Welcome to Nintendo Switch (Christmas 2017 edition)

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Welcome to the hybrid family.

Hey, you’ve just been given a Nintendo Switch for Christmas! Congratulations! If you’re unsure of the ins and outs of your new console, we’ve got you covered.

The console

The Switch its the new kid on the block, released in March of this year. It’s very Nintendo — unique and quirky. Thankfully (and unlike the Wii U), it’s also amazing.

The best part about the new handheld-home console hybrid is that it’s great at home and on the go. Long story short, most titles run in 720p on the Switch’s handheld screen and 1080p on your TV when docked.

There are a variety of gameplay configurations that can be used, some using the console’s colorful Joy-Con controllers, and some not. In proper handheld mode, you’ll strap a Joy-Con to either side of the Switch’s screen and play away. The Joy-Cons can be unclipped — hit the small, circular button on their backs to do this — and held in your hands while you’re still enjoying playback on the Switch’s screen; conversely, a Pro controller can be paired and used in this fashion instead. The Joy-Cons or a Pro controller can also be used while your Switch is docked and gameplay is projected to your television.

The Switch is powered through a USB-C outlet at the bottom of its screen. The console comes with a spare USB-C cable that’s meant to connect it to a Pro Controller; that cable can be used to charge your console when on the go. In this case, it’s easiest and fastest to connect the USB-C to a power adapter (like the one that comes with your iPhone, as an example) and plug it into a wall.

The Switch also supports Nintendo’s popular amiibo figurines, with readers inside Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers alike.

Ben did a tremendous job of fully detailing the Switch in his review — you should definitely check it out.

Interface and console-specific features

There’s not much to the Switch UI — games are represented as squares on your home screen. If you’re playing a bunch of games, it’s very smart to invest in a MicroSD card to increase the console’s meagre storage capability.

The left-hand Joy-Con has a square button that can be used to capture screencaps (all games) or gameplay videos (on a game by game basis) thanks to a recent update.

At the moment, online play is included with the console for free, though Nintendo does plan to charge users much like Microsoft’s Xbox Live or Sony’s PlayStation Network. Free retro NES and SNES games will be offered to subscribers when the feature goes live.

If you want to use the console’s voice chat, be prepared for a headache — it’s a nightmare.

Games

In the lead up to the holiday season, the Switch has had a host of games ported to it, including The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, DOOM, Resident Evil: Revelations and Revelations 2 and much, much more.

While Nintendo fans are used to Virtual Console offerings, the Switch doesn’t actually support this type of functionality as yet. Fans — and us, admittedly — are hopeful that’ll change soon.

Additionally, here are links to the biggest Switch exclusive titles of 2017:

Enjoy your new hardware!