Recently I played Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope on the Nintendo Switch. the original Mario + Rabbids was one of my favorite Switch games. So far, this new entry is even better, adding more chaos and depth to the already excellent tactical action of the previous game. But after owning a Steam Deck for a few months, switching back to the Switch has been difficult, especially as more and more new games run poorly on Nintendo’s aging handheld.
Since its release in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has become one of the most successful consoles in history. In August, Nintendo announced it has sold over 111 million Switch consolesplacing him comfortably in the top five best-selling consoles of all time, second only to Sony’s PS4. Meanwhile, Valve Vapor Bridge didn’t sell as well, but the new laptop is causing a stir among gamers as it allows gamers to take most of their large Steam library with them on road trips and extended restroom breaks. It also resembles the Switch Pro we haven’t received yet, allowing me to easily play 60fps games on my couch. Meanwhile, the Switch struggles to run new games like Bayonet 3. As such, I find it hard to return to Nintendo’s console in 2022.
Don’t get me wrong, I go back, but not as often as I used to, because of Nintendo exclusives. games like Luigi’s mansion 3Rabbids + Mario, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land all bring me back to the Switch as there is no way to play these games anywhere else. (Well, there are, but Nintendo doesn’t like people talking about that…)
And generally I don’t mind returning to the Switch (or previous Nintendo consoles) to play their fantastic range of exclusives; Nintendo’s own games generally ran well on its own hardware, although other developers struggled. Unfortunately, lately, it seems even Nintendo’s own exclusives are having trouble with aging Switch hardware. Bayonet 3 spins like shitand even my beloved Rabbids + Mario the suite whistles during certain sequences.
(The recent Pokemon Scarlet and Purple are infamous broken too, though that’s more down to poor optimization than the Switch’s aging hardware.)
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In years past, I could usually forgive some performance issues, as Switch allowed me to play new games on a completely portable console. How cool was that? (Very cool!) But now in 2022 I have the Steam Deck and it offers the same portability but with much better performance. Recently I played Alan Wake on deck and it runs brilliantly at 60fps with only minor tweaks. Meanwhile, Alan Wake on the switch…well, it’s not such a smooth experience, no half. And like the Switch, I can plug the Deck into my TV or monitor and play all my favorite games on the big screen. But unlike the Switch, many of these games support keyboard and mouse, multiple gamepads, mods, and cross-progression with other consoles. Valve’s sleek little PC makes the Switch look increasingly antiquated.
Sure, more expensive hardware just released this year is going to outperform Nintendo’s aging tablet/console from 2017. But even if it doesn’t seem fair to compare them, it’s impossible not to. And today, all I can think about while playing the Switch is how much better all those great games would look on a more powerful device like the Steam Deck. The Switch 2 or Switch Pro or whatever Nintendo calls its follow-up console can’t come soon enough. Also, I really hope it supports the entire existing Switch library, and with better performance than the current Switch. Otherwise, well, the Steam Deck will continue to win more and more of my playtime. It’s just a better experience now.