Product Reviews · Video Game Reviews

Product Review: Nintendo Switch

In 2018 I wrote a review for Breath of the Wild that included this statement: “I don’t care about the Nintendo Switch’s portability (I prefer using a TV screen), and I probably won’t buy more than a handful of games for the system.” Times have changed. In the past few months I’ve played through half a dozen Switch games (Golf Story, Inside, Super Mario Odyssey, and so on), and I’ve completed most of those with the Switch in portable mode. The Switch is a kick ass console.

I still enjoy playing games on a big screen, but the convenience of picking up the console and playing in different rooms can not be understated. In portable mode it’s so easy to jump into a game like Bad North and defend a couple islands before putting the console to sleep with the push of a button. I didn’t think the joy-cons would feel very comfortable, but I have no problem with them; the Switch batteries always drain before my hands complain. So yeah, the console’s battery is not great, only lasting two to three hours. That’s why I said it’s great to take it to different rooms in a house, because the dock is nearby for a quick charge. A console like the 3DS is better suited for longer travels.

Most games nowadays are available across multiple platforms, so the console wars are much less of an issue than they were 20 years ago. Cutting edge graphics are the least of my gaming concerns; Sony and Microsoft can keep that war raging. The Switch graphics look good to me, and when it comes to exclusive titles, Nintendo has the one-two punch of Mario and Zelda. That’s a tough combo to beat. I’m also a big fan of the Switch pro controller – it’s almost as good as an Xbox controller and better than a Playstation controller. I’ll keep supporting Sony so long as they keep making excellent Spider-Man games, but my heart is with Mario and his pals.

The new OLED Switch screen looks fantastic, but I’m in no hurry to upgrade. My original gray and black model is a solid piece of hardware, which makes sense considering Nintendo’s history of building long lasting, durable products. The Lite model seems like a misstep, though. The Switch is a beautiful marriage between Nintendo’s home consoles and portable consoles, so why limit a gamer to just half the experience? After I’m done with this review I’m going to wake up my Switch so I can continue battling pixelated vikings. And after that the e-shop has much more to offer. Considering the quantity and quality of games available (including historic classics with the online membership), the Nintendo Switch may be the best console ever made.

Product Reviews

Product Review: Landyachtz Dinghy Shape 9 Skateboard

This may sound silly, but until recently I didn’t realize cruiser skateboards are a thing. Mixing the casual fun of a longboard with the more portable size of a small skateboard is a no-brainer, though. The dinghy shape 9 is a mere 28.5” long, and it’s complimented nicely by wide and soft wheels that keep it moving through rough patches that would punish a classic popsicle board set-up. I once lived in fear of pebbles that stopped my skateboards in their tracks. Those dark days are over.

I bought a dinghy well aware of the fact that I hadn’t touched a skateboard in over a decade. I picked the dinghy shape 9 because it’s a bit wider and has a longer wheelbase than the standard dinghy (plus the BK T-Rex on the white backdrop looks sweet). Maybe it’s my old age, but I wouldn’t label this little cruiser as beginner friendly. With its 105mm trucks, the shape 9 is highly responsive and very nimble, which is a double-edged sword. It’s great in tight areas and around corners, but it’s easy to feel unstable on it when starting out. A beginner might feel easily discouraged by this, whereas a longboard or even a standard skateboard with wider trucks would be more forgiving to those finding their balance.

The dinghy shape 9 is a versatile board. It’s great for streets, sidewalks, and thanks to its kicktail it pops easily and is ready for tricks. Most important to me, it rolls over obstacles with ease. Rocks, cracks, twigs, no problemo. I’m regularly surprised by how easily I plow through sidewalk imperfections. I’m sure professional skaters could handle taking the shape 9 down hills, but I could feel speed wobble sneaking up even on mellow hills. That’s just the cost of a portable cruiser board. The shape 9 won’t flow easily down hills like a longboard, and it’s not made for elaborate skate tricks. It dabbles in all skate aspects without perfecting any of them.

I’ve been saving the most important question for last – is the dinghy shape 9 fun? Hell yes. The learning curve is a bit steep, sure, but practice itself is rewarding. I love cruising through neighborhoods on the BK. I actually pick out brick driveways to roll down simply to feel the bumps; I also feel secure knowing the fatty hawg wheels will keep me upright. I’ve read reviews that mention the dinghy is best for short rides of 15 or 30 minutes. I regularly take mine out for an hour or so at a time; it’s fairly comfortable and time flies when I’m cruising. My feet do get strained sometimes, but taking a minute break solves that problem.

I’d recommend the dinghy (whether it’s the classic, shape 9, coffin, or another variation) to anyone who is looking for a jack of all trades board. It excels in tight, urban areas, especially if dodging pedestrians and traffic is required. The dinghy would fit in perfectly at a college campus, especially since it’s small and relatively lightweight. I’m glad I bought the shape 9, and right now I can think of about five other Landyachtz boards I’d like to nab. The company’s boards are on the pricey side, so they may be outside the budget of some skaters. For me, the investment is worth it. The hours of enjoyment have already covered the cost. Also, wear protective gear when skating. Trust me on this one.