I totally regret canceling my Nintendo Switch pre-order

Damn you money

The blistering cold wind kept me close to the building, my arms tight against my body. I had known it would be chilly but foolishly didn’t prepare for the wind even though I would be right on the water. With two hours to kill, I attempted to strike up a conversation with the fellow to my left, eyes glued to his 3DS, but he wasn’t having any of it. Instead, the gentleman to my right, who kept calling me ‘cuz’ and calling Link his ‘ni**er,’ chatted with me as we both waited for the doors to the Nintendo Switch event to open.

I had arrived an hour earlier and saw a massive line out the door. Instinctively, I stood at the end of it. Had I not spoken with the handsome gentleman behind me, my 90 minute trip to San Francisco would have been all for naught. I needed a bracelet, and when I finally found the person in charge of handing them out, I got one of the last 15 available for the final showing of the day. With a literal sigh of relief, I stood with my back against the Festival Pavilion building and listened to the muted sounds of Rihanna that managed to escape whenever somebody cracked open a door. 

The stop was the last on the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour before the console’s official launch this Friday. I had been determined to make it to one of these showings since a regretful evening last month. Back then, I was elated to get one of the few Nintendo Switch units available for pre-order on Best Buy. It wasn’t the one with the colorful Joy Cons that I wanted and apparently, all of the Destructoid staff hates, but it did guarantee that I would have mine on day one along with that $100 edition of Breath of the Wild.

A day or two later, I was distraught as I had to cancel that pre-order because of my stupid landlord. My financial and living situation had switched so dramatically, that instead of spending my hard-earned money on myself, I had to save it up to move out, something I had just done a week earlier. Again, stupid landlord. Don’t worry, I’m still getting that $100 Breath of the Wild set.

So with the promise of a Switch no longer in my immediate future, I had to find a way to try it out for myself and the Preview Tour offered what would probably be the only chance for me to do so. I woke up at six in the morning, hopped on a bus, then a train, then a Lyft, and made my way to Fort Mason on the north side of San Francisco where I was treated to a gorgeous view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. As I stood in line and listened to the men on my left and right describe highly detailed strategies for Fire Emblem Heroes, I thought about the previous previews Destructoid had already published about the Switch. More specifically, I thought about the reactions to the controls.

The Joy-Con controllers are weird, and they’re something new for me as they kind of combine the Wiimote and the Nunchuk into a single unit. I discovered they are just as small in person as they look on YouTube and can absolutely see a big dog mistakenly eating one of these if you’re not careful. Many of the comments I’ve seen have been about how the Joy-Con are too small and the grip is not comfortable to hold. But I’ve heard similar complaints about many of Nintendo’s controllers, all the way back to the Nintendo 64 and not once have I ever had an issue with them. The N64 controller worked, the GameCube controller worked, the Wii controllers worked, and the Wii U tablet is a damn fine controller if you ask me. Naturally, I had to try it out for myself.

When 12:30 rolled around and my group was finally welcomed into the pavilion, we were told once again to line up as the seemingly mandatory “Seven Nation Army” blared over the sound system. After a bit of hyping us all up, I was finally let into Switch space. Looking like the most dope office for a tech startup that will burn through all its VC funds in a month, the space practically vomited fun all over you. There were stations for more than a dozen games, comfortable chairs, snacks, Switch bottled water, glowing lights, and friendly looking event assistants dressed in matching bright red shirts. I was the fourth one in the door, and after taking a quick spin around the room, I made a b-line for Splatoon 2.

Set up in the corner of the room, it was my first chance to try out the Pro Controller. The horrifically overpriced unit felt good in my hands though a bit light. I thought it felt somewhat cheap compared to my PlayStation 4 controller, but when I got home I found they both had the same lack of heft.

Splatoon 2 was a quick two rounds and then it was off to my next game. Foolishly, I headed to Disgaea 5 Complete. Not to knock the game, because I’m sure it can be fun, but it is not a good game to demo when you only have 90 minutes to play. I’m glad I did, however, because it gave me my first hands-on with the Joy-Con. I was given the option to hold the Joy-Con individually like the Wiimote and Nunchuk or to place them in the grip. I opted for the former. Though small, they both felt comfortable in my large hands and I had no issues adapting to them. By the time I gave up on the demo due to time, it was as though I had been using the Joy-Con for years.

I actually didn’t have too many opportunities to try out the controllers and the Joy-Con Grip. Most of the demo stations had the Pro Controller. I could have tried it with Arms or 1-2 Switch, but I never got around to standing in those lines. Instead, I headed to Snipperclips, the co-op puzzle game that is now a launch title. As I came to the event stag, I was teamed up with one of staff members to tackle the demo this time using just one Joy-Con. Turned sideways like a classic controller, I again had no issue with it. It felt fine in my hands, though I worry about one aspect.

I tend to grip my controllers with all of my hand and throughout the Snipperclips demo, my palm was pushing in the right trigger button that is used when both Joy-Con are acting as a single controller. I wonder about the dexterity of this trigger button because I can totally see myself using a single Joy-Con whenever I am given the opportunity to. Sure, I probably won’t use it for games like Street Fighter II or Breath of the Wild, but I for damn sure will be with 2D platformers.

The first opportunity I had to use the Switch as a portable device came when I stopped by the Splatoon 2 booth for a second round. This was probably the only time the controls felt weird to me, and I’m not quite sure if that’s Nintendo’s fault or that of the event. To keep people from stealing a Switch, all the portable versions had a lock on them that added weight to the screen but not to the attached Joy-Con. This was the only time I thought the Switch could have an issue, but this could also just be because of the lock. If not, it will no doubt take a little time to acquaint me with the weird weight distribution.

90 minutes flies by fast. In that time I wasn’t able to play Breath of the Wild (but it sure looked goddamn gorgeous) nor did I get any time with Mario Kart or Fast RMX. I did play a few rounds of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, which I don’t ever see myself buying when I already have a perfectly good Street Fighter II on Virtual Console, and Super Bomberman R, which just looks chintzy but plays like, and this is going to shock you, a Bomberman game.

When I stood in line waiting for the event to open, the people leaving the previous showing kept saying “It was worth the wait” and “You’re going to love it.” Sure, there was one group of guys who said that it was a waste of time, along with a guy who asked me for my bracelet, then asked if I thought I could defend myself if he tried to take it from me forcibly, which was weird. Anyway, when I left the event, there was no line waiting, no more shows. But had there been, I too would have told them that it was worth the wait and they’re going to love it.

About The Author
CJ Andriessen
Editor-at-Large – CJ has been a contributor to Destructoid since 2015, originally writing satirical news pieces before transitioning into general news, features, and other coverage that was less likely to get this website sued.
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