Switch is officially five years old now, and it's got us thinking back half a decade to our very first interactions with the little console that could. Whether we were lucky enough to get our hands on an early review unit, or marched down to our local video game emporium to pick up a pre-order, or winged it on the off-chance we'd find one on a department store shelf, there's nothing quite like the thrill of new hardware, is there?
However, five years is a long time for a console, and the OG Switch has seen two (well, two-and-a-half) new hardware versions hit the shelves since launch. The premium version is now the Switch OLED Model, and Switch Lite offers ever-more-portable gaming for people who don't like playing on the telly.
In honour of this milestone on the Switch's journey, Team NL got together to reminisce on exactly how we got our hands on our original Switch models and recount how our consoles have coped with the rigours of so many games over the past five years...
Gavin Lane, editor
For some reason I was confident I'd be able to walk into my local department store on launch day morning and just pick up a Switch off the shelf... and that's exactly what I did! I don't remember being Day One on any previous Nintendo console, so it was especially thrilling to be 'part of the conversation' at launch for once. Fortuitously, I was lucky enough to be travelling long distance every weekend in March 2017 — which definitely played a part in my Day One Switch purch' — and those 8-hour return trips on a comfortable coach were pretty special.
That OG Switch is now in the hands of another family member after I upgraded to the slightly better battery life version (I then justified a further upgrade to the sweet OLED Model because, er, I needed it for work? That's what I told myself, anyway). The original is in decent shape, I'm told, and it still holds a good battery charge.
My Joy-Con, however, aren't in fine working order; they've had their sticks replaced and replaced again several times, and I'm now at the point where I don't use them if I can possibly avoid it. I've got Hori Split pads for portable play, and the Pro Controller for docked. Joy-Con are a last resort.
Damien McFerran, editorial director
My 'launch console' is in fact the review unit we were sent by Nintendo way back in 2017, and it's still doing strong – although it's not in quite as good condition as it was five years ago.
As I reported a while back, I was one of the unlucky ones who found that, despite treating it with the kind of softness one would normally expect to show towards a tiny kitten, my Switch began to show signs of fatigue very early on in its lifespan.
I've since upgraded my Switch twice, and I'm currently rocking the OLED model. However, my original Switch is still in active use as I've given it to my son. It's literally falling apart – the back panel is cracked, the plastic over the vent is long gone and there's even a screw missing from the top of the case (I have no idea). I've also noticed that one of the Joy-Con rails no longer holds the Joy-Con in place, and the slightest tap will cause the controller to slide upwards.
So yeah, my original Switch still exists. Just.
Kate Gray, staff writer
We all know what happened to my first Switch. I took it everywhere with me for two years as I travelled, and it bears the battle scars: Joy-Con drift, screen scratches, cat bites, and a bunch of the plastic shell chipped off and lost who-knows-where. It was a sad sight, but it was because of love, not neglect, although I do wish in retrospect that I had a case.
I upgraded to a new Switch last year, and I haven't used the Joy-Con for a while — I have the Hori Split Pad, which comes with a turbo button for speeding through text boxes — so it's doing pretty well so far. Also, I don't travel much any more, so it's not rattling around in my bag.
My original Switch, poor thing, is currently lying in a drawer. But I think it might be worth something as an OG Switch, so maybe I can send it to someone who will appreciate it more than me!
Ollie Reynolds, staff writer
I was one of those who immediately pre-ordered the Switch as soon as it became available — Wii U performance be damned! I just had a feeling about Nintendo's hybrid console and thankfully it turned out to be an absolute diamond. I remember my excitement quickly turning to frustration, however, as I couldn't get the ruddy thing to connect to my Wi-Fi. I ended up fixing it, but it took a great deal of tinkering to get it functioning.
I've since bought the Switch Lite and, more recently, the Switch OLED. The Lite and the OG model have been largely left to gather dust since the OLED came into my life, and although the Lite remains in pretty pristine condition, the OG has definitely seen some better days. The Joy-Con don't properly click into the machine anymore, and both are prone to some pretty horrendous drift. The screen is still in pretty good nick, but I can barely look at the thing now after experiencing the OLED — first world problems!
It's still usable though and I'll likely give both the OG and the Lite to my nephews at some point. If they're good, that is.
Alana Hagues, staff writer
I actually wasn’t planning on getting a Switch on day one. I’d done that with the Wii U and, well, we know what happened with that console (RIP really, Wii U). So I felt a bit wary of picking up stuff on launch for a while. But on launch day, I was irresistibly tempted by an advert on a bundle deal with the Switch and a certain little launch title; The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For a long time, I couldn’t get my Switch to connect to the Wi-Fi at home, so I could only play the thing handheld if I didn’t want to play online. And gods forbid if I wanted to buy something on the eShop. I eventually hard-wired it in, but the issues were down to an old router. It was a weird issue to explain to people.
I still have that same Switch today. Clumsy hands and Joy-Con drift have been bedfellows, however, and I’m on my third pair of Joy-Cons, despite mostly playing on the TV and using a Splatoon 2 Pro-Controller. And I have to have colourful Joy-Cons, anyway, so the yellow ones rule the roost at the moment. Luckily, it’s still in one piece, with Gengar stickers and a whole lot of love, wear, and tear put into the machine. I haven’t felt compelled by the Lite, and I do have an OLED, but I want to be faithful like I have been with my GameCube, and keep hold of the first unit I bought.
Thomas Whitehead, deputy editor
My original Switch was a review unit, received at an event that also kickstarted our review of Breath of the Wild. It was pretty exciting (albeit the deadline was tight, just one week!), but also interesting when flying back up to Scotland from London. When I had to put it into the tray at airport security a crowd of Heathrow staff gathered around, quizzing me on how I had it already. It was an early sign, to me, of how popular the diminutive device would become.
It held up well for nearly four years — the tablet, not the Joy-Con controllers — but then its fan started making worrying noises. I transferred to another family member's unit when that happened (they'd bought the Animal Crossing special edition) and now I have an OLED. I still have the original though as it enjoys a well-earned retirement — unless something goes wrong with the OLED, of course.
As for my original Joy-Con, they're at the bottom of a draw in shame. The little controllers are fun and have cool touches, but those analogue sticks are still terrible; I've been through a few sets.
That's us, but after five long pleasurable years of intense use, how is your Switch holding up? Let us know in the poll below, and be sure to leave your first Switch purchase memories in the comments, too.