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Nintendo Switch for Dummies


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I think this is the year we are finally buying the Nintendo Switch. Can anyone help me with a couple basic questions?

First, is this an individual gaming platform like an xbox or is it a family platform like the wii? Are the games single use, meaning they are progressive so they can't really be shared between individual players?

I am fairly certain my 14yo would get enough use out of his own Switch. I'm not sure about my 10yo and 16yo - the 10yo may be a little too young (spends less time on his xbox) and the 16yo a little to old (seems to have moved past the gaming intensive stage). All three have their own xboxes. I'm trying to decide if a family Switch would make sense, in addition to my 14yo getting his own, or if we should really buy three Switches. 

What have others done for your families? What lessons did you learn?

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My 12-year-old only daughter answered this one:

1. You can create multiple accounts for your switch. Each account will have its own progress saved on it. Creating your own account is fun! 🙂 You can create your own Mii or choose a favorite video game character from a long list.

2. Although you can create your own accounts, if you watch to use the handheld switch, only one person can use it at a time, unless you slide the two small joycons off the sides. Then two players can play using the small screen or the tv. You can also buy separate controllers to use instead of or in addition to the small joycons. The separate controllers don't need to be made by Nintendo. Most games will only allow four people to play at a time.

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It sounds like you can get away with one.  We had one for like 18 months.  Until I (age 50) discovered Animal Crossing this spring and then bought my own switch at the end of July.  That is the only game we've had where it is challenging to share a switch. For the price, I wouldn't buy 3 if it were dicey the other 2 would use them.   For a family switch, I would definitely get the one that will "switch" between the TV mode and handheld and not the switch lite.  

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My son says all of the games allow multiple accounts. Someone upstream mentioned Animal Crossing, which only allows for one island, but you can have up to 8 villagers. So our family has one island, but we each have our own character/account to play on that island. You can play individually or invite other players in to join you. Some games allow for simultaneous multi-player (Smash Bros, Mario Kart) and you may want more than one set of joy-cons, depending on the game. There’s a guide on the back of each game case. 
 

You can also play over the internet with other Switch users on certain games, but you have to have a Nintendo Online account ($20/yr single or $35/yr family—up to eight people). This also allows you access to some other things like the retro Nintendo games and you earn credit back with online purchases too. 
 

ETA:  Costco is running a deal right now on Nintendo eShop gift cards. It’s $100 worth of gift cards for $90. 

Edited by Forget-Me-Not
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I’m still really confused by the Switch. Is it primarily used on the TV or on the small screen? We have a very old Wii still in use and an Xbox. My ds uses the Xbox heavily, and I don’t know if I want to open the Switch can of worms, or not. Does it have parental controls for setting time limits, like an Xbox, or not?

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5 minutes ago, kand said:

I’m still really confused by the Switch. Is it primarily used on the TV or on the small screen? We have a very old Wii still in use and an Xbox. My ds uses the Xbox heavily, and I don’t know if I want to open the Switch can of worms, or not. Does it have parental controls for setting time limits, like an Xbox, or not?

You can use it either way. Hence the name “Switch” 😉 You can pull the joy-cons off the side and play on the TV, or you can attach them to the little screen and use it like a portable device (the caveat being that, depending on where you take it, some of the internet-linked features may not be available). 
 

It does have parental controls and they can be controlled through an app on your phone. 

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If you get the TV version, I would really recommend getting some handheld controllers.  Maybe even a couple if it is going to be used by multiple people and you want multiplayer games.  I have one of the knock off controllers and it works great and was half the price the one Nintendo sells that my son has.  

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2 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

It sounds like you can get away with one.  We had one for like 18 months.  Until I (age 50) discovered Animal Crossing this spring and then bought my own switch at the end of July.  That is the only game we've had where it is challenging to share a switch. For the price, I wouldn't buy 3 if it were dicey the other 2 would use them.   For a family switch, I would definitely get the one that will "switch" between the TV mode and handheld and not the switch lite.  

All three boys will definitely use the Switch. I just don't know at what point an individual Switch is desired vs reluctantly sharing with the family. How did you know you were at the point where you wanted/needed an individual console?

We will definitely buy the TV mode console vs the Lite handheld version.

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We have one switch and my girls both play. Sometimes they play a cooperative game; sometimes they have to take turns if they're playing with friends online (i.e. Splatoon). I'd look at an extra set of joy cons. There have been games that we've passed on because we needed a 2nd set for both girls to play together. 

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3 hours ago, 2squared said:

All three boys will definitely use the Switch. I just don't know at what point an individual Switch is desired vs reluctantly sharing with the family. How did you know you were at the point where you wanted/needed an individual console?

We will definitely buy the TV mode console vs the Lite handheld version.

So our original switch is actually my college student's.  He saved up and bought it.  So I didn't buy one until he was getting ready to leave for college this fall.  We were happily playing on animal crossing on one island.  I like that game a lot more than him anyway so it was fine.   If I were staring now, I would definitely get one to start.  You  can always add another at your next holiday if you think they'll get used.  I'd rather do that than have one just sitting around not getting much use personally, especially if they have other gaming systems and you never know what is coming out next.  

ETA and now my college student is home for a couple months (we will see!), we are in the process of setting up his switch so I will be playing animal crossing on both switches at times while he is home I'm sure.  Animal crossing is a unique game this way but isn't some  people's style.  It's slow paced, open ended, etc.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Thanks for the replies so far. I am certain I've overpaid since it looks like low supply is driving up prices, but I did buy two consoles today. If we change our minds, we can always send one back to Amazon or sell it on the black market. lol  My 14yo wants to go 50-50 for a console for his Christmas gift, so I am moving forward with that plan.

I also bought one carrying case, one screen protector, and one internet LAN adapter so we can plug one console directly into the router. If those seem like valuable items, I will have to buy a second set at a later date.

Next on to games.......

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