Though the Nintendo Switch will be three years old in March, it remains one of the hottest selling video game consoles on the market. And with good reason – a strong library of games that are enhanced by the Switch’s dual gameplay experiences. If you want to play your games on TV, simply put the console in its dock and remove the controllers (called Joy-Cons). If you want to play on the go, all you need to do is remove the device and play on the built-in HD screen.
An expanded game library, new online functionality, and quality-of-life device upgrades all make the Switch a hot item this holiday season. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the deals you’ll find this holiday season, as well as a breakdown of the best games, accessories, and add-ons.
Choosing Between the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite
When it comes to the Nintendo Switch itself, holiday shoppers will have two (or three, depending on your perspective) versions of the device to choose from – the Nintendo Switch, and the Nintendo Switch Lite.
The differences are key, and extend beyond price. The Nintendo Switch is what you’ve probably seen the past few years – a device that plugs into a dock to play on your TV, and then can be taken wherever you head for on-the-go gaming. The device has two detachable controllers on each side. This device retails at around $299.
There’s also a newer version, called the Nintendo Switch Lite. This device retails at $199, a full $100 cheaper! But if the “Lite” in the name wasn’t an indicator, the Nintendo Switch Lite has a pretty significant difference: it can’t be docked and played on the TV. The Nintendo Switch Lite is purely a handheld console with non-detachable Joy-Con controllers (you can use other controllers on it).
There’s also a third Nintendo Switch model you’ll want to be mindful of when shopping. This model is also called “Nintendo Switch” because it’s the same as the one we mentioned above, but won’t have an improved battery life than you can find in most stores now. There’s a key way to tell which is which – a Nintendo Switch in an all-red box is the newer version of the Switch with a longer battery life, the red-and-white box is the older version with a lower battery life. You won’t see these red-and-white boxes very often anymore, but we bring this up because during Black Friday sales you may see a discounted Nintendo Switch bundle featuring a red-and-white box. Now, we’ve had our Nintendo Switch since it came out and haven’t had much issues with the lower battery life, but if this is a factor to you then you’ll want to be mindful of which version you’re buying.
Essential Nintendo Switch Games to Buy This Holiday Season
Super Mario. The Legend of Zelda. Pokemon. These are just some of the many worldwide franchises that you can only get on Nintendo consoles. The Nintendo Switch offers a wide variety of great games from these franchises (and others!) but knowing what to buy can be daunting. Fear not though, let’s help you figure out which games are right by breaking down some of the franchises and games you should look into.
- Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield: After 20-plus years of waiting, one of gaming’s most iconic franchises is coming to a home console device with the release of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. This new adventure takes place in a British-inspired world with British-inspired Pokemon. This is likely to be one of the biggest selling video games of 2019 – despite coming out in mid-November – and definitely worth picking up!
- Luigi’s Mansion 3: It’s tough being Luigi. He was always player 2 to Mario, and his own adventures have seen him in weird knock-off games from the Super Nintendo era, or haunted houses. Luigi’s Mansion 3 continues the haunted house tradition of throwing the green plumber in a spooky environment where he must capture ghosts, only this time it’s not just a house – it’s a whole hotel!
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of only two launch games when the Nintendo Switch came out in March of 2017, and it was received as one of the best games ever made. This is not a light statement: the open-world environment with the freedom to adventure and creative ways to keep the player motivated to explore is revolutionary, and had never been achieved so well in a video game before. Almost three years later this game is still a joy to play – and because it is almost three years old there will be plenty of Black Friday sales for it! Likewise, Link’s Awakening is a classic, 2D style Zelda game that was remade from an original Game Boy game. The game plays great and is perfect for someone who likes the experience of an old school Zelda game but may shy away from a more open, free-forming experience that Breath of the Wild boasts.
- Super Mario Odyssey: The first 3D open-level Super Mario game to have been released since Super Mario 64, Super Mario Odyssey takes the plumber across worlds to once again defeat Bowser. The experience is made fresh by the vast amount of collectibles in unique and vibrant worlds, as well as Cappy – Mario’s hat that he uses to throw enemies, perform daunting jumps, and turn into objects such as a tree or a dinosaur (yes, seriously). This is another game you’ll find on many Black Friday sales lists, and definitely should be taken advantage of!
- Super Smash Bros Ultimate: Super Smash Bros is a fighting game that seems to transcend genres. It can be the ultimate party game, or it can be ultra-competitive. It can be perfect for beginners and a game that takes eons to master. The newest version for the Switch, Ultimate, features the biggest cast of fighters in the series ever by bringing every single fighter back – and bringing some new ones on in the process. Now you can see Mario, Link, Pikachu, and Samus Arin square off against Solid Snake, Banjo-Kazooie, Ryu, and Piranha Plant. And that’s only the tip of the insanity iceberg.
Other games to consider:
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- Super Mario Party
- Super Mario Maker 2
- Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- The Witcher 3
- Yoshi’s Crafted World
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
Getting Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo Switch has many games that can be played online, but like the Xbox and Playstation counterparts, Nintendo has their own paid online experience. Nintendo Switch Online can be purchased on a monthly or annual basis, with prices varying depending on how long you get a subscription.
Nintendo Switch Online enables you to play games online with other people like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and Super Mario Maker 2. Additionally, Nintendo Switch Online also offers Nintendo and Super Nintendo games for free.
At $20 for an annual subscription you’ll get access to a huge library of classic games from the 8-bit and 16-bit era of gaming, many of them updated with online functionality. It’s a great deal and subscriptions can be purchased through Nintendo or via a Nintendo Switch Online card. The cards are available at most retailers and make a perfect additional gift for a gamer who wants to bring his gameplay online.
Great Nintendo Switch Accessories
Once you’ve got your console, games, and Nintendo Switch Online subscription selected for yourself or someone you’re shopping for, you’ll want to think about accessories. The Switch has a wide range of accessories to take advantage of, but these are some of the most essential:
- A Nintendo Switch Carrying Case: The Nintendo Switch is the ultimate on-the-go system, so it’s worth making sure that the console is protected when you or a loved one is out and about! A Nintendo Switch carrying case comes in a variety of styles and can keep your Switch and games organized in one central place.
- A Screen Protector: Bringing the Switch around means you run the risk of scuffing up the screen. Unlike a smartphone, the screens aren’t as easily replaced. So why risk it? Get a screen protector for the Switch! It’s a small but smart investment.
- A Power Bank: There are many portable power banks available, so do your research to ensure that you’re getting a power bank that holds enough juice to help recharge the Switch when it runs low on battery life. Also be mindful that the Switch is charged via USB-C, so you’ll either need a USB-to-USB-C cord, or get a power bank with a USB-C port to plug the Switch into.
- Extra Joy-Cons: The Joy-Con controllers are great because they can be used separately as two controllers, or together as one controller. Getting an extra pair of Joy-Con controllers expands your controller options from 1-2 to 3-4, and for games like Super Mario Party a Joy-Con controller is the only type of controller that can be used.
- A Nintendo Switch Pro Controller: Simply put, one of the best controllers ever made. It’s comfortable, responsive, has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 70 hours, and will likely be on sale this holiday season!
This is only the start! We’ll have more shopping guides all throughout the holiday season. And if you’re ready to start shopping around now, make sure you install the Piggy plugin! Head to joinpiggy.com to start looking for deals and get the browser app to find even more savings automatically!