It’s safe to say that the Nintendo Switch has saved me from hours of excruciating boredom, and it might go down as my favorite console ever simply because of that fact.
I commute now. Every morning, I drive 10 minutes to a train station in Delaware and ride SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transport Authority) to one of the last stops in Philly. The train I catch in the morning is supposed to run an hour, while the train I catch in the evening is an express that should only run 40 minutes.
They both run for roughly 15-30 minutes longer than they should. Daily.
I’ve been told by a few other commuters that this boils down to who owns the tracks. SEPTA apparently rents them from Amtrak. When an Amtrak train needs to roll through, the SEPTA train has to pull off at a switch, wait for it to pass and then resume its travel. That’s what tacks on time for the train.
If you talk to anyone from the Philly area about SEPTA, you’ll almost always hear about how it sucks. Last year, a fault was discovered in a batch of train cars that actually forced SEPTA to dismantle their line, rent cars from other companies and completely screw everyone’s schedule up. The trains, I’ve been told, routinely ran hours and hours late.
What’s my point with all of this? If anyone stands to serve as a perfect test subject for the beauty of the Nintendo Switch and the morning commute, it’s me. I’m their demographic, as the Switch has become a mainstay for my roughly two hours of train riding per day. Since release, almost exclusively on my commute, I’ve dumped something like 30 hours into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
The Nintendo Switch has proven, every single ride, that it’s a quality investment for those who game and have time to kill. Now, I totally think this console has its merits at home, too, but the platform is an absolute stud on the train. The battery life has been solid enough to get me through around two days before it kicks off a warning, and I play at around 70 percent brightness with headphones.
Its instant sleep feature, the absurdly quick boot-to-play time and how comfortable it is to hold makes the Nintendo Switch a winner on the train, too. If I need to move quickly, like if my stop comes up faster than I thought it would, the system powers down just as fast as snapping my 3DS’ clamshell shut.
Which brings me to my next point: the Switch has replaced my 3DS as the standard daily carry in my life. My Nintendo 3DS, with my collection of outstanding games, used to go with me everywhere. On short trips, long holidays and wherever I expected to sit and wait, I’d have the 3DS with me. The Nintendo Switch now fills that void.
When the console first released, it was met with a critical reception that ranged from mixed to poor. I disagree with all of that. The system and its games are beautiful, and Nintendo’s once again managed to do more with less console power, and the result comes in the form of rock solid software.
As titles like Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade, Splatoon 2 and more join the slowly growing ranks of software, I’ll have less and less reason to put the system down.
My only gripe right now is that I need to pony up the cash for extra storage. The paltry 32GB within the system has worked fine for what I have, but I’m one or two games away from cresting that upper limit. I’ll need to pick up a large capacity card to keep going digital for commuting purposes.
I get that Nintendo had to cut some costs and they decided on-board storage was one way to do that, but it’s still a bummer. In the grand scheme of things, though? It’s a minor complaint to have.
At least the system accepts non-proprietary cards, right, Sony? No?
I didn’t think I’d say this, but I can’t wait for my next SEPTA ride.