Nintendo Switch

The extra light will be a tough sale, or you might claim it will give OLED performance to the older screens…

It seems like even if you had no plans on using it docked the standard switch would still be the way to go unless cost is a major concern. One, just on the off chance that playing in docked mode is a possibility (so many great multiplayer games on Switch that are fantastic played on the couch). And two, as others have said, if there’s an issue with the joy cons—not just joy con drift or failure, but if, say, you don’t like the button layout or the d-pad (which many say is not optimal for certain kinds of games)—you can switch them out for a different model.

Also, the catalogue of games on the Switch is fantastic so I don’t think quality of games is a problem. It might take some research to find something that appeals to you and the Switch store is not presented that well to help you discover new games the way Steam is, but with a little research that shouldn’t be too much of issue. It’s easily the best game console ever released, and I was never an especially big Nintendo guy prior to it.

Fire Emblem is pretty text heavy, and most of it is voiced, but I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate or even interesting for a four-year-old. But yeah, now that you mention it, I can’t really think of any other first-party Nintendo series that feature a decent amount of text or spoken dialogue. Maybe Paper Mario/Mario RPG?

I haven’t had issues with text legibility in handheld mode, but I’d still never recommend a Lite as your only Switch, due to all the great couch multiplayer games that you’d lose access to, and because you’d be stuck with the built-in controls.

As you mentioned, first-party Nintendo games are expensive. If you’re already looking at buying, say, 5 of them plus the system, it’s not cheap. You can think of it as comparing $500 vs. $650 to have a much nicer screen in handheld mode and the flexibility to play on the TV or swap out the controls, which benefit all of those games plus whatever else you buy down the road. If the priority is saving money, you might be better off just hunting through bargain bins for the best of whatever you missed on 3DS.

I have a lite as my only switch. It’s awesome.

The smaller form factor is nice if you use it as a mobile console. I haven’t had any problems with text on it and I have terrible eyes and progressive lenses.

You’re cheating!

So… if anyone else runs into the “joycon not working when attached” issue…

The official fixes that worked a few times in the past did not work any more.

But I docked my Switch for the first time in an age to play it… and the joycon was fine afterward. Might be coincidence, no idea.

Yeah, I suspect you’re right. Now my status just says “Delayed”.

Phew, more procrastination from me. I’m relieved.

I got the Switch Lite as a follow-up to the 3DS (since there likely won’t ever by another Nintendo dedicated handheld), so only think of it as a handheld console. I’m mostly playing single player games, lots of RPGs, so don’t really care that much about multiplayer.

While I do wish developers would consider proper text/menu scaling in their Switch games, knowing full well they will also be played handheld, there have only been a few games that have really bothered me, so far.

Heck, I wish developers would have flexible text scaling on every platform. I’ve never had an issue on Switch (6" screen held 18" away from eyes is probably roughly equivalent to a 32" TV at typical couch distance).

But I have a 42" TV that I use while on an exercise bike, and there are all sorts of games that just barely miss being legible from across the garage. It wouldn’t take much of a boost to make them work fine, but few support scaling.

This seems like a spectacularly simple thing to do, and yes it’s unfathomable that developers don’t have this available as an option.

From my limited experience with fluid/flexible/elastic web design and just general experience with graphic design and how minute size changes can throw whole layouts off, I’d say in the context of games it’s probably a huge headache. Keeping things tidy visually is one thing, but increasing the size of text will increase the space needed for descriptions which in some cases will necessitate scrolling and additional inputs. If you need to compare things then screen space becomes an issue. Some UIs are very tight/rigid before increasing the size of certain elements so that’s another potential problem with no easy fix.

I think with the Switch and soon the Steam Deck, decent scaling will steadily become more widespread but it doesn’t seem to me like an easy thing to do retrospectively. I’m not a developer though!! :-)

You’re correct. There can also be technical issues associated with font scaling - you can’t just scale up the texture and get something readable. You usually have to render out the font at a higher point size. Depending on the tech in use that may or may not be a simple thing to do.

Yeah, that was something I was going to mention but I’ve no idea how game engines treat text and icons ie. raster or vector.

Grim Dawn scales its font on PC, and man, it looks really ugly. But I still scale it up so I can read things. Sometimes I’m jealous when I look at other people’s screenshots though.

“Oh man, how come your Grim Dawn looks so much nicer than mine?”

It’s not trivial, but a lot of what you need to do to make text scaling possible overlaps with what you have to do to support additional languages anyway, since you can’t guarantee that a given block of text will take up the same amount of screen space once it’s translated. Whatever container you’re using to present text to the player should be designed to handle an arbitrary amount of text, via scrolling or pagination.

Obviously that doesn’t apply to fixed interface elements, where scaling gets more complex because they can bump into one another. But the vast majority of issues I’ve had aren’t with static elements, but with dialogue boxes, card text, help text, and the like.

You can if you use signed distance fields for text, which basically encode vector text in a bitmap and use shaders to render it. No need to render out fonts for each size.

Here’s the famous Valve paper from 2007 for anyone interested:

Of course, you are correct this is heavily dependant on Mercury Steam’s tech, and the Switch’s capabilities… :)

Oh lord I’d not thought about that! I’ll never forget doing certain designs in the past where I had to swap English copy out for various translations. Among the worst were Italian and Polish where sentences that were, say, 10 words, would end up 16 with considerably more characters too. I’m sure it depends on the sentences and indeed the translators. That totally borked some layouts though and required pretty extensive adjustments!

I was thinking more for subtitles and text overlays rather than UI elements, where increasing the fonts size would affect other things…but yeah, good points all around.

Online + Expansion Pack increases the price from $20/yr to $50/yr ($35 to $80 for families) and includes the N64 and Genesis game libraries plus access to the new Animal Crossing expansion (or $25 to buy the expansion standalone). I don’t think there’s $30/yr in added value there, personally.

The N64 and Genesis controllers are also available for purchase on Nintendo’s website.