I enjoy, that look and run perfectly fine — and which are still noticeably superior to things that appeared in previous generations. As a lifelong gamer, that is absolutely enough for me. But here’s the thing: what the Switch provides for me doesn’t stop there.

As someone who grew up with previous generations of console hardware, it’s frustrating when I learn about games I missed out on from back in the day, only to discover that the astronomical inflation of retro game prices has made them completely inaccessible in their original form without resorting to piracy. I’m certainly not above the questionable acquisition of games with which to populate my PC emulation library and dedicated devices such as the Anbernic Win600, but I always, without fail, greatly prefer it when I can pick up an officially licensed boxed rerelease for a modern platform.

It’s nice to have copies of games like Shantae, SaGa Frontier, Legend of Mana and Rhapsody on my shelf, because I didn’t own them back in the day — and, despite knowing how much I’d enjoy them, I am absolutely not paying the absurd prices charged for their original versions on the second-hand market today. And there’s no reason to; you buy a second-hand (probably reproduction) copy of Shantae and not one penny of that is going to WayForward; all it’s doing is lining a reseller’s pockets.

Conversely, if I buy something like Nippon Ichi’s amazing Prinny Presents NIS Classics double-packs, I’m not only acquiring myself legitimate copies of games that I’d previously assumed would forever be “out of reach”, I’m also sending a clear message that I want to see more stuff like this.

Rod Land on Switch
As well as modern releases, I can enjoy a wealth of retro titles on Switch — and take them with me when I leave the house.

And what do all these amazing rereleases have in common? That’s right, they’re all on Switch — often exclusively. Couple that with the fact that there’s a vast number of arcade and Neo Geo games available as downloadable titles, plus the lineup of games available through the Nintendo Switch Online subscription — though I’d prefer an option to buy all those games outright, personally — and you have a console that is an amazing device for both modern and retro gaming, all in one place. And you can take it on the go with you. You don’t even have to rely on the sucky Joy-Con controllers when you do so.

In light of all that — and in light of the gaming experiences I personally enjoy — it’s really hard to get uppity about things like frame rate and resolution, when it’s much more fun to get excited about both the brand new games I can enjoy and the retro experiences I can finally have “legitimate” access to without paying through the nose.

And this isn’t even getting into the platform’s well-documented succeeding of the Vita as the console platform of choice for titles on the more ecchi side of life

The Switch provides a very specific gaming experience — one that very much resonates with my personal preferences as a lifelong gamer. And I don’t see that changing any time soon.

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Pete Davison
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