Full disclosure, I’ve never been much of a gamer. I never thought to invest in a gaming system of my own, but after spending what seemed like weeks reading Nintendo Switch reviews, I decided to give in. I spent months watching friends design islands on Animal Crossing and — after having some major FOMO — it was time to try the hype for myself.

Whether you’re attending a virtual Animal Crossing NYE party or racing with friends via Mario Kart‘s online play, the Nintendo Switch makes hours stuck inside pass by a little more easily. This was no surprise. I knew the Switch would help fill in my social gaps during quarantine, but I never expected the relaxing mental health benefits it would also give me in return. After a day of work, I now find myself winding down by peacefully tidying my Animal Crossing island or spending hours escaping into the world of Hyrule in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

While the dark, cold winter months may be almost behind us, COVID-19 has still limited the amount of IRL socializing. More often than not, plans are canceled due to rainy days and to avoid gathering indoors for extended periods of time. The quarantine group hang or party solution? The Nintendo Switch.

Where can you buy the Nintendo Switch? How much does it cost?

The classic model of the Nintendo Switch is $300 and Nintendo Switch Lite is $200. All consoles can be found at Best Buy, GameStop, Target, and Walmart. But be warned, they’re constantly still going in and out of stock, so keep your eyes peeled. 

I was originally leaning towards one of the colorful Nintendo Switch Lites since it’s about $100 cheaper and comes in four different colors. But after a lot of research, I decided to splurge for the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition of the Nintendo Switch ($300). While this edition is practically sold out everywhere now,  I went for the classic model so I can eventually game beyond handheld mode — the console’s tabletop mode and ability to connect to your TV allows for easy multiplayer gaming, so I can eventually convince my roommates to join in on the fun.

I also couldn’t resist the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition’s pastel green and blue Joy-Cons and white Nintendo Switch dock that’s decorated with an island map (if you look closely, the back of the console also has a cute island map.)

Which Nintendo Switch controls should you get?

If you’re just starting out I would recommend sticking with the Joy-Con Grip — a simple device that comes with the Switch and allows you to convert your Joy-Cons into a more traditional controller. If you want to switch up the look of your Nintendo Switch you can also buy individual Joy-Con controllers and Joy-Con straps in a variety of color combinations to totally customize the look of your Nintendo Switch.

However, if you want to step up your gameplay, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller ($70) is a must for every Switch owner. A more traditional gaming controller, the Pro Controller is wireless and fits nicely in your hand so you can comfortably play your favorite games for hours.

PowerA Joy Con Comfort Grips

What is the battery life?

If you plan on gaming solely on your TV, battery life is something you won’t have to worry about as the console will always be attached to the dock. But handled users should still rejoice—on a full charge, the Nintendo Switch’s battery life should last you anywhere from 4.5-9 hours, depending on which games you’re playing. For example, according to the Nintendo website, the battery will only last approximately 5.5. Hours for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Should you buy extra storage?

The Nintendo Switch has 32GB of internal storage, some of which is already taken up by the system itself. If you plan on using physical copies of your games, this space should last you a while. But if you plan on downloading games straight from the Nintendo Game Store, you might want to swing for a micro SD card, as many of the most popular Nintendo Switch games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Pokémon Sword and Shield and take up to 10-13GB of space each.



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