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Nintendo, stop trying to get me to play my Switch outside

I don’t care what your trailers say, it’s not gonna happen

a young person sitting on a pool chair while playing their Nintendo Switch Image: Nintendo via YouTube
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Nintendo’s making a new Nintendo Switch, one with a bigger OLED screen. They gave it a trailer on Tuesday, showing beautiful people taking the console outside and playing it on the go.

Who does this?

The advertisement looks like every other promo we’ve seen for the Switch since it launched in 2017. It’s filled with a diverse cast of smiling faces all enjoying the console while upbeat music plays. As a good trailer should, it emphasizes the features that are unique to the Nintendo Switch and make it worth spending $349.99 MSRP. Basically, it’s portable. In the new trailer, people take it outside and bring the console along with them wherever they go in their interesting daily lives.

At one point, we see a young red-headed individual playing the new Nintendo Switch while lounging on a pool chair outside. They look focused and enthralled by the contents of the game. Later on, we see a family playing chess on a table outside using the Switch. While watching, I was shocked that once again, Nintendo was pushing this idea that the Nintendo Switch is enjoyable to play outdoors.

For a visual supplement, here’s a gallery of people “enjoying” the Nintendo Switch outside.

Don’t get me wrong, bringing the Switch around is good and dandy — I, for one, love taking mine on road trips and while flying. However, I don’t think the Nintendo Switch will ever feel good to play outside in a park. Its screen is not bright enough to play outside, and even if you crank up the brightness, and can see the screen, it’ll burn through your battery life.

If you’re OK with, say, playing a bright game out under the sunshine, well then there’s still the anxiety of bringing an expensive, somewhat fickle $299.99 console outside. Let’s face it, the Nintendo Switch can’t be battered around like a Game Boy Advance could. The console gets hot if it’s directly in the sun! Also, I’m just generally worried about it getting stolen if I take it around town.

Look, it’s not that I expect advertising to be accurate or realistic. I get that much of the role of marketing is to generate hype, regardless of the feasibility of scenarios. Still, after seeing this video, and after four years since the console launched, I just couldn’t help but feel that Nintendo should stop pushing the idea.

Nintendo has been advertising the Switch as an “outdoors console” since its first hype trailer in 2017. In that, we see a person take it out to play it at a park at sunrise. We see their friends play it on a basketball court (at night, interestingly). In 2019, the trailer for the Nintendo Switch Lite pushed the play-it-outside idea even further with an entire group of cool kids playing their Switches at a bright and sunny skate park.

And in theory, that’s great! Maybe there are outdoorsy, well adjusted people that take their Nintendo Switch out to the end of the Santa Monica Pier or the bottom of the Grand Canyon. That’s not me. I’m more than content with playing it handheld while snuggled up in my bed.

The next level of puzzles.

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