The Switch 'hybrid' concept has, over the course of four years, proven to be a significant and important success for Nintendo. It's not just about the sales figures and huge profits, but it's lifted Nintendo's brand back to the sort of influence last enjoyed in the days of DS and Wii, albeit the outrageous sales of both of those systems together is unlikely to be matched. Nintendo is once again incredibly popular and prominent in the mainstream entertainment space, playing a major part in setting trends and getting shop tills to ring.
The magic of Switch is arguably its flexibility - to some it's a portable, others a console, and in all likelihood most of us use it as both. Yet Nintendo's promotion of the hardware is often humorously — how to put it -- unrealistic. As my colleague Kate highlighted in their internet reacts to Switch OLED round up, Nintendo doesn't seem to know how most people play games. It's aspirational marketing, I suppose.
What's always tickled me about these commercials — right back to the original reveal in which a bunch of basketball players hang out by a court playing NBA 2K — is Nintendo's idea of how we might use the tabletop setup. Aspirational it may be, but the only thing it makes me aspire to is better eyesight, frankly.
As a thirty-something that wears glasses, tabletop mode has always been a fun, if impractical, oddity. In the early-ish days I recall wanting to test portable performance of Sonic Mania for our review and convincing my brother to play splitscreen with me in tabletop mode. In a scene that definitely wouldn't fit Nintendo's breezy concept trailers, both of us — grown-ups in our 30s — were hunched over the system attempting to play Sonic with just three inches of screen each. In hindsight, that was ridiculous.
I've made exceptions where I've gone all-in on tabletop mode, primarily in Ikaruga. If I had a Flip Grip I'd play it in handheld with that lovely TATE view, but instead I use the stand accessory I bought (the original kickstand won't allow it, nor will the new OLED one, for that matter) to play vertically, squinting at the screen as I use a Pro Controller. Sometimes a little discomfort is worthwhile for a great game.
But of course, when it comes to tabletop mode it's all about the memes. Who can forget the original trailer in which a system is taken to a rooftop party for a bit of Super Mario Odyssey? It spawned a million jokes but actually, it's not that crazy. Back in the distant past of actual social gatherings I saw a scene a bit like this play out. Sure, it was a friend's wedding in which many attendees were genuinely gaming addicts, but someone did actually whip out a Switch, at a party, for some impromptu tabletop multiplayer. I couldn't see the screen very well, mind, but it did happen.
Back in the distant past of actual social gatherings I saw someone actually whip out a Switch, at a party, for some impromptu tabletop multiplayer. I couldn't see the screen very well, mind.
Maybe that's partly why the OLED exists, because Nintendo is determined to make tabletop gaming a 'thing'! Heck, the kickstand is a giveaway, almost as if Nintendo is saying 'there, stop complaining, now go play Mario Kart in the pub'.
Okay, my tongue might be in my cheek there, but if you stand back and look at the evidence, pretty much everything about the OLED model is there to make portable and tabletop play better, with the only concession to TV players being a LAN input and a slightly curvier / better looking dock.
Can that extra screen size and a crisp, colourful OLED output help this short-sighted player re-discover the joys of tabletop gaming?
Er, maybe? Well, probably not. I certainly don't plan to go to a trendy coffee shop full of people relaxing, enjoying the ambiance and soft jazz, only to interrupt their vibe by yelling "oh you dirty son of a—" at a friend who just red shelled me in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Then again...
Maybe that improved kickstand won't get much use, but it's nice of Nintendo to think of us short-sighted glasses wearers, in any case.
To this day I just haven't encountered anyone on a plane sitting up their Switch in tabletop mode and playing with the Joy-Con detached
I've seen plenty of people bring their Switches to school or out in public but it doesn't attract nearly the amount of attention as that cookout scene like "Oh my god is that the new Mario!? Can I show my friends???"
Nobody cares about this feature outside Nintendo marketing reps.
I attempted to play Tecmo Bowl with my brother using that kickstand on our coffee table but it’s just plain crap. The Switch fell over about 5 times in 10 minutes. I have no idea who signed off on the original kickstand and thought ‘yep, that works’.
I’ve used it once when we lost electricity at Christmas and played “who wants to be a millionaire?” on it.
I tried using the kickstand just once, it doesn’t lean the console back far enough for me so the screen is too vertical to be comfortable to look at. The new kickstand will need to have a much greater range of movement for me to give tabletop mode another try.
I used tabletop mode once at a group thing at uni to play mario party across two systems (2 players on each)... then we moved it onto a TV when it became available. Outside of situations like that where there is absolutley no screen to dock to is available, tabletop is a practically pointless thing that only exists for the very, verrrrry occasional times you gotta play multiplayer not on a TV for some reason. Also the kickstands were awful so thats another reason why you never use the mode.
Well, I’m 51 and need varifocals.
My switch gets loads of use in tabletop mode. I fly a lot so use it then. I’m a teacher and often use it during wet play or after school to challenge my children with four joycons at mario kart tournaments. Also when I’m staying with my wife at her parents, I’d rather use the pro controller with the switch on the table than actual handheld.
The majority of play is docked for sure, but plenty of times it’s table top.
So just because YOU don’t use a console a certain way doesn’t mean it’s not a real world usage situation for others.
Will I upgrade? Difficult one. My eldest daughter is getting close to the point where she will be able to play simple games so I can see a scenario in the next year when I’ll pass my launch day switch to her and upgrade but not immediately.
My nephews do play in tabletop mode when adults are using on the TV. I played twice with them even. It's just like using a single joycon, it's serviceable, just not that much comfortable.
The new kickstand will be more appreciated than the extra inch as far as tabletop goes... if it comes to a revision I will buy, that is.
Not sure about others’ takes, but based on my experience, I find having to use a single Joy-Con to be the bigger issue than a flimsy kickstand.
Once in a blue moon, I really want to play something like Mario Odyssey, and the TV is tied up, and my Pro controller just feels more RIGHT than handheld mode. On those occasions, I've been known to set up tabletop mode on my computer desk and just enjoy living in the FUTURE.
Here's the thing.
There are now around 85 million Switch out there. Even if Switch breaks the all time DS install base of 155m, that means less than 1/2 of all Switch owners will have an OLED. Probably way less than half, b/c at $350 some people are still going to buy the Lite for $200 and save $150.
So, it's really too late for OLED to change anything. Maybe if it had released 2 years ago instead of the Lite.
I do think a few people may play more tabletop b/c of the kickstand and brighter larger screen, but not enough to change the Switch reality.
For the record, my kid plays in tabletop in the back seat of our car on road trips b/c he'll only play w/ his Pro b/c Joycon. And occasionally w/ his cousins when no tv is available. Kickstand and screen aren't changing that though
It does get used that way here, but it would get used more if the kickstand wasn't so flimsy and untrustworthy. The new one looks far better suited for it, but unfortunately, I'm not about to drop several hundred dollars for a better kickstand.
When travelling, my 2 younger brothers like to play in table-top mode, setting up their switch in places such as train station benches etc
This is a public nuisance. If you want to play tabletop at your personal space, fine, but in a public space, ugh. One thing nobody seems to raise though, how much will the reduction of the PPI degrade the handheld graphics (especially when some games run at 540p)? Will the OLED screen be able to offset that degradation?
It sure is great when you want it. It happens in the backseat of the car but also when on vacation. The OLED would be better. Not a big driving factor, though.
The biggest problem is that some of the best co-op games like Overcooked have small players on screen to fit it all in anyway. It's not just the small screen but the type of game. Mario Kart is pretty good, though.
OLED will make things look sweeter. That is it. If games still struggle with performance and more and more games are doing so, Nintendo need to add some more power eventually because at some stage there will be just Nintendo games and nothing more. As for table top play….meh.
No, because playing with horizontal joycons in that fashion is a joke.
On the day of release of Smash Ultimate I got the train home from uni, to make a surprise appearance at my friend group's launch party. I bumped into an acquaintance on the train, and told him of my plan. After he showed enthusiasm I whipped my Switch out in tabletop mode and we played Smash with single Joy Cons; these things do happen!
Though nothing will top the 2016 train setup of Wii U, Gamepad and GC adaptor playing doubles in Smash 4, to the bemusement of the other passengers!
People still ask about Switch on the rare occasion that I am out with it and are always interested in what games are on it. In any case, I love the framing of the questions, as if everyone has already made up their mind about it without seeing the OLED model in person. That difference in screen size could actually be noticable, but you won't know until it's in your hands.
Tabletop mode is awesome. That’s all I’ll say.
I think the bigger improvement is the angle that it lays. Look at the basketball picture, none of those guys can actually see the screen.
The OLED kickstand looks like it will actually be pointed up to where people's eyes are which is a much needed improvement.
Every once in awhile I've tried to play on a table... But I have to recline so much that I'm practically laying down and so I give up pretty quick.
Tabletop mode is nice for if you for some reason want to play on a small screen at a distance but with a game controller that aren't a pair of Joy-Cons.
But, since my desk has my monitor on it, guess what I use instead.
I think, by 2023, the OLED model will replace the main hybrid Switch. It will make way for a "Pro" or "Switch 2" model, which I think will start the build out of the FULL Switch family: Lite, Hybrid and TV. They may be waiting until the PS5 and Xbox Series excitement dies down.
I mean I've played tabletop pretty often with friends when I'm out with them. Honestly it's a pretty useful feature for those who use it.
It's a nice idea, but a single joycon is kind of crap for most games. I can't imagine playing a competitive match of Street Fighter for instance, in that format.
I bring my Switch almost everywhere with me. I've had those times at Buffalo Wild Wings playing Switch with friends - typically short games like Mario Kart and Kirby. I remember playing co-op Shovel Knight one time in the kitchen on the counter while waiting for chili to cook. My biggest gripe is the original kickstand and I'm happy the OLED model will have that fixed. This pandemic hasn't done much for my table ambitions though as everyone I know has swapped the tabletop for an Ethernet cable.
@RupeeClock But, since my desk has my monitor on it, guess what I use instead.
I will up that one more Genki converter that my Dock plays into my computer Gaming Laptop and the graphics are better then a 6.5 display and I can see more screen play.
I do like to use the Joy Cons detached in the rare occasions I play while not on the TV, mostly because I have big hands and holding the Joy Cons while attached is awkward.
However, I agree that the idea that you'd play multiplayer in that mode for any length of time is pretty silly.
Use tabletop mode all the time on the plane. Options are good.
To clarify have a case with a built in stand….as the original kickstand it not optimal.
I think the stand will encourage tabletop play. I don't think it's cheesy at all. (I guess folk not in to video games might though lol.)
Dude, if you don't have a FlipGrip for Ikaruga, turn your TV on its side for that real arcade sensation. It's amazing!
The new kickstand is really the biggest improvement in terms of tabletop play - I’m sure anyone who has tried it would agree. I have a nifty case that doubles as an adjustable stand, but the Surface-like hinge looks fantastic. The next biggest issue before the screen in the Joy-Cons... I’ve had too many issues with multiplayer games to feel confident hosting a tabletop session with them for many kinds of games. The new OLED screen is just icing compared to these.
@TheFrenchiestFry When I first got my Switch, I took it to work and showed it off playing BOTW in handheld mode. Some of my coworkers were rightly impressed that the graphics looked that good on a "handheld" system.
Just put it to bed, this oled edition is dead in the water!
@TheFrenchiestFry I actually did that one time and funnily enough the passenger beside me was also playing switch
I played classic Doom death match with 3 other people on a job once. It was rubbish and I could barely see anything. I used the charging stand as a stand because the kickstand might as well be a toothpick.
I also played a stranger at street fighter 2 at an old job. Which was fine I guess because it wasn't split screen. Also it wasn't my Switch that I was risking falling over due to a crumby kickstand
@Lord Just put it to bed, this oled edition is dead in the water!
This is like the WiiU they made it but forgot it was already being replaced or being lost. They could've did something Great but forgot the Great.
If I ever bought the Switch OLED, then I would probably use tabletop mode more often.
The only reason why I don't use play in tabletop mode all that often right now is due to how awkwardly the Switch unit is angled once the kickstand is propped up. The OLED model fixes that.
The built-in kickstand of the original Switch had design flaws: it was flimsy and often popped off, the Switch leaned to one side when used, and it exposed your SD card. I found a plastic stand that folds flat for easy storage at Five Below a few years back. It's a $5 fix!
@ThomasBW84 "Er, maybe? Well, probably not. I certainly don't plan to go to a trendy coffee shop full of people relaxing, enjoying the ambiance and soft jazz, only to interrupt their vibe by yelling "oh you dirty son of a—" "
DO IT! Rub the little hipster's faces all over the nerdrage!
Well when considering people watch cinema movies on a mobile phone. Then yeah, tabletop is the next big thing.
I played a few minutes of BotW in table top the first week the Switch was out, just for the novelty of it, and a few rounds of Mario Kart with my kids while waiting somewhere, and that's really about it. I don't really consider table top mode 'a thing', and and extra inch of screen space doesn't change that.
@TheFrenchiestFry I'm the weirdo who did that on a plane. But after doing that, I found the one practical, useful, realistic reason to use the tabletop: Playing the Switch during transport while wearing a blanket. 10/10 would play with joycons under a blanket again.
The biggest group of gamers that play table top mode are those in the TV commercials. Nintendo seem to want to create the perfect 'Disneyesque' setting where Nintendo is all about families playing together or groups of 20 pluses having a wonderful wonderful time.
Mario is no longer a game you can play quietly on your own, you should have at least 3 others to make it fun fun fun.
Nintendo today are not the Nintendo of yesteryear. They are on a roll with the Switch Lite, but are leaving behind their oldies.
Once, while waiting for a bus in a large transport station, I saw two people huddled around a Switch in tabletop mode, using sideways Joy-Cons while playing. My jaw dropped. I often frequent a large city and I never see people play on their Switch although someone with a 3DS was a common sight in the past.
I primarily play docked and the rare times I don't, it's far more handheld mode than tabletop mode, and never local multiplayer. I play local multiplayer on a TV.
my 2 kids have done it on holliday me no way even wearing my glasses
Definitely have played Mario Kart 8 in the backseat of a car with friends before, however, I've played Switch mostly in handheld mode, mostly due to a communal television always being in use in our apartment. I just recently purchased a new personal TV in the hopes of getting more use out of it in docked mode with the hopes of an upgraded Switch but we all see how that went...
Guess my handheld experience will be prettier at least.
I've used it a few times with a metal tablet stand I bought specifically for this purpose. It folds out and is tall enough that it turns the Switch in tabletop mode into something like a little TV. It's very cute, and impractical if you want to actually focus on the game. But when I'm writing at my PC or watching something in my spare time, and I want to grind merc missions in XC2 at the same time, it works well.
tbh I could see myself using it quite a bit with Disgaea 6.
If Nintendo need any other new ideas there's always a front facing camera and a rear touch screen.
@nessisonett I'll be curious to see how trends evolve once that Switch is out, especially if it turns into the next base model(which sound likely if the SoC in current Switches indeed does get discontinued before the end of the year).
I can see the new kickstand definitely be an improvement(to not add how likely more durable than the old one**)
**Mine can barely stay in place anymore, though I'm glad the ball-bearing based design means I can at least still sort of insert it in it's slot compared to a plastic-only design that would likely have snapped off a long time ago.
Either way, alongside longer battery life and proper LAN connection support with the dock, I guess that's another reason I might be tempted to upgrade from my 2017 original. It still work well, but that low battery life is starting to show in handheld mode when it comes to the games I enjoy playing. Even undemanding ones barely getting 4 hours of play before a recharge kind of leave to be desired, so that 4.5-9 hours of battery life on newer models like the OLED might be a boon getting me using handheld more often than tiny bursts at home when others are watching the living room TV.
Kind of pretentious to assume you know how every switch user plays their own hardware and in what configuration. 🙄
I used tabletop mode in High School when the Switch first came out. It was pretty amazing playing MK8 in classes when there wasn't anything else to do. I've also used it on vacation as well. The stand isn't the greatest but it works!
I love tabletop mode. Just like the Octopath Traveler adverts, winding down with a snack and cup of hot tea/coffee and the Switch console set up on a table can be very cozy.
But despite my overall enjoyment of it, I definitely found the smaller screen lacking when you try to watch the screen from a distance.
The larger OLED screen will be a godsend for handheld/tabletop gaming. I'm so excited for the new model actually!
I play a lot of Tabletop Mode, it really makes the Switch shine as a home console on the go. That's why, I'll get the OLEDmaybe next year.
I use tabletop on my lunch break everyday I'm at work. And sometimes on the train with the other half.
Where’s the option
I play tabletop but play single players
But the screen isn’t that much bigger so this won’t change anything.
I could count the amount of times I’ve used tabletop mode with my hands. That being said, I have used it on a few plane rides while sitting next to a family member of friend. A game or Mario Party, Kart, Smash Bros., or even FIFA has made planes rides a lot more entertaining.
Otherwise… I think I used tabletop mode like twice outside and once in a friends room without a TV. It’s just too small of a screen to have anymore than two people crowded around. Plus if I’m playing alone in handheld mode I’d rather raise the system up toward me rather than crouch forward on a table.
I also play like 85% in TV mode so I guess it’s really not a big deal for me. I won’t be upgrading.
Honestly? Just the damn kickstand alone would make that more realistic.
I once used the Switch in tabletop mode outside of a Starbucks. Had earphones so as to not disturb the populace. Then some kid started trying to pull the earphones off and played Mario sounds loudly using his own smartphone, and that was the least of how obnoxious he became. A polite word to the staff later and he was asked to leave.
Only later did I realize what he was getting at. Incidentally, the game I was playing at the time? Steins;Gate Elite.
I use tabletop a fair amount. Primarily so that I can play without a TV but still use a pro controller or split joy con.
The whole point of the switch is its flexibility. Just because you only use one mode occasionally doesn't mean it's not great to have the option.
I used tabletop mode one time but not with the Switch's kickstand I used the Wii U gamepad's stand
I do care with Table top mode.
I used Wii U gamepad stand too to display my Switch inside the shelf and Table Top play mode.
The only way i ever used tabletop mode was me in bed, joycons left and right and the switch on my belly.
A friend and I played Mario Kart in table top mode at PAX once while we were watching a tournament! Had the switch set up on my backpack and we sat there playing! It was fun!
Not only have I done this, I've done the whole sit down with strangers and play in a coffee shop thing. Just like in the commercials. It absolutely happens.
At least it did, in Japan, before COVID.
I definitely wouldn't trust a stranger in the US now that I'm back. Not a chance.
Cheesy!? Who wrote this?
This person likely only plays 1 player or online multiplayer.
I’ve used tabletop mode during some long Dr appointments my wife has had. I set the switch on top of my car’s steering column and it works out well. Done the same thing on a handful of occasions with a pile of pillows on my lap. Beats handheld for me because my neck is a wreck and looking down gets old fast.
Legitimately setting it on a table more than two feet away is out of the question though.
Tabletop and handheld mode are super handy during a blackout. In 2019 when Excel Energy shut off our electricity due to emergency maintenance I was able to complete the three mid-chapters in Fire Emblem before the blackout is over. Not to mention we kill time by playing some multiplayer session of Battle Mode in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as well. Such fun times indeed.
Not exactly table top, but I play pinball and a few shooters vertically with a different stand…
@norwichred LOL you made me look up what is wet play. very british
@TheFrenchiestFry I’ve actually used my switch on the plane. I have also used it in a restaurant as well and a coffee shop.
@tadams587 the second model came out before Covid.
I would use it with the pro controller until the kickstand wouldn't click back in. Once it finally clicked in and stayed in, I didn't want to risk it again. If I do play table top now I use a tablet stand to hold the Switch in place. This is still very rare anyway.
I tried the tabletop feature maybe 3 times. One of those times it was in a bar. My buddy and I played Mario Kart a couple of times.
@TheFrenchiestFry Before I ever got my Switch back in 2017, I was at an airport and a 30 something man child broke out his Switch, set it up tabletop and was playing something with a Joy-Con in each hand and exclaiming, "yeah! yeah!". The way he was so blatantly obvious, I almost thought he was hired to do this to get attention. I really hope that was the case.
i use table top oftne with my kid son holiday. in trains or planes.. i don't use the original kickstand though.. have plastic one at home and use the switch bag i have on the road, which can fold as a sort of kickstand..
and flipgrip for life ofcourse for the tate mode.. makes such a difference...
@NEStalgia It is tempting
@TheFrenchiestFry I do this in the train all the time!
It's comfortable setting it up on the little desk and taking out the joycon, just resting my arms on my legs while playing, really free and relaxed!
This new stand should fix a lot of balancing problems. Most of the time I actually use my travel case to support the middle and other side while the kickstand is holding it up..
@Anti-Matter ok, Nintendo reps and the two of you.
While not technically tabletop, I sometimes rest my switch on a teddy bear while lying in bed and using a pro controller 😂.
I find that any game involving heavy use of the right stick needs to be done with a pro controller as it's nigh impossible to be accurate using the Joy Cons
I've used the kickstand a handful of times and like, I've never once had any issues with it. If you put it on a flat surface it stays in place just fine, I don't really understand how anyone has any issues with it. So an improved kickstand wouldn't really make me use it anymore than I do now.
Well I have used tabletop mode to play Samurai Shodown (censored mode!) and Mario party with my niece but that's about it. Not keen to fork out on an OLED model.
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