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The Nintendo Switch is a video game console released by Nintendo in March of 2017. It is a hybrid console featuring a tablet that can dock for living room gaming and be moved for portable gaming. It also features two controllers known as “Joy Cons” that can be detached from the side of the tablet, and there is optional “pro” controller support as well. The Switch will play DS-like gaming cartridges instead of discs.
Nintendo began leaking the follow-up to the Wii U on March 23rd, 2015. Known by the name "NX," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata mentioned that the new hardware would not be an expansion on old hardware and that it focused on "changing each person's video gaming life." After over a year's worth of speculation and announcements of games coming to the Nintendo NX, Nintendo announced via a trailer on October 20th, 2016, that the new console would be called the Switch.
Nintendo also announced an expansive list of developers who had partnerships with the Switch, one of the most notable being Bethesda.
The following day, Nintendo confirmed there would be no backward compatibility on the Switch, but did not comment on the battery life, nor about whether the tablet portion of the console would be a touch screen.
Nintendo Switch Presentation
On January 12th, 2017, Nintendo provided an in-depth look at the console, revealing several games, a March 3rd launch date, and a $299 price. For existing franchises, Nintendo showed trailers for the long-awaited The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a new, fully 3D Super Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, a new Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem: Warriors, Sonic Mania, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, and more. New games included a boxing game called Arms and a variety game called 1-2 Switch. (Some trailers shown below. The Verge posted a full compilation of the trailers the next day.)
Super Mario Odyssey Reaction
Reaction to the Super Mario Odyssey trailer has been mixed. Kotaku noted that while the game looks fun, the city setting that includes realistic human beings made Mario appear out of place. Users compared the idea of Mario in a realistic human world to the notoriously awful-looking Sonic '06, as well as Grand Theft Auto and the Simpsons episode where Homer enters reality.
Online reaction to the Switch has been mostly positive, as commenters on Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit posted excitement and jokes regarding the ad. Users joked about how the console looked like a dog, how it totally outshines the Wii U, and Nintendo's impressive list of developer partnerships.
On YouTube, many vloggers responded to the trailer positively, including Angry Joe Show (below, left) and AlphaOmegaSin (below, right) in videos that gained over 360,000 and 71,000 views, respectively. Angry Joe did express concerns that he and many others have about the small size of the JoyCon controllers.
The official Twitter account of the fastfood restaurant chain Arby's also reacted to the release trailer by making a tweet containing a cardboard version of the Switch controller, which managed to gather over 13,500 likes within 2 days.
On October 20th, 2016, Tumblr user joematar posted a joke regarding a woman in the Switch commercial who notices her friends having a party on a nearby roof, and decides to go over with the Switch. Joematar's joke, shown below, shows the woman arriving at the party with the caption “Oh shit, Karen brought her stupid Nintendo thing to the party again. We’re DRINKING, Karen. We’re having CONVERSATIONS.” As of October 26th, 2016, the post has over 17,000 notes.
Karen became the unofficial name for the character among the Nintendo fandom following the post. She also became the subject of a high volume of Reddit jokes. On the Nintendo Switch subreddit, the moderators were forced to temporarily ban posts related to Karen, which thus launched a subreddit entirely devoted to Karen posts, /r/NintendoKaren, that has nearly 1,000 subscribers as of October 26th, 2016. The subreddit features a high volume of Karen photoshops and intense discussion about the amount of rings Karen is wearing.
The Karen phenomenon was covered by Polygon and Mic. Karen also has her own parody Twitter account with 277 followers.
On February 24th, 2017, Jeff Gerstmann of GiantBomb put a cartridge for the new Nintendo Switch in his mouth during the site's Unprofessional Fridays' stream. After putting it in his mouth, he makes a grimace and takes it out of his mouth.
After the show, he tweeted, "I put that Switch cart in my mouth and I'm not sure what those things are made of but I can still taste it. Do not try this at home." Nevertheless, Gertsmann's strong reaction inspired other people to try tasting Switch cartridges, and various reviewers and fans also discovered that the cartridges tasted terrible. According to a Polygon writer:
"It doesn’t hit you at first. It tastes just as plain and feels just as slippery as the other three cartridges. In just a few milliseconds, though, a very sour taste invades your taste buds. It smells bad; you can feel it in your throat. It’s revolting, and the only thing I can equate it to is when you’re at the dentist and a drop of sour cleaning material hits the back of your tongue. Your entire face feels it. And the taste lingers for about 20 seconds."
After media outlets began covering the cartridge tasting phenomenon, Nintendo issued a statement saying the cartridges were indeed coated in a chemical.
To avoid the possibility of accidental ingestion, keep the game card away from young children. A bittering agent (Denatonium Benzoate) has also been applied to the game card. This bittering agent is non-toxic."
On July 10th, Nintendo unveiled the Switch Lite, a cheaper, exclusively handheld alternative to the Switch (shown below). The Switch Lite will cost $199, $100 cheaper than the Switch. The Lite will not feature JoyCon controllers, a rumble feature, or be compatible with televisions. Nintendo has promised "slightly improved" battery life than the Switch, but it would not specify what that meant. Almost all Switch games will be playable on the Switch Lite, though games that require motion controls will be marked in the Nintendo eShop and on the back of physical copies. The Lite is also slightly smaller than the Switch, but overall, Nintendo says there is no performance difference and the two consoles are largely identical. It was released on September 20th, 2019.
Online, reaction was mixed to the announcement. Some Twitter users joked that the Switch Lite was already very similar to older handheld consoles. User @TwiddleDee96 joked that the console was similar to the Game Boy Advance (shown below, left). User @AgentBizzle tweeted features about the console saying he didn't need it but would get it anyway (shown below, right).
On July 17th, 2019, Nintendo announced an updated version of the console to release in August. The updated version of the console will have improved battery life. Older models of the Switch have roughly 2.5-6 hours of battery life undocked, depending on what game the user is playing. The new model will have 4.5-9 hours of battery life. Kotaku noted that on older models, Breath of the Wild runs for 3 hours. On the updated model, it will run for 5.5. The new model, numbered "HAC-001(-01)," will be available in the United States starting in mid-August. The current model is "HAC-001."
On July 6th, 2021, Nintendo unveiled Nintendo Switch (OLED Model), an updated version of the console featuring a 7 inch OLED screen and a wired LAN port (trailer shown below). The version is scheduled to become available on October 8th, 2021.
The announcement was followed by a surge of memes in which the lack of new features in this version of the console was mocked.
The Switch generated incredible hype online almost instantly. It's Facebook  page gained over 3 million likes in less than two days. A subreddit devoted to the Switch gained over 30,000 subscribers in the same time.
Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch
Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch is a console war between fans of Steam Deck portable PC platform and Nintendo Switch handheld console. The debate started on social media websites immediately following the announcement of Steam Deck in July 2021.
 The Verge – Everything we know about the new Nintendo Switch
 Kotaku – What To Expect From Nintendo's New Hardware? A Surprise, Probably.
 Kotaku – The Internet Reacts To The Nintendo Switch
 Nintendo Everything Nintendo confirms no physical backwards compatibility for Switch, no comment on mobile games
 Facebook – Nintendo Switch
 Reddit – /r/nintendoswitch
 Reddit – /r/nintendoswitch
 Reddit – /r/nintendokaren
 Polygon – Nintendo Switch’s best, most revealing meme is antisocial ‘Karen’
 Mic – Nintendo Switch fans are obsessed with "Karen," the viral star of the new console trailer
 Twitter – @NintendoKaren
 The Verge – How to preorder the Nintendo Switch right now
 The Verge – Watch trailers for 11 Nintendo Switch games, including Mario and Zelda
 Kotaku – Super Mario Odyssey's Real Humans Are Weird and Bad
 GiantBomb – Unprofessional Fridays: 02/24/2017
 Twitter – @JeffGertmann
 Polygon – Nintendo Switch game cartridges taste offensively bad, trust us
 Mic – People are tasting Nintendo Switch game cartridges -- and apparently they’re disgusting
 The Verge – Nintendo Switch Lite is a smaller, cheaper Switch built exclusively for handheld play
 Twitter – TwiddleDee96
 Twitter – agentbizzle
 Kotaku – Nintendo Releasing New Switch Model With Better Battery Life
 Twitter – @NintendoAmerica
 Know Your Meme – 'They Are The Same Picture:' Reactions To Nintendo Switch OLED Are Pouring In
Oct 22, 2016 at 11:42AM EDT
Jan 13, 2017 at 12:21AM EST
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