Technology

Nintendo Switch Features Most People Forget

The PlayStation 5 Braces feature allowed users to offer rewards to other players in multiplayer games, the idea being that this would help foster kindness and camaraderie in the gaming community. But Sony has officially removed it from the PS5 this week for a reason: nobody used it. Most people (hi) didn’t seem to even know it existed.

This sparked a thought exercise: what other game consoles still have unnecessary features? Take the Switch, for example. Of course, Nintendo’s hybrid handheld has plenty of quietly useful little tipsAs its universal zoom function. But there are also some that could probably be purged without anyone caring or even noticing.


The “Search for controllers” function

Of the bevy of options in the Switch’s “Controllers” menu, the “find controllers” feature is gathering the most dust by far. Open it up and you’ll see a menu with a list of Joy-Cons paired to your console. Hold down the “A” button above the Joy-Con you’re looking for and it will rumble. Calmly. At, like, the hearing frequency of animals. It’s meant to help you locate any loose Joy-Con that may be misplaced, but isn’t really efficient enough to do its job. It doesn’t matter that you actually need at least one Joy-Con handy to use it in the first place. .

Unfortunately, there is no console function that handles the bane of Joy-Con drift.

The “News” app

Image for article titled Nintendo Switch Features Most People Forget

Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

Most of the seven permanent icons on the Switch’s home screen are genuinely useful shortcuts to submenus. One, however, is used only by the people who accidentally click on it: the “News” app. Open it up and you’ll see a reverse chronological feed of digitized press releases from the annals of Nintendo’s marketing machine. (You can also see the three most recent “stories” on the left bar of the screen when you boot up the console.) But if you’re looking for gaming news, you’re not going to read it on a gaming console—which you’ve presumably booted up to, y’know, play games. You’re especially not going to read it on that console if the text is so very tiny. You’re far more likely to get your news from a favorite gaming site.

Voice chat

Despite what you may have heard, yes, the Switch has voice chat! Somehow. It’s a convoluted mess. On PlayStation and Xbox, if you want to start voice chat, you… plug in a headset and start voice chat. On Switch, however, you must go through a multi-step process and start a smartphone companion app. Nintendo could remove its voice chat without anyone caring. Really, if you’re using a smartphone app to talk to your party members, Discord is just there.

Keyboard support

Everyone hates typing in a password (twice!) to buy something from Nintendo’s eShop, with the console’s small touchscreen keyboard. This workaround doesn’t work in laptop mode, but you can plug a USB keyboard into the dock and use it to type instead. But also: the time it takes to whip out a keyboard and plug it into the Switch’s dock probably takes longer than any task you were initially trying to get around. (If you need faster access to the eShop, justenable passcode requirement.) Nintendo could probably drop keyboard support without much fanfare.

Screen lock (or else, it’s an option)

Image for article titled Nintendo Switch Features Most People Forget

Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

Yes, the Switch’s screen lock feature is indeed extremely useful, dare I say essential. Turn it on and you’ll give your console a kind of purgatory between its waking and sleeping states. You will then have to press the same button three times to use your console, which can prevent it from inadvertently turning on when, for example, it rustles in your bag. Honestly, that shouldn’t even be an option: it should be the norm. Get rid of the choice, I say, and let the screen lock be the norm.

dark mode

I am joking! I am joking. But hey, on that note, wouldn’t it be nice if the Switch had more color themes for its backdrop? Hello? Hey, where did you go?

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