I'm always nervous writing features like this. I don't want to seem whiny or like I'm complaining. I just mean the pieces as a little food for thought. Hopefully that's how they come across! As always, thanks for reading.
Nintendo clearly doesn't need any help with the Switch. The system has been a major success since day one, and it's as hot as ever 3+ years later. Coming off the rough days of the Wii U, Nintendo managed to create a system that offered up a unique experience that resonated with gamers the world over. While Nintendo lost a bit of their hardware mojo there for a bit, it's fantastic to see them back at the top of their game.
While the Switch is beloved by many, that doesn't mean the platform is perfect. Just like any other consoles out there, the Switch has room for improvement. There are obviously some major sweeping changes that could be tackled, but that's not what we're talking about here. Instead, we're taking a look at some minor tweaks and changes that could lead to a more satisfying experience overall. Nothing that's 100% necessary, but would be very welcome nonetheless.
Will Nintendo ever get to these changes? Your guess is as good as ours. That said, let's hope they've already made note of some of these suggestions, and are hard at work adding them as part of a future firmware update.
In my opinion, part of Nintendo's magic comes from the little touches they cram into their experiences. Tiny features and elements you don't often see implemented in games from other companies. Stuff that makes you wonder how Nintendo even considered adding them in the first place. Subtle animations, musical flourishes, nods to a franchise's legacy, and so on. These are the things that make Nintendo something special.
One of those special aspects on a hardware-level has to be Nintendo's little jingles. Tunes that play in the background when you're navigating a system's OS, or a song that kicks off when you visit a virtual shop. Nintendo has used these tracks numerous times in the past, creating some insanely memorable tunes like the Wii Shop Channel song. These songs not only provide a bit of welcome background music, they also become part of a platform's legacy. A little something extra that helps you remember your time with the system.
While the Switch's UI is snappy and straightforward, it lacks some charm of Nintendo's previous hardware. While there's a couple clicky noises on the eShop and Switch menu, it's mostly a silent affair. The silence fuels my thoughts of why on earth Nintendo decided to move away from songs this time around. Those ditties bring so much personality to the experience, and they're sorely missed here. Bring back the tunes, Nintendo!
This has been a point of contention for Switch owners pretty much from day one. When it comes to the Switch and customization, all users really have to choose from is a dark or light theme. You're either going to have a black or white Switch background and that's it. Not exactly the most exciting of choices, and you have to wonder how Nintendo hasn't allowed for more options yet.
The most bare-bones approach would be to add in colors. If black and white are possible, why can't the whole rainbow be included? Letting people pick from red, blue, yellow, green, and so on as their background might not be the most extravagant customization option, but it would certainly be a welcome change from what we have now. People like to have a little say in how their UI experience looks, and the option for different colors would be quite nice indeed.
Obviously you could go a step further as well. Why not allow users to have different pictures as their background? They could be snapshots taken in-game, or official 'themes' made available by developers and publishers. If themes are a thing on the 3DS, surely they could be possible on the Switch! Make them free or make them paid, it doesn't really matter. Having a little something to show off our personality a bit more would make for a vast improvement.
When the Switch first came out, players didn't have to worry about too many game icons. The menu was manageable, and we could slide around to pick the titles we wanted to play. Obviously that changed very quickly, and now there are over 2,500 games available on the Switch. For anyone who plays the Switch even somewhat frequently, the menu situation has become quite bothersome. There are a ton of games, and no other options for how to display them on the main menu.
With so many games out there, it's a damn shame the Switch menu doesn't give you more options to show them off. Why can't we shrink the icons to half their size and allow for double the amount on the main screen? Why can't we have a scrollable main menu to sift through all of our titles, rather than having to click over to a separate page? Why can't we have a rotating carousel of all the icons on the main menu, which we could order by the date we last played, game name, publisher, genre, and so on?
Taking yet another cue from the 3DS, where is the option for folders? I'm sure countless Switch owners would love to organize their games in different folders. Folders automatically give the user a way to organize their games in any way they seem fit. A folder for arcade titles, a folder for platformers, and so on. Whatever the player deems appropriate is the way it goes, and that seems like an easy fix that would please many.
As things stand right now, there are two ways to see what's going on with the games or updates you're download on Switch. You can look at the icon on the main menu and see the status bar, or you can click on the icon and get a more specific rundown of progress. Those are both nice features, but that makes things a little difficult for users who are downloading multiple titles/updates.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a dedicated download manager on the Switch? The Wii U had one, and it was extremely helpful to keep track of what you were downloading, how much time was left, and when you downloaded the content. With so many games on Switch and updates coming out every week, it would be nice to click just one button and see everything that's gobbling up my internet.
Four small changes that could make for a big difference. They don't seem like things that would be hard to implement, or take up too much processing power. Then again, who am I to speculate? I don't make game hardware, and I don't develop software. For all I know, these could completely throw the Switch out of whack and lead to a slower experience overall. In some situations it seems like that outcome would be highly unlikely, but you never know. Even if it did slow things down a bit, I'm willing to bet a decent amount of Switch owners would be more than happy to sacrifice in the name of some customization.