The home of Sweaty Spice, the 'other' Spice Girl

I needed a little retail therapy and I last had a portable gaming console with the original Sony PSP, and I have been jonesing for some on the go gaming action.

I have had my eye on the Nintendo Switch for a while. I enjoy playing my retro Nintendo 64, but the only screen it plays on these days is a really crappy Samsung TV with an analog tuner that I use for my Atari 130XE. It is an LCD panel that mimics the performance of a CRT tube, even to the aliasing and colors.

But the Nintendo 64 really looked mediocre on it. Sure, there are some mods to convert the N64 console to an up-res’d HDMI port, but they are rarer than hen’s teeth, and they are not simple to add, requiring the soldering of a ribbon cable to an ASIC on the motherboard, and some minor case modifications.

I was willing to go down that path, but the last small batch that a reputable vendor received sold out almost instantly, and the cost of the mod ($220 + tax and shipping) and the professional installation (I used to be a decent solderer, but, my eyes are sucking real bad these days, the professional installation would add $100 to that) so I was looking at $320+ shipping the console two ways.

So, I was tempted into the realm of the official, modern Nintendo handheld.

I was tempted back when the OLED version was released late last year, but of course they were sold out everywhere (and the older non-OLED version as well). I just forgot about it until last week when I failed to acquire an upgrade mod for my N64.

I checked the Nintendo store, and the OLED was backordered. I checked Amazon, and they said “early August”. On a lark, I checked Best Buy, and they had them in stock, and plenty of them. I toyed with the idea for a couple of days, then I just pulled the trigger. I ordered it for pick up at my local Best Buy, and got it today around lunch time.

Unboxing it was simple, it had about a half charge (that is pretty typical for battery powered devices) so I could do the initial setup. A few days ago I created a Nintendo account, so I was partially prepared.

Setting it up was easy. I connected it to my wireless router, and did the initial setup. One wrinkle was that I had to skip linking it to my Nintendo account as it required a software update, but it was easy enough to do the update and then link the account.

Of course, out of the box, it had nothing, so I needed to go shop for some fun. What do you think was my first buy?

If you guessed the original Doom, you get a gold star.

In fact I bought the bundle, Doom, Doom II, Doom64, Doom3, and the 2016 version of Doom.

They installed fine, although I will kill the built in 64G of storage, so I will probably need to add an SD card.

I have played though about half of the first episode of the classic Doom, and the screen is crisp and delicious, the controls take some getting used to, but they work about as well as playing on my Xbox One. Very playable, but not natural if you are a keyboard+mouse player.

I also bought a classic scroller on sale, and am going to beat my head against that wall for a while, having fun all the way.

The Nintendo Store

As these are often bought by parents for their kids, there are parental controls to allow fine grained control. Not that I need that. Also, to buy Doom, an adult game for “Mature Audiences” I had to provide my date of birth.

Whereas most stores will just take a credit card, and allow you to buy willy nilly. As an adult, I am usually disciplined about my purchases, but I have read about parents being astounded that their children have run up hundreds to thousands of dollars in bills on app stores for Apple, or Google.

The Super Mario 3D World Game Poster image
A game I will have to buy

Nintendo is a bit different. You have to deposit money into an account, in increments of $20, $50, or $100. Not that you can’t spend more than that, but it behaves like a stop order, and limits the damage of a youngster.

I will admit that it is pretty cool, and a rational way to handle purchases.

Delivery of Content

You have the option of electronic delivery (download directly) or physical media. The physical media is an SD-Card that contains the software. If you are a luddite, and there are plenty of them, you can buy the media.

Alas, I have finally embraced the electronic delivery model. It works well, downloads are fast enough, and I think Nintendo is not too likely to go dirtbag on you and shutdown.

Built in Storage

The classic and lite version of the Switch has 32G of flash storage onboard, and the OLED has 64G. That seems like it is ample, but my quintet of Doom games pretty much killed it all.

I have already ordered a 128G SD Card to expand the storage. The management tools seem pretty robust, and it is pretty easy to archive, and reinstall individual titles pretty quickly, assuming you have decent broadband.

Sound and Display

I can’t compare to the original, as I do not have one, but the OLED display version is a little larger, and it is bright and vibrant. The graphics are clear, crisp, and speedy.

The sound in handheld mode is pretty good. I plan on connecting it to my Bose QC45 headphones to use with it, and I found the settings area to do the Bluetooth connection.

Plugged into my Asus monitor, the sound is OK. Of course, that is the crappy built in speakers in the monitor, hardly a good platform.

I was playing with it for a few hours when I realized that it has a touch screen. Sonuva bitch, I used those damn joysticks to do all the initial data entry, and I could have just fucking used the damn touch screen.

TV Mode

The Switch comes with a dock that lets you connect it to a TV (or in my case a monitor with a spare HDMI port. Of course my monitor is a 2K monitor, so HD looks good on it, but the resolution

Overall perceptions after a day

For an impulse purchase, I am not regretting it so far. I am sure I will be buying more than a few games for it.

I will sign up for the Nintendo Online, and weigh the “Expansion Pack” extra option to get access to NES, SNES, and N64 titles.

A good time will be had by all.

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