Hannukah Harry Needs Some Guidance: Nintendo Switch & Wii U
July 9, 2019 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Need advice on what to get with Nintendo Switch to make my children happy and leverage all my Wii U stuff.

Conversation at breakfast
Youngest [9-year-old]: So a prophet is God's Google Translate. OK. Oh yeah, Oldest and I have agreed that we want a Nintendo Switch.
Me: You should talk to Hannukah Harry.
Youngest: I don’t know Hannakah Harry’s Number! I don’t know how to text him! YOU know his number! You know his number! You text him later.

Well, both children's birthdays are in October so this would kill two birds with an electronic stone. So here are my questions:

1) What are the list of items I need to get to allow three children to play the Nintendo Switch in both TV and portable mode? Be real specific because I will be looking at used items as well to get this done by October.

2) Is there a way to leverage my Wii U stuff with the Switch? I hate the thought of having all that stuff and not being able to use it. The kids have been good about using it and we did get our money's worth out of it.

3) What extras would you throw in for the shopping list?

4) Games you recommend for a child very heavy into Pokemon and the other who really likes playing Super Smash Brothers.

As you can tell, I don't game at all. I wish to avoid getting an item then finding out, "oh, you need this item to do that" moment and then much grumbling to the store.

I don't know if it makes a difference but I am in Australia but I understand the Switch is region free so that shouldn't bite me, I guess.
posted by jadepearl to Shopping (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get 3 sets of joy cons for sure and an extra charging dock for them.
The games are mostly downloadable.
There is a new pokemon game coming out in November but there is an existing one too.
posted by k8t at 5:35 PM on July 9, 2019

About the only thing you can leverage from your WiiU to the Switch is amiibo. So you may be in a situation where you have both systems living side-by-side for a while if you don't want to buy titles like Mario Kart or Breath of the Wild all over again which isn't bad because they can both be used simultaneously - my son will be playing Breath of the Wild on our WiiU while my daughter is playing Pokemon on our Switch, but they're both on the same sofa in the living room.

If you want multiple kids to play on the same Switch you'll have to get multiple controllers, and the controllers are $$$.

Pokken Tournament is a Pokemon fighting game. You may already have it for the WiiU. If not it is a fun title and may satisfy both the Pokemon and Smash Brother fans.

If you are someone who will sell your used games then avoid getting downloaded games as I don't think you can sell them.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:09 PM on July 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Switch comes with everything you need to play on the TV and in portable mode right out of the box. You need an HDMI cable to connect the switch to your TV.

Sadly, there's no compatibility between Switch and Wii U in terms of games or hardware.

I might buy a Switch Pro controller as an accessory. The Switch comes with two joycons, and most multiplayer games are set up so that each joycon functions as a separate controller.

Game recommendations: Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu (not a typical Pokemon game, the next "normal" Pokemon game for Switch will be Pokemon Sword and Shield, which will be released in November), Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Party

Edit: Glad to see someone mentioned Pokken Tournament

If one of the kids is 10 or older ( or younger and unusually patient for that age), Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is one of the best experiences I've had gaming in years.
posted by Chuck Barris at 6:14 PM on July 9, 2019

The Switch normally comes with a dock for the TV, so you don't need anything additional for that.

It only comes with the two small controllers (called Joy-cons) that are attached to the Switch on each side for portable mode. These can be used individually [separately] (for two players), but they're hard to use, especially for competitive games. They're also different, so there will be a "good" one and a "bad" one.

Joy-con pairs are quite expensive, and also have a bad reputation for reliability. Most people get the Pro controller, which cannot be attached to the Switch in portable mode, for playing on the TV. The Pro controller is cheaper, larger, and easier to hold. There are third-party controllers but they don't have a great reputation.
posted by meowzilla at 6:15 PM on July 9, 2019

1) For three players simultaneously, your best bet is 3 sets of Joy Cons; each set is a pair, two similar looking left and right controllers.

Some 3+ player games, especially some of the casual/party games, will let each player use just one Joy Con (a left or a right), so you could squeak by with a couple sets of Joy Cons.

Beyond controllers, you'll need the Switch itself (which is basically just a touch-screen tablet, which a couple Joy Cons can slide into), and a charger cable. That's enough to play with it in undocked mode, either with controllers attached and someone holding it up, or with controllers detached and just propping it up somewhere temporarily as a display for folks to crowd around.

For playing on TV, you'll also need the dock the Switch ships with (which can also operate as a charging station, though you can charge the Switch directly in portable mode too) and an HDMI cable to hook it to.

The system's one game at a time, one screen at a time, so the kids won't be able to e.g. play one game on the tablet and a different one on the TV.

2) Not really, nope. They made a clean break on peripherals and games libraries. There's some very hacky ways to kinda use a wiimote, but I've never seen anybody doing it other than for the sake of proving it was technically possible.
posted by cortex at 6:16 PM on July 9, 2019

1) The Switch comes with its dock and IIRC necessary cables. We may have needed an HDMI but that's easy to check. 5 minute setup and our TV's not that new.
2) We bought an extra set of joycons and then added two corded Switch Pro controllers on Amazon and that was The Best Thing even if an added expense. The joycons are made for people with little hamster hands (but we still use them for motion-based games like Just Dance). If adults want to play at all, you want a couple Switch Pro controllers.

You definitely *need* Mario Kart 8. Probably also Splatoon.
posted by nkknkk at 6:27 PM on July 9, 2019

1) Out of the box the Switch will have one pair of Joycons (with a left side and a right side). They attach to the main body of the Switch for portable use. They can also be separated from the main body of the Switch and can be used as one controller (as a pair) or as two controllers (player one uses left, player two uses right).

For three children to all play together at the same time, you will need to buy at least one more controller. This additional controller can either be an additional pair of Joycons or a more-traditional-shaped controller. If you choose to get an additional pair of Joycons, this brings your household's total number of controllers to four (when using the left and right Joycons as separate controllers).

Depending on your kids' preferences and/or your budget you might consider getting at least three more-traditional-shaped controllers. These controllers tend to be more comfortable to hold and provide better control, particularly for quick-paced, competitive games like Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart. I would echo others in recommending the official Nintendo Pro Controller but I know they're pricey. The third-party more-traditional-shaped controllers might still be preferable to only using Joycons, depending on your kids' preferences.

Aside from controllers, you should have everything you need to use the Switch right out of the box.

3) I'd suggest joystick/thumbstick grips for any controllers you end up with (including the pair of Joycons that come with the Switch). They're inexpensive, typically silicone caps to put on the top of the joysticks. They help prevent wear and tear on the original texture of the joystick and can be changed if/when they start to wear out.

You might also consider a case and/or a screen protector for the Switch if you might be using the Switch a lot on the go.
posted by heywheresperry at 7:15 PM on July 9, 2019

Some notes from letting my kids (3 and 6) use the Switch:

- Cheap "pro" style controllers are great. PowerA and Hori make the best ones. Wired is okay (as you are only going to be using this type of controller at home with the TV), but you might want a generic USB hub if you get more than two wired controllers.
- Rubber caps/covers for the joy-cons. The included rubber is not glued down, and it's a pain to fix if it gets pulled up.
- You probably don't need extra joy-cons unless you definitely are going to have three or more playing while out and about. You don't need a joy-con charger unless you get extras, as the Switch will charge them as it charges.
- Joy-Con grips are a nice thing to have, as it makes the controllers much more comfortable to use. You can get away with the included straps.
- The joy-cons are really fragile. They're expensive to replace, but they're designed to break off the console when dropped or whatnot. This breaks the joy-con buckle, a little bit of plastic which keeps the controller locked in place. You can buy replacements made of metal if this happens, and it's a really simple job to replace this part. (Other repairs are more involved.) The metal buckles last slightly longer, but still tend to be the weakest part in drop scenarios. I've been happy with them.
- A tempered glass screen protector is both cheap and a decent way to prevent screen damage. It's not perfect. The sides and back of the Switch can get a bit beat up.
- Some protective cases can be left on the Switch and are slim enough to be docked with the Switch. Most of the time, these cases are too big for a travel case. Some protective cases have corresponding travel cases.
- My kids have *lost* the switch for weeks at a time. Consider attaching something like a Tile Slim to the back of it. With a slim tracker, it still fits in the dock.
- Most of the games are downloadable. You'll need a large micro SD card. Over 128gb is ideal.
posted by Anonymous Function at 9:46 PM on July 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Nintendo just announced a Switch Lite for $100 less. You don't want to get one of these, since it can't connect to the TV. Most of the advice above doesn't apply to the Switch Lite.
posted by meowzilla at 8:59 AM on July 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'd actually consider a pair of Switch Lites - that will let the Pokemon kid poke and the Smash Bros kid smash with a minimum of argument.

Back of envelope math - A Switch is $300 and comes with a mount and two JoyCons. You'd then need to get a second set of JoyCons ($70) and a charging dock for them ($20). Playing on the TV also means you'll want a pair of grips for the two controller sets ($10 each). That's $410.

A pair of Lites would be $400. Games could be swapped out between them and you'd avoid arguments over who has access to the TV/Switch at a given time. We have the back-of-envelope setup from above and my son, who is turning 9 this month, rarely uses the Switch on the TV, preferring to Minecraft in handheld mode (while streaming videos of other people playing Minecraft on a tablet - we may have created a monster).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:14 AM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I got a Switch on launch day and love it. My kids like it too. But...

My kids have also been asking me to buy a WiiU again, after I traded ours in for Switch accessories. They miss NintendoLand and a few other WiiU titles.

The Switch and WiiU don't interact at all, but I'd recommend keeping both in the house in case your kids get nostalgic like mine.
posted by tacodave at 2:22 PM on July 10, 2019

If you go down the multiple switch route, you can log them both into the same account to share purchases. Here's some notes on that:

The Switch has interesting behavior with two consoles logged into the same account.
One becomes the "primary" and can always play downloaded games.
Another Switch on the same account can:
- Always play physically purchased games, online or offline, *except* for the DLC/expansions, which behave like other downloaded games.
- Can play downloaded games from the same account only if it has an internet connection.
- The internet connection is also used to see if the "primary" Switch is in-game or not. If it's playing any game, the second switch cannot play downloaded games/DLC.
- The "primary" switch can be put in airplane mode to enable the second switch to start a game. If the primary is brought on-line, the secondary's active game is suspended almost immediately.
- You cannot abuse this system to play two copies of the same game for local wireless. (At least, I haven't had any success with it.)

The primary can be switched back and forth by clicking a button in the store of Switch #1 and logging in with Switch #2.

There's also some fun behavior around multiple profiles on either switch I don't have a good grasp of.
posted by Anonymous Function at 2:23 PM on July 10, 2019

By the way, I did have an issue with a thumb pad deteriorating on one of my wired controllers (not the joycon). A little sugru made a new pad and actually it's way more comfortable than the other one. YMMV.
posted by nkknkk at 3:04 PM on July 10, 2019

There's not much you can do to leverage the Wii U with regards to the Switch itself, however I recently ran through this process - https://wiiu.hacks.guide/

It's complex but not difficult and opens up a lot of other potential for the Wii U itself.
posted by radiosilents at 9:32 AM on July 12, 2019

If you have WiiU pro controllers there are adapters you can get for the Switch to use them. I got one today and it seems to work pretty well.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:40 PM on July 22, 2019

To relieve the tension of this question here is the epilogue:

Youngest successfully did the shakedown on Grandma. Who is now Hannukah Grandma for her insane generosity to the children.

Anyway, here is the purchase list after everyone's excellent advice

* One Nintendo Switch, 2nd generation. We went with Amazon on this because Gumtree/Craiglist was asking for more than retail.
* Extra pair of joy-cons especially after experiencing trying to use just one pair with three children. Waited until November since I am not a fan of hot pink/neon green
* Two wireless pro controllers. Wireless because I am limited in space, electric plugs, and all that. Further, my children are overly vigorous during gameplay
* Two single joy-con holders (eh, cheap and inexpensive UI enhancement)
* Two joy-con set holders. One chargeable. Again, UI enhancement for joy-cons
* Extra memory SDHC card
* Kept the WiiU because trade-in was only $30 Australian, which is ~20 USD. All that infrastructure...Anyway, the kids or maybe someone else would rather have it.
* Will get the adapters mentioned above when I get back to the US because AmazonAU
blows on price and availability
*Got thumb pad covers BUT will buy way more when in the US because AUD 16 is outrageous
* Got a complete portable kit by Orzely which included the glass screen protector
* The only thing left are the metal replacement pins because yeah, the joy-con clips don't look robust to me; sugru; and other bits and bobs mentioned up thread and which AmazonAU disappoints and means my next American trip will be full of Switch products.
* Games on the first round: Smash Bros. Ultimate; Let's Go Eevee; Kirby Allies; Harry Potter Lego Games (daughter wanted this one); The Incredibles. The future holds Breath of the Wild, Mario Cart 8, Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Thank you for all the advice, and now Hannukah Harry can cross off this house. I am gonna be real cheesed if Nintendo end-dates this product in the next five years, but I have all of you for advice on the next gaming journey, so la!
posted by jadepearl at 4:41 PM on October 3, 2019

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